“Surrogate” by Amy Irwen (Rosemount, Minnesota, USA)


“Surrogate” – a collage with asemics – by Amy Irwen (Rosemount, Minnesota, USA)


Amy Irwen participated in Asemic Front previously with collabs. Now she has sent a beautiful solo collage with asemic writing which I am thrilled to share. The circular asemics are an excellent structural device as are the text-image relations that make this piece visual poetry as well. Here is a closer look:




And the reverse side:


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And the envelope:


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New Asemic Correspondence by Yayoi S.W. (Kirkland, Washington, USA)

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Asemics by Yayoi S.W. (Kirkland, Washington, USA)


Yayoi S.W. is creating wonderful art and sharing it via the Eternal Network. She is receiving rave responses. Because her work is often image-text and/or asemic, she has captured the interest of the vispo and asemics communities as well. I’ve already been thrilled to include her work in the Asemic Front project. Her asemics are becoming, in my estimation, more refined and expressive. I am now happy to have new solo work by Yayoi S.W. to share. For those versed in mail art, you might note that she appears to be part of the Mail Art 365 project, a huge worldwide effort that requires a great deal of discipline.







Detail of asemic writing by Yayoi S.W.



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Asemic visual poetry by Yayoi S.W.



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Asemic vispo collabs by Tiina Kainulainen (Helsinki, Finland) & De Villo Sloan (Auburn, New York, USA)

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Collab by Tiina Kainulainen (Helsinki, Finland) & De Villo Sloan (Auburn, New York, USA)



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Collab foundation by Tiina Kainulainen



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Collab by Tiina Kainulainen & De Villo Sloan



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Collab by Tiina Kainulainen & De Villo Sloan



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Asemics & Chaos Theory by Ruud Janssen (Breda, Netherlands)

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Mail art by Ruud Janssen (Breda, Netherlands)


Ruud Janssen – already a contributor to the Asemic Front project – sent this fascinating correspondence art package. A main preoccupation of the piece is exploring asemics and the way signs and symbols are expressed through various modes. These range from “obsolete technologies” to the digital realm and are all addressed in this multi-faceted work.

Ruud Janssen devotes one of his well-known, hand-painted envelopes to establish the themes. I believe this is the first of his painted envelopes that purposefully uses asemic writing. Here is the reverse side of the envelope:




The envelope contains a copy of a letter that reflects on the experience of using a typewriter in the Digital Age and the ironies of snail mailing a letter when email is available. Ruud Janssen addresses ideas concerning copies vs. “authentic” texts, a subject of perennial interest to artists on the conceptual side of things. For me, this “letter” works as a conceptual essay (of significance I would add) that encompasses numerous topics including the current status of traditional mail art. I believe Diane Keys (Elgin, Illinois, USA) also received a copy of this piece:


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The reverse side:


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This piece was also included:


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Mail art by Ruud Janssen (Breda, Netherlands)



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On the envelope (top scan), Ruud Janssen asks about a connection between asemic writing and Chaos Theory. I wager he knows more about Chaos Theory than I do. I do know that current asemic writers are discussing randomness, formlessness and even discoveries of physics proper (areas I associate with Chaos Theory) as tools to generate asemic signs, symbols and structures. Various kinds of computer randomness generators could be used to generate asemics. But I am not sure if this is what Ruud Janssen is asking. As Gertrude Stein said, “What was the question?”



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Asemic visual poetry collab by Laura Ortiz & Donmay Donamayoora

Laura dona - 1Asemic visual poetry collaboration by Laura Ortiz (Toronto, Canada) and Donmay Donamayoora (Connecticut, USA)


Laura Ortiz and Donmay Donamayoora have already made important contributions to Asemic Front. They are welcome contributors always.

Today I am thrilled to be able to present the first Ortiz-Donamayoora collab that has ever appeared on AF. I believe the work is a remarkable success that highlights the talents of both Ortiz and Donamayoora.

They are both receiving much acclaim in the asemic and visual poetry communities. The symbols and structures (asemic syntax), as well as the foundational visual aesthetics, reveal why these two women are so admired. I am very happy to be able to share this piece on Asemic Front. Some detail studies are included as well.




Laura donya - 2By Laura Ortiz and Donmay Donamayoora



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Asemic vispo collabs by Audrey Enough (Canada) & De Villo Sloan (USA)

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Collab by Audrey Enough (Montreal, Canada) & De Villo Sloan (Auburn, New York, USA) for the Asemic Front “Studies in Material Culture Series.”



I am thrilled to have completed these AF collabs with the enigmatic but extremely talented Audrey Enough. We have managed to produce another piece for the “Studies in Material Culture Series” as well. Audrey Enough’s art tends toward the abstract and minimal, which is a perfect match for my own style. I hope we can complete more pieces in the future.








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Asemic visual poetry collab by Audrey Enough (Canada) & De Villo Sloan (USA)



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An asemic writing game (of sorts) by Tiina Kainulainen (Helsinki, Finland)

Tiina 5.18.2018 - 2Asemic game by Tiina Kainulainen (Helsinki, Finland)


Previous Asemic Front collaborator Tiina Kainulainen from Finland created this ingenious piece, a perfect merging of asemics and conceptualism. What would be the constraints, rules and processes of an asemic game? This is a work that invites audience involvement on several levels. At the heart of Tiina’s game is an asemic symbol generator that randomly decomposes the existing alphabet as well as bits of text. Here is the entire set-up she sent:


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Tiina’s game will, undoubtedly, generate many responses in various individuals. I think about game theory when I approach her work. Perhaps an asemic game would have (could have) no purpose but the continuation of a game? An asemic game would have no rules? Or the rules would change each time? Could an asemic game have any true outcome other than the generation of meaninglessness? You see? The interpretive possibilities are very wide. We can learn much from engaging with this game and we can have fun with it as well. Tiina has made a wonderful contribution to the growing asemic canon, in my estimation.



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Tiina 5.18.2017Asemic writing game by Tiina Kainulainen (Helsinki, Finland)



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Two New Titles from Timglaset Editions (Sweden) & Faint Press (USA)

Chris - 5.2.2018 - 2Cover of  to let lack by c.r.e. wells (aka Chris Wells) published by Timglaset Editions (Sweden)


Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the Eternal Network, Asemic Front has received copies of two new asemic-visual poetry editions.

This first edition, to let lack (December 2017), is solo work by USA visual poet Chris Wells and beautifully produced by Timeglaset Editions of Malmo, Sweden. Ably edited by Joakim Norling, Timeglaset is gaining a reputation for publications of high quality and content. Asemic Front has reviewed their books before; and I plan to do more, as their editorial choices tend to complement AF project goals and illustrate my theories concerning asemics and visual poetry.


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to let lack is a slim, collector’s book of four compositions (8 pages). Only 49 copies were produced for the edition, but in this case quality is far more important than quantity. Having lived with the book for awhile, I find myself returning again and again to it with fascination.


Chris - 5.2.2018 - 3Page from to let lack by c.r.e. wells


In previous reviews, I have written about (for lack of a better term) a “school” of visual poetry in the Midwest USA – a geography of cultural production that coincides, strangely, with regions of devastating post-industrial economic contraction and decline. I’ve even called this school Vis-consin out of deference to one of its centers in the state of Wisconsin, although the poets are spread beyond that state.

Anyone versed in the dispersion of U.S. culture knows that movements of significance tend to radiate outward from either the East or West coasts. An enduring avant/post-avant literary movement emanating from the continental interior is a great rarity and, for that reason alone, deserves examination. Additionally, the poets are producing tremendous work.

Members who share this aesthetic and geographic bond have done impressive and groundbreaking work, even when placed on the  competitive global stage. Some notables are Miekal And (Wisconsin), David Chirot (Wisconsin), Matthew Stolte (Wisconsin), Diane Keys (Illinois), C. Mehrl Bennett (Ohio), John M. Bennett (Ohio), Ficus strangulensis (West Virginia), among others. A newer generation is fast emerging.

Chris Wells has mastered a wide range of visual poetics, but his work frequently shows an affinity to this group I have identified. His location in Ohio qualifies him eminently. The pieces in to let lack particularly show the influence of Rust Belt vispo (see the black and white piece above).


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My purpose here is not to outline the poetics of Vis-consin, which I have done at length elsewhere. I only want to make the point that I believe Chris Wells shows the influence of this poetic in a very pronounced way in to let lack. I am referring specifically to abstraction, minimalism in terms of color, organic form (although at root I see Wells as a formalist and you can find formalism in this collection), image-text synthesis, and the presence of asemics. Much Vis-consin work uses a copyart aesthetic that is gritty (industrial), anti-art and distorted. Many of the Vis-consin poets were deeply involved in the copyart movement. In terms of comparison, I see the influence of Matthew Stolte most in to let lack, even though I doubt Wells is making a conscious homage to any of the poets mentioned in this article.



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Visit Timglaset:



Chris - 5.2.2018 - 6Cover of your world hangs by Amanda Laughtland and C.R.E. Wells published by Faint Press (2018)


Next is a pamphlet by Amanda Laughtland and Chris Wells, which was issued by Faint Press in Ohio, USA. Wells’ Faint Press enjoys a relatively high degree of visibility thanks to Chris Wells’ active involvement in the Eternal Network.

your world hangs contains seven visual-textual works. The pamphlet is smaller and more informal than the impressive Timglaset production. The Wells-Laughtland collabs are of great interest and complexity. (Thus the visual presentation would benefit from being larger.) They have many Vis-consin qualities; but ultimately your world hangs is more refined abstract art than to let lack.

The work is far more dependent upon formalist structures than pieces by David Chirot or Diane Keys. Let me be clear – after the reference to abstract art – that I see the collection as a fine visual poetry lyric sequence that functions in a way similar to – say – a crown of sonnets. Is there such a thing as formalist vispo? Indeed, I am convinced there is.



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Chris - 5.2.2018 - 8Pages from your world hangs by Amanda Laughtland and C.R.E. Wells (2018)



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Asemic Front Collabs by John M. Bennett & De Villo Sloan

JMB DVS 4.16.2018 - 5a1Asemic visual poetry collab by John M. Bennett (Columbus, Ohio, USA) and De Villo Sloan (Auburn, New York, USA). (Studies in Material Culture Series)



JMB DVS 4.16.2018 - 2By John M. Bennett & De Villo Sloan



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JMB DVS 4.16.2018 - 61Asemic visual poetry collab by John M. Bennett (Columbus, Ohio, USA) and De Villo Sloan (Auburn, New York, USA). (Studies in Material Culture Series)



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Asemic Front Collabs by Laura Ortiz & De Villo Sloan (Part 3)

Laura ) dvs - 4.10.2018 - 1Asemic visual poetry collaboration by Laura Ortiz (Canada) and De Villo Sloan (USA).



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Laura ) dvs - 4.10.2018 - 3Collab foundation designed by Laura Ortiz; neo-concrete material by De Villo Sloan



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By Laura Ortiz and De Villo Sloan



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