Roland Barthes

Date: December 4, 2017
Category Theory
Topic Authorship

Roland Barthes was a french literary theorist and philosopher. He wrote an essay, The Death of the Author. Barthes argues that the creator of work is merely a scriptor. It is up to the viewer or reader to create meaning from the work. Barthes believes that trying to attribute a single meaning to a work is limiting to the work. Instead he believes that works are layered and given the viewers background new meanings may be understood.

“The birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author.”

I believe this is a useful theory to follow up on in my own work. I have spent my working life manipulating users to understand only one thing as a means to drive them to complete predetermined actions through user interface design. I would like to work in a capacity in which I am designing opportunities or affordances, without forcing users to do anything. I would like to follow up by reading about Kenya Hara’s concept of designing circumstances instead of objects or interfaces.