Guided & Unguided 01 is a series of plot points:
coordinates from multiple maps. This is a cartography of
varying kinds: a mapping of various locations, experiences
and memories. Repetitions and orientations aid you in
finding your way, in charting your place in these geographies.
Category Archives: Art
Guided & Unguided 01 is a series of plot points:
I am so excited! I was awarded the 2017 Ema Saikō Poetry Fellowship, which is a residency at the New Zealand Pacific Studio in the Wairarapa. I will be there for three weeks in November.
I’ll be working on a series of landscape poems which will take the form of text as well as mark-making and calligraphic work. These works will go towards a small hand printed chapbook which I will be printing with the team at MOTAT in early 2018 (all going well).
The fellowship is in honour of Ema Saikō, a Japanese poet, painter and calligrapher from the late Endo period. The picture on the right is a portrait she painted sourced from here.
I’d also like to acknowledge the fabulous poet and typographer Ya-wen Ho who was an Ema Saikō fellow last year.
So watch this space in November for some updates!!
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to go sharper” – W. B. Yeats.
The exhibition Sacred Economies and its accompanying poetry reading draw our attention to how experiences of the sacred manifest through social transactions. It is interested in how rituals give life to events and objects that can transform our ordinary ways of thinking about and participating in the world. How do transactions of forms like poetry or folklore, which hold little monetary value, create an economy of sacred moments?
I have written a couple of poems in response to Philippa Emery’s work in the show and I will be performing these poems at the reading on Thursday. The poets I will be reading with have each been assigned an artist and their work to respond to. You will be able to take a look and experience the work the poetry is responding to as the poet reads or afterwards.
Defining genres usually means drawing a box around it. Like a comic frame. The frame defines the moment and the frames butting up against it influence and further determine the frame in focus.
Abstract comics can be defined as sequential art consisting exclusively of abstract imagery [and also comics that] contain some representational elements, as long as those elements do not cohere into a narrative or even into a unified narrative space. – Andrei Molotiu
Molotiu’s frame around abstract comics seems somewhat limiting. We find stories and narratives everywhere. We can’t help it. And unless in my quest to create some abstract comics I try to thwart our constant need for stories at every turn (with no guarantee of success) how do I make a comic abstract?
Instead – I suggest that the term ‘abstract comics’ is a permission slip to borrow the aesthetic of the comics, the sequential storytelling mode of framing, and combine them with my own preoccupations in line drawing, mark making, asemic writing and other not necessarily representational modes. Or rather, that these modes are self referential. For me abstract comics are sequential storytelling of imagery that is concerned with its method of creation and the act of making a mark both literally and figuratively.
The permission slip of ‘abstract comics’ opens up the page of potential for me. The frames offer me no end of inspiration. The page is never empty. I can always begin with the frames and play from there.
Typography is a jargon rich habit. It has its own language, a vernacular specific to the task of talking about the physical forms of language and writing systems. Asemic writing shares the same associative interests as typography in the physical form of writing. Mark-making, the origins of writing systems, are a mechanical production of replication through physical movement; it is an embodied activity. The replication of marks requires a replication of bodily movement. The replicable is essential to writing systems: symbols repeated form a communication. In order to function they require convention of agreed understanding. Different writing tools have produced different methods of movement. Letterpress requires the handling and organisation of lead type which was first designed and then carved and cast in type foundries. Thus production of writing therefore includes not just the physical act of producing marks, but also the acts of producing the tools.
A typeface is a writing tool. Designing a typeface still requires mark-making, whether that is using a pen or pencil which is then digitally scanned, or whether it is a digital mark making in software like photoshop. The forms of writing systems become pixels which are rendered and honed into vectors then digitally constructed into a set of replicable glyphs assigned to the different keys and variation of key codes on a keyboard. Thus, all of the asemic typefaces in A Collection of Asemic Type Specimen (In the previous post) all conform to Western writing systems inherent in the Western keyboard. (The keyboard is another tool complicit within writing: the production of a keyboard and the keyboard’s design is a component of writing systems.) Asemic typefaces are an interface between the activity of writing and the action of typing on a keyboard.
Codes are a matter of translation. Decoding is implicit in the term code: marking asemic typefaces as code by design rather than intention. Strictly speaking all of the asemic typefaces in A Collection of Asemic Type Specimen (in the previous post) can be decoded should they be used to form words through the activity of typing. However the typefaces used in (pictured) assign phonics to the glyphs differently to the convention of the corresponding key. Therefore there is a disjuncture between typing and producing text.
A further disjuncture is found in the ‘wall’ between what we recognise. In the process of producing an asemic text using a keyboard and asemic typeface, the moment the words are down there is no going back, no looking up to assess what has been written. It is a disruption of the writing and typing process we are used to. Touch typing, looking at the screen while typing, is no longer useful as the writer is in the dark should they not remember what they have said. (However, a work around can be formed by typing in a semantically recognisable typeface and then highlighting the text to change the text into an asemic face.)
These components of working with asemic typefaces highlight the uneasy connection between the phonetic and the phoneme. The representation is only a representation, in line with theories of the sign, the link between the two is strong: socially, educationally, in practice, etc. But it is nevertheless ambiguous.
It remains a code. The lack of familiarity makes it a code; a lack of training and thus familiarity makes it asemic. Learning the links between the phonetics and the glyph would render all of these faces as writing systems in their own right – but that would also require more than one user, or knower, of the system in order for it to work as communication.
Asemic writing produces a nostalgia for how we saw writing systems before we had the knowledge to be included in their function. It alienates us from the visual representation of language we have learned and has become so engrained we can find ourselves reading words without intending to. Asemic writing rejects unconscious, automatic reading and those learned habits. It draws attention to the physical manifestations of writing as a visual media. The opacity of a writing system makes visible that which has become invisible. Asemic writing further disrupts the communal component of writing systems. It produces writing that has no secure conventions rendering it mute.
I’m currently working on a bunch of codes and thinking about asemics and the poetry of language form as typography: asemics, semasiographics and glottographic. As such I’m producing a number of typefaces with glyphs assigned to letters so that the glyphs can be repeated as replicas using a keyboard. This is an example of one of these typefaces which I have called ‘twombly’.
Each glyph corresponds to a key on the keyboard, so it could theoretically be read should you become so familiar with the glyphs. I thought I would share this one with you. You can download the font here.
Some new sound art / poetry