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Parsons School of Design MFA Design and Technology program theses2001 ➔ American Lawn, the Semiotics of Everyday Life


Related people/organizations

Jeonsook Cha (designer)
Stewart Ziff (thesis advisor)
Chris Romero (thesis advisor)
Dave Caroll (thesis advisor)




The issue I am studying in this project is how a common thing, that seems not to be  noticed, in fact can have many and deep meanings associated with it. That something  common and ordinary might not be common and ordinary at all.  

What could be more common than the American Lawn? It is everywhere. We don’t notice  it. Or do we? I selected the American Lawn because to me it was unusual. The lawn  seems to signify more than just a landscape element, to an American. I was intrigued  what was so important for Americans to have a lawn. I was curious what meaning a lawn  has for Americans.  

So in my thesis, I decided to explore the issue of the underlying meanings of the  American Lawn. The focus area is how the common thing, the ordinary object around us,  cognitively includes other meaning. The lawn is what we can see most of time but  naturally it doesn't really take our attention because it seems ordinary. But there is a lot of  effort, skills, and time involved to keep and take care of the perfect green lawn around us.  There must be more meaning to something that is given such care. This is my thesis -  that the American Lawn has such deeper meanings that it signifies key aspects of  American Culture as a whole.  

To evaluate this thesis, I brought in the concept of Semiology to my project. This is a  subject for the discipline that was explored in the Saussure's seminal Course in General  Linguistics in 1916. Until the growth of mass media, this science largely lay unexploited.  Today in the rapid communication, global web, the field of semiology has gained  newfound significance. I will employ semiology concepts in my thesis project.



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