MinXus Mail Bag: Binary Asemics from Jan Hodgman (Anacortes, Washington State, USA)

Jan - 11.9.2014 - 1

Mail-art by Jan Hodgman (Anacortes, Washington, USA)

We are assuming this beautiful postcard-size work sent to us by Jan Hodgman is asemic-vispo. She is a thoughtful and interested member of the asemic writing group at the IUOMA. Her inclusion of a binary system (one and zero) immediately caught our eye. (There is also a larger glyph present.)

In the asemic writing group, some time ago we have talked about creating systems and forms that can function as asemics. A binary structure, as long as it cannot be “read” in a conventional sense, would qualify. We suppose an asemic purist being “asemically correct” might argue binary computer code is an existing language; and, thus, zero-one constructs do not qualify. But that is a bit extreme.

The asemic syntax book project was directly related to this interest in structures beyond individual symbols. It was interesting how some of the participants believed syntax could not exist independent of meaning. In fact, we once had a very interesting discussion with Guido Vermeulen about the relationship of codes to asemic writing. Guido was very interested in the idea. The consensus was, if we recall, that a code that can be “cracked” is not asemic. Something that appears to be a code but is ultimately incomprehensible is asemic.

Jan - 11.9.2014 - 2

We greatly appreciate this work from Jan Hodgman (1) because it is such a beautiful piece of mail-art and (2) because it compels us to meditate upon the nature of language. We doubt we will be able to find any old work from 1480 AD, but we will be sure to send something in reply.

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