MinXus Mail Bag: “Digital Asemics” by Ruud Janssen (Breda, Netherlands)

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Mail art by Ruud Janssen (Breda, Netherlands)

As his letter below explains, Ruud Janssen recently has had a very productive, creative phase. Many networkers are receiving some great mail as a result, including his renowned, hand-painted envelopes. We are fortunate indeed to be among the recipients. In the days ahead, we will share some incredible work from Ruud Janssen, interspersed with material from our other faithful correspondents.

This first posting is a Ruud Janssen foray into asemics. These days the asemic designation is hotly debated in some circles (and accepted wholeheartedly in others). The contention centers around not the quality of the work being produced under the asemic moniker but what to call it and how to view it. Designations include asemic writing, asemic art and pansemics. Some insist this kind of work is abstract art, calligraphy, automatic writing or visual poetry; leave the asemic or pansemic part out of it. At least some of the confusion is derived, we believe, from the fact that asemics bridge the boundaries between traditional literary and visual arts. Asemics are “intermedia” or at least conducive to that concept.

What we know is that we like this piece by Ruud Janssen very much. It is rooted in calligraphy. We accept the asemic concept as being theoretically sound and valid, so we believe this piece is asemic. Placing it in that context enhances interpretive possibilities. The piece is asemic in the sense that the cursive shapes suggest language but fall into the realm of the incomprehensible. The work cannot be “read” in the way we would read text; however, that does not negate the possibility that a viewer can find meaning.

A great deal of asemic writing is being produced by mail artists and circulated in the network. The IUOMA is one center of activity for this production. The IUOMA brand of asemics (because members tend to influence each other to a great degree) is  in actuality a visual poetry-asemic writing hybrid. This work Ruud Janssen sent is a very good example of the asemic-vispo hybrid, even though it retains his very recognizable style.

This work also has a logical place among the “mind maps” Ruud Janssen has been creating during the recent surge. These mind maps are meditations on mail art and its relation to art movements and technology. The ability of this work to communicate on a rhetorical level is based imagery (written text and computer components primarily) and thus the work has a correspondence to visual poetry as well as the asemic.

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This new wave from the Netherlands is being circulated in the beautiful hand-painted envelopes that already have a near-legendary status in the Eternal Network.

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And the reverse:

Ruud - 6.23.2015 - 4 (2)

Deepest thanks to Ruud Janseen. Stay tuned for more soon!

 

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