Asemics and Codification: “Code 58” by Litsa Spathi (Breda, Netherlands)

Litsa Spathi - 6.30.2017 - 3

“Code 58” by Litsa Spathi (Breda, Netherlands)


Asemic writers and artists who venture beyond initial explorations of calligraphy and solitary symbol creation soon encounter the process of codification in asemics (in a linguistic sense) and how it can be applied to this unique form of expression that seeks to elude conventional meaning. Codification, for example, involves – as well as basic symbol creation – relationships of symbols to each other, the construction of systems, arbitration between meaning and the meaningless as well as other related issues.

A segment of asemic writers – in fact – are fascinated with and specialize in the creation of asemic codes. The late Belgian visual poet and critic Guido Vermeulen was one such asemic codifier. Vermeulen convinced me that the creation of asemic codes is possible and can be fruitful; however, the approach is somewhat different than the construction of conventional codes. (A code is not necessarily inherently asemic, but it is possible to construct asemic codes.)

My purpose here – I believe you will be relieved – is not to discourse further upon asemic codification. I have done that elsewhere and will probably return to it in the future. (And the assertions I have made certainly deserve further explanation.)

The topic of this post is far more rewarding: I am very happy to share an interesting work by the visual poet Litsa Spathi. She is a perennial favorite poet of mine.

“Code 58” deals brilliantly with the related issues of codification, gender, meaning and the meaningless. You will not find – as far as I can see – asemic writing but rather a play of conventional symbols and shapes. Some maintain recognizable signification. Others have been disconnected from context (“Defamiliarized”) and are rendered meaningless (or indeterminate). This is certainly another mode for creating asemics. But please do not be burdened by theory. Do your own explorations of codes if you are so inclined and take my ponderings, as they say, with a grain of salt.

Enjoy the work of Litsa Spathi.



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