Denotation: a literate institution for a small southern town

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1991
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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Abstract

The usage of the paired terms of denotation and connotation are one means by which language provides for the declarative knowing of all things; denotation is a naming by means of indication, whereas connotation is that which incites the specificity of meaning to a particular thing. Where the denotative assumes a recessive posturing of a formal ambiguity, the connotative proceeds towards a greater clarity with the intention of potential certainty and separateness in meaning. In the same manner as with language, the denotative in architecture responds to the elemental analogue operatively as a background within a field of signification, whereas the connotative responds to the elemental analogue exemplifying an objectification through categorical distinction.

The use of the term denotation as the title of this exploration is to instate the accompanying text within the resonance of the denotative background in an attempt to circumvent a connotative, architectural objectification, at times operating under the guise of evidential justification. This circumvention, by means of the denotative positioning, is not meant as a vindication of the architectural object; rather, it is meant as a critique of the autonomy of the object and the foreground that it inhabits. This use of denotative background (not as a dialectical or teleological response to the connotative object) is to provide for an ungrounding in the work to the primacy of object as architectural edification.

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