Asemic cut-up by Claudia McGill (Wyncote, Pennsylvania, USA)


Mail-art by IUOMA member Claudia McGill (Wyncote, Pennsylvania, USA)


November 3, 2013 - Dear friend and ever-faithful correspondent Claudia McGill mailed me this brilliant piece that favors my own interest in asemic writing that is composed, at least in part, on a randomness principle.

As I hope the scan reveals, Claudia composed this postcard-size work by overlaying strips of (mostly) cursive writing in a relatively linear pattern upon a foundation of more cursive writing. Note that this "cut-up" technique (see William S. Burroughs) was employed by a number of artists who participated in the monumental Asemics 16 collaborative book project in 2011-12. This process creates new symbols and textual forms, all of which could not possibly have been anticipated. I find the result very impressive.

Friends know that Claudia McGill is capable of using an astonishingly wide range of aesthetic approaches to produce pleasing results. For this piece, she looks back to her gritty roots in the Trashpo, anti-art school. In fact, this work bears some similarity to the 2005 Trashpo compositions by visual poet Jim Leftwich (Virginia, USA) that launched the recent Trashpo craze (along with the work of Diane Keys (Illinois, USA).


Many thanks to Claudia McGill for sending work for the growing asemic collection.

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Comment by Claudia Garcia on November 4, 2013 at 4:08am

Thanks De Villo!!!!

Comment by De Villo Sloan on November 4, 2013 at 3:58am

Thanks, Claudia. We are all lucky with the work we receive. I have an asemic collection that is growing, for sure.

But the Trash poets (trashpo), they send you everything in the wastebasket.

Comment by Claudia Garcia on November 4, 2013 at 3:29am

Your work is excellent Claudia!!!! Congratulations!!!!! I love cut to make the works too.

De Villo, you have much luck having this mail art!!!!

Comment by De Villo Sloan on November 4, 2013 at 3:24am

Hi Claudia, I am glad you found the blog. I would mistrust anyone working in the avant area who said they knew exactly what they were doing. I have not the slightest idea what I am doing most of the time.


I like what you say about "fussing," which suggests the idea of determining when something is or isn't complete. Mail-art settles the issue to some degree; it's so fast-paced that you just move on to the next thing & any movement toward perfection is achieved through many pieces rather than working on one exclusively.

I do have another package from you - thanks. The asemic cut-up seemed like an interesting work to look at closely.

Comment by De Villo Sloan on November 3, 2013 at 7:34pm

Hi Rebecca, well, you certainly bring some light yourself "reading" Claudia's asemics. I can only speculate about design vs. chance. I don't believe she closed her eyes; things like the "E" seem to be considered. Other parts produce the writing through the placement of the overlays.

Many folks used this method for Asemics 16, so I recognized the method because I have seen so many.


Hi Nancy, my own attempts with asemic cut-ups have been disappointing. So I admire Claudia all the more. It strikes me as having that raw Trashpo feel.

Comment by Rebecca Guyver on November 3, 2013 at 6:54pm

I wonder how random it is… I love the repeptition of E and the triangle of A. Love the way you spot these gems and shine a light for all of us dullards!

Comment by Nancy Bell Scott on November 3, 2013 at 6:42pm

Ah, really wonderful by Claudia. This weekend I've been exploring asemics further, and Claudia just blew my pitiful attempts right out of the water! Very inspiring.



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