In all writing traditions there are cases in which the written message cannot or must not intentionally be read, in the past and in the present. Artists’ signatures, texts written with invisible ink, encryptions, inscriptions for the gods, texts reserved to confidential readers, invented writings are all examples of an eccentric relation between the medium and its message. They do not match with the general theory of communication, which distinguishes source, message, medium and target among the essential constituent of a communication act. Moreover, in the constant dialectic between medium and message, code-switching and cultural interferences can be observed, both at a graphic and a linguistic level, which can totally or partially hide the code.The environment in which the message is conceived, made up of physical, cultural, religious, pragmatic aspects, defines and clarifies the use of this peculiar communication strategy, which finds an extreme case in the subliminal advertising.
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