In the 21st century, important changes and transformations are taking place in the world on behalf of humanity. The most prominent of these is the tendency of the world's power centers to move from the West to the East. In this regard, in the last fifty years, nations living in Asian countries, especially Japan, Korea, China, and India, have made significant progress in almost every field affecting the development of humanity, such as science, art, trade, and tourism, and have been great pioneers of change in the world.

Depending on the aforesaid change, Asian countries have also endeavored to create their own institutions in every field. One of the institutions established in Asian countries is the Asian Semiotics International Association, headquartered in Seoul (ASIA: Asian Semiotics International Association). Founded in 2021, ASIA first planned to organize biennial Asian International Semiotics Congresses. Within this context, the first congress was held in Seoul (South Korea) on October 15-17, 2022. The second International Semiotics Congress of ASIA will be held in Balıkesir (Türkiye) in June 2024 in cooperation with Balıkesir University, Balıkesir Metropolitan Municipality, ANASEM (Anatolian Association for Semiotic Studies/AASS) TGÇ (Semiotics Circle of Türkiye) NE10 Urban Research and Technology Development Center. The theme of "The signs of Asia: Blues and Hope" is proposed for the congress to be held in Balıkesir.

It is a fact that there have been significant developments in science and technology in the last century that have affected humanity. In parallel with these developments, a certain part of people has become quite wealthy. However, it is a bit difficult to think that the resulting change and transformation have positively affected all of humanity. Thus, it is known that in the days following World War II, philosophers such as Theodor Adorno largely lost faith that humanity was getting better. In fact, in the last fifty years, many events that directly affect the future of humanity in a negative way, such as wars, natural disasters, migrations, and unplanned industrialization, have followed each other. As a matter of fact, the Palestinian-Israeli War, the Russian-Ukrainian War, the First and Second Karabakh War, the ethnic, sectarian, and political struggles in Afghanistan are the main sources of the ongoing tension in Asia today. To these, we can also add disasters such as the Kahramanmaraş earthquake, Tsunamis, earthquakes in Japan, and nuclear explosions that directly negatively affect humanity. In addition, the world's population has increased rapidly, and people have polluted the environment even more based on population growth. Moreover, with advances in science, countries have developed more sophisticated weapons, and tensions between societies have increased. Wars are not over. Every day, small or large conflicts occur in different parts of the world. Although technology seems to be used for the development of humanity, it can also be used for evil purposes. Fake news has become a major problem in today's societies.

It is not the first time, of course, that people live face to face with a walled future. But people used to overcome these walls with the help of words and appeals. They referred to the values that formed their hopes.

Today, no one speaks anymore (except those who keep repeating themselves), because the world seems to us like to be ruled by blind and deaf forces that do not hear warnings, admonitions, and wishes...

Elias Canetti-Blinding

It was the beginning of the 20th century when Canetti wrote about blindness, Albert Camus called the 20th century the age of fear in the aftermath of the First World War, and when the Twin Towers collapsed in New York at the beginning of the 21st century, we realized that the age of fear continued to increase and that this fear and anxiety gradually turned into sadness in all areas of life.

The most important characteristic of the 21st century has been rapid "change", but the characteristic of change that has existed since the beginning of history is that this time it is very fast, large, complex, and uninterrupted, a speed that is valid both in terms of areas of interest, content, and impact. The characteristics of change in the 21st century reduce predictability, increase unpredictability, and make it difficult to predict, create, and/or accept changes.

It would not be wrong to say that this situation causes people to become increasingly lonely and isolated.

In a study done in 1985, the average number of confidants with whom one could discuss important matters without hesitation was three. The repetition of the survey in 2004 dropped to two and to zero the following year.

Through social networks, loneliness is spreading contagiously, creating a worrying trend towards an increasingly isolated life. Increased geographical mobility is another factor contributing to loneliness in modern society. Technology, the use of the internet, less family contact is associated with a greater sense of loneliness, unpredictability, creates a sense of living in uncertainty, from artificial intelligence to international relations, state structures, traditions, beliefs, and ultimately a sad world.

In a world where there is so much pessimism, people still have not lost hope. An emotional novel, a love poem, or a drama with a positive ending can also be written in this period. Perhaps it is this hope that contributes to human life.


In the International Asian Semiotics Congress, it will be discussed what the problems of the people of our age are and how solutions can be proposed to these problems with semiotic analysis methods. In the scope of the congress, the reflections of pessimism in every field will be revealed, and semiotic solutions will be discussed.

In this scope, answers will be sought to questions such as:

  • Are contemporary novels, poems, and plays more pessimistic than those written in previous eras?
  • In folk narratives, the good are rewarded, and the bad are punished. How do we identify the good and the bad in today's societies? How are the good rewarded?
  • In ancient narratives, happiness depended on the success of the hero. How is the happiness achieved by the hero in "The Abduction of a Girl from the Palace" (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) manifested in today's operas?
  • Functions of virtual media. Are such media only a means of communication, or do they have other functions?
  • What is the balance between positive and negative words in contemporary discourse? Which lexical group is more dominant?
  • How are sadness and hope expressed in Asian culture?
  • Do all concepts denoting sadness in the languages of Asian countries have adequate equivalents in Western languages?
  • What kind of signs are used to indicate the aspects of hope in religious structures in Asian countries?
  • How is the fictionalization of reality in contemporary media environments?
  • Representation of blues and/or hope in Asian architecture.
  • Do today's people want to learn the truth, or do they want to hear a fictional truth?
  • What is the place of semiotics in contemporary lifestyles?

Researchers are expected to find satisfactory answers to such questions.


The aim of this meeting is to compare contemporary Asian societies in different fields and to reveal their similarities and dissimilarities in the contrast of blues/hope.

How this contrast is manifested in Asian cultural products and means of communication is among the main purposes of the congress.


Congress organization venue:

Balıkesir University, Ataturk Congress and Cultural Centers Campüs/Balıkesir- Türkiye