Visual Signs and Cultural Analysis

  • Luisa Pessoa


Nonverbal manifestations by a person or a group of people towards elements in a city conveys a message. It is worth the effort to recognize the type of messages being communicated, their relevance, and whether they are related to a larger social movement – perhaps reflecting a behavioral shift or trend – because they may contain useful information to government agencies, companies, and the society at large.

In this article, I discuss how the visual signs present in a territory and cultural analyses are related. We may consider that “territory is a concept generated by people organizing space for their own aims” (GOTTMANN 1975:1). Visual signs are studied in the field of semiotics, which seeks to understand the “relationship between the sign and the object or signifier and signified” (SMITH 2011:229), using visual code (image, painting, etc.) to send a message that, importantly, may “be hidden or largely unnoticed, even by the people using the code” (SMITH 2011:236). Culture is all human being manifestations that occur through habits, values and attitudes – “the way of life of a particular people living together in one place” (EAGLETON 2000:112).

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