The place of art among other modelling systems


  • Juri Lotman



This article by Juri Lotman from the third volume of Trudy po znakovym sistemam (Sign Systems Studies) in 1967, deals with the problem of artistic modelling. The general working questions are whether art displays any characteristic traits that are common for all modelling systems and which could be the specific traits that can distinguish art from other modelling systems. Art is seen as a secondary modelling system, more precisely, as a play-type model, which is characterised simultaneously by practical and conventional behaviour and constant awareness of the possibility of alternate meanings to the one that is currently being perceived. At the same time art has play-like elements but is not the same as play, since play is inherently rule-bound, whereas art is a more flexible model the purpose of which is truth. Art is a special type of modelling system, since it is on one hand suitable for storing very large amount of complex information, but on the other hand it can increase the stored information and transform the consumer.


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How to Cite

Lotman, J. (2011). The place of art among other modelling systems. Sign Systems Studies, 39(2/4), 249–270.