Culture Code-X


Image for Borderland

Reaper from the videogame Overwatch — a calacas figure

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.

“El Mariachi” is a 1992 independent film by Robert Rodriguez (Mexican-American director). Followed by “Desperado” and “Once Upon a Time in Mexico.”

BORDERLAND” NORM: Americans have been given the impression that the Wild West still exists… in Mexico. Mexico often depicted as a semi-lawless land — this is a cliché, of course, but one that has been revived semi-ironically in recent years.

BORDERLAND” FORMS: Neo-Western costumes, settings. Tough guy actors like Danny Trejo (Mexican-American), as well as Javier Bardem and Antonio Banderas (Spanish), Benicio del Toro (Puerto Rican), etc.

From a 2020 study of “Mexican-ness” codes — as perceived in US culture.

Tags: CODE-X, Mexico