Visualising the past for the future: a social semiotic reading of urban heritage
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Peterson, Norway, was a former cellulose factory that is in the process of being transformed into new usage. A landmark at the premises is the “digester,” a high-rise steel structure used to make cellulose before the factory closed in 2012. The digester is now facing an uncertain material future, but this does not keep it from being represented and remembered in different ways. Peterson is also known for its elephant logo, which has been resemiotised from a signboard into a three-dimensional elephant sculpture in blank steel. As we will demonstrate, this and other uses of semiotic resources may be viewed as part of a transformative process that indicates looking forward into a post-industrial society where communication is more important than cellulose production. However, as we will demonstrate, this interpretation does not necessarily match the intention of the sign producer.