Digital Age in Semiotics & Communication <p><strong>Digital Age in Semiotics &amp; Communication</strong>, a journal from the Southeast European Center for Semiotic Studies at the New Bulgarian University and founded by Prof. Kristian Bankov, explores the new forms of knowledge, social and linguistic interaction, and cultural phenomena generated by the advent of the Internet.<br>A topic is chosen for each issue by the editors’ board, but the topics will be always related to the issues of the digital environment. The topic is announced with a call for papers and will also be available on our Facebook page (<br>The working language of the journal is English. It uses double-blind review, meaning that both the reviewer’s and the author’s identities are concealed from each other throughout the review process.</p> New Bulgarian University en-US Digital Age in Semiotics & Communication 2603-3585 Cultural transformations of love and sex in the digital age <p>This second volume of our journal addresses an uneasy topic. It is uneasy exactly because it is too easy to speak about love and sex and yet say nothing. It is uneasy because there has not been tremendous academic interest in this topic within the field of humanities and social sciences, and contributions to the field have thus been sporadic and unsystematic. Moreover, it is uneasy because, compared to other aspects of our everyday life, love and sex concern our being in a way that it is difficult to observe in a neutral or scientific way. However, we are here: organizing a small conference on the consequences for love and sex upon the advent of the internet and digital technologies. We could not resist engaging this topic because our program as a research center concerns the cultural changes of the digital age, and we can hardly think of another sphere of life more affected by the development of digital communications technologies.</p> Kristian Bankov ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-11-06 2019-11-06 2 7 17 10.33919/dasc.19.2.1 The semiotics of the face in digital dating: A research direction <p>The article investigates the socio-cultural meaning of the face in relation to its natural and biological features, focusing on the particular domain ofmating habits. After surveying the role of the ‘face’ in the sexual behaviors of several non-human animals, and especially of primates, the article ponders on the crucial role that the face plays in the seductive discourse which precedes and accompany mating in all human cultures and also in many primates’ behaviors. It, then, deals with the transformation that these seductive patterns of signification and communication undergo in the passage from face-to-face intercourse to digital dating. Here, the gap between the necessarily realistic representation of one’s bodily face and the idealized version of it allowed by digital picture editing widens, to the point that new epistemic parameters start to circulate throughout the digital semiosphere.</p> Massimo Leone ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-11-06 2019-11-06 2 18 40 10.33919/dasc.19.2.2 I kissed an NPC, and I liked it: Love and sexuality in digital games <p>In this paper we will discuss the presence of love and sexuality in digital games (from ‘80s amateur porn games to the newest released VR ludo-erotic entertainment), both as representation and as experienced simulation. By way of a semiotic framework, we will analyze the following key features that produce the meaning of love and sexuality (L&amp;S from now on) in these texts: the possibility of semantic manipulation, intersubjective enunciation, a cognitive sensibility created through a ratio, and the presence of an economy of meaning. Furthermore, we will look not only at what these games represent and allow players to do, but also at players’ strategies and actions that give love and sex meaning in these games. Finally, this work will allow us to highlight not only the ideological and socio-cultural relevance of love and sex in digital games, but also the limits of a classical semiotic approach to this kind of problem, and consequently to make a general theoretical reflection in the conclusion.</p> Gianmarco Thierry Giuliana ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-11-06 2019-11-06 2 41 61 10.33919/dasc.19.2.3 Technology selling sex versus sex selling technology <p>The object of this study is to conduct a semiotic analysis of two different websites’ advertising techniques: one that promotes sex toys by emphasizing their technological superiority, and another promoting technology products by employing content of a sexual nature to increase their appeal. By studying and comparing these approaches, useful conclusions can be drawn about the way digital tools utilize the concepts of sex and technology. Digital communication makes use of many different modes, and it is interesting to see both how these are employed to represent sex and technology in digital media. Results show that interactivity plays an important role in the experience and messages delivered by the websites, while sex and technology are presented as opposites and used in balance.</p> Konstantinos Michos ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-11-06 2019-11-06 2 62 76 10.33919/dasc.19.2.4 UX & FOMO. Looking for love or looking for options? <p>This paper takes a look at the evolution of the Web and the digital products and services that were forged within it. It attempts to trace the progress of the internet’s design, to outline its current status, and to forecast its potential development. It also discusses the ability of design to influence culture to an extent that exceeds its explicit and implicit objectives.</p> Mihail Vuzharov ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-11-06 2019-11-06 2 77 91 10.33919/dasc.19.2.5 Sex of place: Mediated intimacy and tourism imaginaries <p>The capillary diffusion of digital and mobile technologies has deeply changed both the way of travelling and loving. Against this changing context, the aim of this paper is to examine the relationship between tourism discourse and online-dating discourse. Through analysis of a sample of Tinder profiles, the relationship between the self-presentation and the touristic space experience will be scrutinized. The main hypothesis that drives this work is that different ways of being attractive and seductive on dating apps correspond to specific, current narratives and typologies of tourism. The article maintains that discourse of mediated intimacy platforms borrow its themes from tourism imaginaries. Consequently, tourism discourse shapes the different modes of self-presentation in online intimacy.</p> Elsa Soro ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-11-06 2019-11-06 2 92 101 10.33919/dasc.19.2.6 From sexual community to exclusive sex: semiotic translation on gay chat and dating applications <p>“Gay, bi, trans, and queer” chat and dating apps, since explicitly addressed to sexual categories, are inevitably permeated by “sex”, even though this word rarely appears in the presentations of these applications. This omission is quite significant, since it establishes a strict code of interpretation and use for many of these apps, which usually promote a one-to-one heteronormative mode of interaction, in which sexuality, rather than a social bond, is intensively privatized and exclusive. The architecture of these apps deceptively seems to promote both the identity of the single user and the formation of communities through the possibility (and the necessity) of filling a series of categories. Actually, these categories and provided data, related to a mechanism of filters, combine to orient and standardize users’ choices and, consequently, the sexual and social value of the users themselves. These apps, through the (self)exploitation of their users, establish a gentrification process of their virtual spaces to increase their rental value as platforms. In this circular mechanism, a recursive hierarchy between a platform and its users is traceable, as well as amongst the users themselves: racist, anti-feminine, transphobic and sierophobic behaviors are dissimulated and legitimated as mere personal tastes. Therefore, while performances of white masculinity are awarded at the prize of frustrating normalization, “trans” and broadly “queer” subjectivities, widely sponsored by the queerwashed pages of these apps, are in fact excluded. Through a semiotic analysis of Grindr and PlanetRomeo, two of the bigger gay apps, the aim of this work is to highlight the semiotic processes of translation of sexual minorities’ collective instances into commodified profiles. A mechanism that reflects a broader heteronormative and neoliberal process of re-appropriation and assimilation of the difference.</p> Francesco Piluso ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-11-06 2019-11-06 2 102 120 10.33919/dasc.19.2.7 A reading on feminism on feminism and pornography through Jury Lotman's culture and explosion: Reflections <p>We endeavor through this research paper to read the feminist movements, in particular countries in order to understand its dynamics and at the same time to foresee its future directions. To achieve this, as an adequate tool, Juri Lotman’s Culture and Explosion (2009) provides us a model for reading the different dynamics within feminism, as a cultural text, as well as its interconnection to other sign systems within the same semiotic sphere. Thus we can understand the interconnection of feminism with politics and society, and with its plurality of discourses makes it in constant change and exposed to explosions which would change its course in the future. These explosions are displayed through the political acts which were passed in favour of the women as a result of the feminist dynamics. Besides, the feminist movement has the capacity to integrate into other movements and also can be transformed into other movements, and thus, new realities and discourses are created. Within this arena, among these realities is the anti-feminist pornography as opposed to pro-sex feminists. From our stand point, pornography, and especially that in the digital age, is the dark side of the feminist movement. Semiotically, in Lotman’s (2009) model, pornography is abnormal, sick or non-existent because it is different from the norm. In the light of this, we are able to expose different views about the harms of pornography both on women and even men.</p> Mega Afaf ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-11-06 2019-11-06 2 121 137 10.33919/dasc.19.2.8 The pleasure of the hypertext <p>In this paper I examine the relation between textualism and eroticism and how this relation evolves in the digital age. The point of departure is Roland Barthes’ works on the notion of text and especially The pleasure of the text (1973), where we find enough evidence that the attitude of the French semiologist is of fetishistic character with explicit erotic connotations. Such attitude is quite representative for the whole epoch of both structuralism and post-structuralism. The age of the hypertext (and the internet in general) changes the textualists’ culture in new forms of intertextual exchange where the pleasure itself becomes object of communicative exchange. The eroticism of the hypertext is more explicit compared to the text and it is getting a myriad of forms, difficult to be put in a general model. The last chapter examines the consequences of the hypertextual reality for the educational institutions and their role in the digitalized societies.</p> Kristian Bankov ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-11-06 2019-11-06 2 138 158 10.33919/dasc.19.2.9 Contents Editorial Board ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-11-06 2019-11-06 2 5 6 Notes for Contributors Editorial Board ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-11-06 2019-11-06 2 159 169