20120423

Tim Gaze


reappraising some fundamentals:
writing, reading, images



the category of asemic writing (illegible forms of writing) seems to be widely accepted. Many visual poems and other forms of asemic writing have been published and exhibited.

definition of Writing: if we consider asemic writing to be a subset of the larger category of writing, then perhaps the widely accepted definition of writing, as the means by which words are recorded and transmitted, is inadequate.

definition of Reading: naturally, if one accepts an expanded definition of writing, then we need to reappraise what reading is.

definition of Image: surprisingly, there doesn't seem to be a universally accepted definition of what, exactly, an image is. Some viewers consider certain examples of asemic writing to be images, rather than writing.

metric approaches to poetics: rather than attempting to assemble a cognitive poetics, which is possibly beyond our current technological means, it would be simple to begin experiments in metric poetics. For example, we could ask readers to look at visual poems, then measure the direction and speed of their saccades (tiny, controlled eye movements), length of time of attention given to each poem and other measurable physiological responses. Another example would be measuring the average reading speed for different texts. When brain scanning machines become portable and much less intrusive, we could use them to see what reading poetry does to the human brain.

Chinese aesthetics: somewhere, I read a claim that there is more writing about aesthetics and art criticism in Chinese culture, over a much longer period of time, than the rest of the world's cultures put together. Most of us are immersed in Western assumptions about the nature of writing, reading, language, images, art, poetry and so on.

visual rhetoric: there is a universe of possibilities for expression, using a repertoire of symbols (including letters and words) and images. From this repertoire, we build visual utterances. Understanding these utterances involves both verbal and visual literacies.

data file types: traditionally, data is divided into file types such as document files or graphics files. If you record each letter as a numerical code rather than a photograph of its physical appearance, you save huge amounts of storage space. However, you're taking away one stage of the reading process from the person doing the reading: having to recognise the letters. Graphics files, at the expense of grossly larger amounts of storage, can contain asemic writing as comfortably as legible writing. If a hybrid document-image file type became available, and was easy to use, it's likely that our understanding of visual rhetoric would increase greatly. We could more easily study and compare digital representations of every kind of document and every kind of image.

April 2012


Tim Gaze is not satisfied with the conventional boundaries of the art of writing. His abstract graphic novel 100 Scenes is available in paperback from his imprint asemic editions or as an e-book from Transgressor. A collection of his "glitch poetry" noology was published by Arrum Press in 2008. Recent collections of his abstract visuals and asemic writing include Intersigns (Tonerworks, 2011) and scriptions (Xexoxial, 2011). Music and walking keep him alive. He lives in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia.
 
 
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