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Photographs are artifacts of moments past and forever lost. Barthes regards architecture as a visible index to the past and explains that ancient societies built structures to immortalize themselves. As handmaidens of memory, they stand in place for structures that no longer remain. Thus, images articulate an anterior future tense as they conjure the past, present, and future concurrently. Susan Sontag observed that photographs, akin to monuments, become more desirable through the passage of time.

Both acquire an aged look and a detachment from the prosaic that enhances their aesthetic value Sontag Photography forges a symbiotic relationship with architecture.

No True Zero: Don’t Be a Basic Bitch–Make Your Zero Personal

Through one artistic medium, another is better understood. The empty sign and the neutral, too, are areas irreducible to positive or negative terms and not yet appropriated by myth. In other words, zero-degree writing is free from signification. The form the sign takes vacates meaning. The lack of significance offered by the empty sign is especially apt when applied to buildings and the urban environment.

Although Barthes is not as well known for scrutinizing architecture as systematically as literature or fashion, he recognizes signs wherever they are. Barthes recognizes architecture as an intellectual activity that utilizes history, theory, and criticism. He perceives the city as a repository of signs through its streets, monuments, and edifices.

The urban space becomes a signifying vehicle itself. Architecture and its images provoke a degree zero, an empty sign, and the neutral within Barthes.

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In the course of his career, his intellectual stance transitioned from a structuralist outlook to a more overtly poststructuralist perspective. In his later work, while not abandoning his viewpoints entirely, Barthes embraces phenomenology, a position in which he considers semiological experience in light of poststructuralist realizations. Throughout his oeuvre, whether examining Paris, Tokyo, Granada, or Jerusalem, Barthes regards sites as texts eternally open to interpretation.

Viewers read the urban environment that lies in front of them or is experienced through the photographic medium. Structuralism, for Barthes, evolved from the work of Ferdinand de Saussure.

The Swiss linguist and semiotician offered a dyadic model of the sign, consisting of the signifier, the form that the sign takes, and the signified, the concept it recalls. The sign results from the association of the signifier with the signified, and the relationship between the two is signification. As a critical approach, structuralism focuses on the rules and codes of systems and studies the structure out of which texts emerge, not the texts themselves. He uses structuralism to critique society through the demonstration of its often concealed reliance on artificial sign systems.

The Eiffel Tower was built as photography became technologically advanced and affordable. The tower appealed to photographers because of its combination of materiality and immateriality. Rather than being constructed by traditional methods, its erection was an achievement of modern engineering. Today, the tower is one of the most recognizable monuments in the world and the most photographed see fig.

It evolved as a symbol of Paris and metropolises in general, due in part from its role as the entrance to the World Fair. In The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project , Susan Buck-Morss notes that world fairs promoted progress, nationalism, and utopian goals through technology. By extension, the tower also manifested these attributes as a universally recognized urban icon. I opt for a coded. His public works program annexed suburbs; removed medieval neighborhoods; built boulevards, parks, and squares; and constructed new sewers and aqueducts. Barthes notes ironically that as modernity decimated buildings, a modern process—photography—allowed them to be recorded for posterity.

Barthes writes:. Barthes attempts to explain how something can be itself and the medium through which ideology propagates itself at the same time. Barthes finds that the tower provides a vantage point from which architecture can be read. The tower is the iconic axis of a reciprocal system, at once a receptacle of all gazes in the city and a universal point of view overlooking Paris. The only way to negate the monument is to be inside it.


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Studied by all, it is also an object for observation. Functioning as a balcony, it offers a panoramic vision:. The Tower makes the city into a kind of nature; it constitutes the swarming of men into a landscape. To visit the Tower, then, is to enter into contact not with a historical Sacred, as is the case for the majority of monuments, but rather with a new nature, that of human space 8.

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Barthes notes that the tower gives one a breathtaking vista of Paris, but that belvederes look out upon nature. The tower transforms the city into a landscape, providing an aerial view that allows visitors to read the text of Paris see fig. The structure of the urban space now becomes visible through the panorama that Barthes defines as:. An image we attempt to decipher, in which we try to recognize known sites, to identify landmarks.

Take some view of Paris taken from the Eiffel Tower; here you make out the hill sloping down from Chaillot, there the Bois de Boulogne; but where is the Arc de Triomphe? A panoramic view of Paris from the northwest as seen from the Eiffel Tower. CC BY 2. The tower observer becomes an interpreter of the urban landscape. Paris, as a city so familiar to Barthes, can be read and deciphered through its scenic tableau or its many photographic representations. He argues that among the multiplicity of meanings that the cityscape and its architecture can hold, a hierarchy of signification exists: its panoramic function.

One meaning, above all others, is more prominent. In Empire of Signs , Barthes interprets Japanese culture as a utopia of signifiers, finding freedom from the occidental obsession with meaning. Poststructuralism rejects many of the assertions of structuralism, chiefly its claims of the fixity of the relationships between signifiers and signifieds.

Signifiers remain stable, but signifieds—in this case, the built environment of the urban space—are transient. Barthes demonstrates how a culture outside of the system of the Western world dismantles preconceptions about signs and meaning. In this work, Barthes seeks out and celebrates the instability and emptiness of signs. Tokyo inverts the conventional reading of metropolitan areas. The city provides an antipode to the development of European capitals, which have a set of symbolic relationships to landmarks that provide meaning. In contrast, Tokyo seems incomprehensible to Western sensibilities because its structure is different.

The palimpsest of modern Tokyo confounds fixed categories and exempts itself from the Western compulsion to categorize. The othering of the East relates to the ethical and political problems of Orientalism. Barthes does not wish to produce a cultural analysis of Japan. To do so would merely repeat the myth of the Orient, from which no Westerner is exempt. Instead, Barthes locates himself within the ethnocentrism that the concept of Japan stimulates in the occidental reader.

The country Barthes writes about is less the subject of the account of his trip abroad than a point of departure. For him, Japan is a fictive nation and a semiotic system where artifice reigns and meaning abandons forms. Empire of Signs? Yes, if it is understood that these signs are empty, and that the ritual is without a god Empire of Signs Tokyo, unlike Paris and its tower, resists the image.

Instead, he describes his experiences of discovering Japan as identical to the practice of reading a text:.

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Japan has afforded him a situation of writing. This situation is the very one in which a certain disturbance of the person occurs, a subversion of earlier readings, a shock of meaning lacerated, extenuated to the point of its irreplaceable void. No two rifles are exactly the same, and they never will be thanks to small variances during the build process, and the fact that every bullet that goes down the barrel permanently changes the rifle. So how do we figure it out? Using a ballistic calculator to determine the best zero for your weapon system is like having answers to the test.

Instead, we can tailor a zero to what we want the rifle to do. Ballistics was a mystery, relegated to the most nerdy of long-range shooters.


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This is no longer the case, and if you have an Internet connection you have free access to some of the best ballistic calculators in the world. Right in your pocket at this moment is likely a computer more powerful than any used by the highest-end university a decade ago. By all means look at cute cat photos and porn with it, but utilize that processor for some calculations too.

Since any minor element or deviation exponentially expands with range, the farther you shoot and the tighter the precision standard, the more each of these components matter.

Stuck at a range that only allows you to shoot 25 yards? Use a calculator to show your offset. At a long range and unsure of your hold? Use a calculator to give it to you.

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Some apps like Strelok Pro have options where you can display the same reticle in your scope on the screen, and literally show you where to hold to make your hit. Many range finders and weather meters will interface with your standalone or in-phone ballistic app to provide you with the best and most up-to-date information. Invariably those readings were taken at ideal scenarios — perfect weather, longer barrels, etc. The velocity of a given load is incredibly subject to nuances of your individual rifle.

Not only is barrel length a component, but also the cut of the chamber, and even minute differences in barrels on otherwise identical guns. The best way to determine the actual muzzle velocity is to use a good chronograph such as a Magneto Speed or LabRadar. Imperfect for sure, but better than going by the box. If you want to be able to hold center of your target and hit, use technology to figure out what your zero should be. Shop Indie eBooks. See All Customer Reviews.

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