At the Edge of & Outside of Language: David Chirot on the Origin of rubBEings

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Cover of four-page asemic book by David-Baptiste Chirot (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA)


When I first began creating rubBEings I had a vision – a kind of deep emotional visual thinking – which I longed to convey. But I did not know if I would ever be able to realize it. I wanted to express that vision in a way that conveyed what I was experiencing at the edge of and outside of words, letters and language.

I kept trying to realize that vision until one day when I was making art working on a telephone pole. I was surrounded by a street gang that later killed one of my friends. At the time various people were living in a nearby building later condemned by the city. I lived on the top floor that was reserved for homeless people and spent a whole winter there. Snow came in the broken windows and killed mice, which terrified the psychotic patients that shared the floor with the homeless.

I was working away on the telephone pole and suddenly when I was making a stroke with a lumber crayon on cheap notebook paper I realized I was crossing a line. I was no longer just making markings but actually doing what I had envisioned but had not been sure I could achieve before. Now I was achieving it. In that one stroke I changed from being a wanderer to having a vocation: visual poetry, writing, sound poetry – the rest of my existence here.

David Chirot



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Inner pages of asemic book by David Chirot



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“For Bob Cobbing – in the snow” by David Chirot (remix)


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