The CODE-X series catalogs a vast codex of source codes (aka “signs”) extracted from past audits.
The object of study in semiotics is not the signs but rather a general theory of signification; the goal of each “audit” is to build a model demonstrating how meaning is produced and received within a category or cultural territory. Signs on their own, therefore, only become truly revelatory and useful once we’ve sorted them into thematic complexes, and the complexes into codes, and the codes into a meaning map. We call this process “thick description”; the Code-X series is thin description.
“CUT LOOSE” NORM: Mexico as a place where Americans can go to escape repression and shed inhibitions. Driven in part by US Spring Break culture oriented around Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, Playa del Carmen. But also by tequila brands, which have associated themselves since the 1940s with wild merrymaking.
“CUT LOOSE” FORMS: White people tearing off their clothes, acting outrageously, taking risks, losing their inhibitions. “Ready. Set. Let go.” “Put some skeletons in your closet.” “Have a story.”
From a 2021 study of “Mexican-ness” codes — as perceived in US culture.