ASEMICS 16 GREATEST HITS (Vol. 2): Rosa Gravino (Argentina), Svenja Wahl (Germany), Theresa Williams (USA)

Center section of chapter for Asemics 16 (Edition #5) collaborative book by IUOMA member Rosa Gravino (Rosario, Argentina)

December 30, 2011 - As 2011 draws to a conclusion, my review of the monumental Asemics 16 collaborative mail-art book project continues to focus on what I believe are many extraordinary contributions to Edition #5. 

Even before it arrived in my mailbox, I saw images of Rosa Gravino's chapter appearing on blogs internationally. Apparently I am not alone in admiring her accomplishment. Asemics 16 inspired many artists to combine visual poetry and asemic writing. Rosa Gravino's chapter is a tremendous example of a synthesis. The colors are a delight as well as the ingenious melding of asemics, shapes, and textures - into, dare I say, a kind of skywriting? Here is another two-page spread from Rosa Gravino's chapter:

Rosa sent a message explaining her approach. She wrote: "In [Asemics 16 - 5] I have explored the idea of signs that are accumulated forming a thick matter, condensations, clouds, the sky, a window, the space,  architectural structures .... [architecture] architext; it has been a tour, a flight, I have been a pilot..." Indeed, she has touched upon a central question that has preoccupied many poets and artists: Can we ever experience the world directly or is our experience always filtered through language and its structures?

Rosa took the organic approach, which I have discussed in earlier blogs. I respond to the freedom and fluidity it expresses; this also allows exploration of the "Asemic Syntax" theme of the volume. At some point, I intend to write about the relation I see in the automatic writing experiments of the surrealists and asemic writing. Rosa Gravino's work is an excellent example. I believe it is very worthwhile to take time and examine the associative train of word fragments and images that drive her cursive asemics in this chapter. Like many mail-artists, Rosa took great care with the packaging and included some interesting material:

Rosa Gravino has been a friend more than a year now. I treasure all the work I have received from her. From time to time, she will - as they say about baseball - hit one right out of the park. That's how I feel about her Asemics #5. Vispo in Latin America is popping. Rosa's blog is a good way to learn more:

Svenja Wahl deserves an asemic medal or something...

Transparency from Svenja Wahl's chapter for Asemics 16 - Edition #5 (Heidelberg, Germany)

We already established that some of the brave troopers who contributed multiple chapters to the Asemics 16 project did suffer a kind of combat fatigue toward the end. We will long take pride in and enjoy the results, but everything did get bigger and more complicated than anyone originally anticipated. Have I missed the blogs? Did anyone notice Svenja Wahl's AMAZING chapter in Edition #5? I discovered it myself just recently. I think this deserves documentation.

The sliced "SYNTAX" title is one of the most effective uses of this approach I have seen so far.

Correct any errors in my interpretation, please: Svenja invented literature for the "Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium for Asemic Studies." This is a wonderful concept that is beautifully executed. I am not completely sure this wasn't real. While the scan is far from adequate, I also draw your attention to the beautiful asemic script she invented. It appears to have been printed, although Svenja can be such an exacting artist I assume she wrote it herself. Here are more pages from the chapter:

Many IUOMA friends recognize Svenja Wahl as a brilliant collage artist, and she has an eye and talent for finding the most interesting material, which is reflected in her chapter. She uses images that establish a tone and advance a narrative, in this case providing an interesting counterpoint to the asemics. Asemics 16 produced an extraordinary amount of theoretical discussion. Svenja's chapter is reflection of the mind-boggling aspects of asemics if you beginning intellectualizing, or intellectualizing too much. Svenja included other great mail-art material along with her chapter, including her distinctive collage work on the envelopes. She leaves nothing to chance; things are assembled with great care, even the minimally decorated envelope that contained the chapter:

The reverse side of the envelope also has some great Svenja Wahl collage work:

Mail-art by IUOMA member Svenja Wahl (Heidelberg, Germany)

Beautiful juxtaposed image collage work that I believe is so characteristic of the masters working in Belgium and Germany. Changing the subject slightly: You will note that the man on the right has letters on his smock saying: "DK ger." I compelled to feel Svenja's hurt and anger. 

This is a reference to "D-Kougar" or "DK-dagger." I am soon to lodge yet another protest with Diane Keys (DK) and KDJ of the D-KULT for their effort to enroll Svenja, a respected artist, in a completely vulgar performance piece supposedly being staged to benefit animal rights.  In truth, and I have seen documentation, the D-KULT was seeking substantial corporate sponsorship for performance art that could not possibly be staged. In the process, unfortunately, Svenja's pristine reputation was sullied on the official DK blog: in my estimation, a snake pit of innuendo and degeneracy. Anyway, I have digressed seriously. Many, many thanks to Svenja for this wonderful contribution to the Asemics 16 project.

Theresa Williams invents metasemics?

Theresa Williams' chapter pages from Asemics 16 - Edition #5 (Bowling Green, Ohio, USA)

Theresa Williams' fascinating contribution to Edition #5 is a language-centered piece that combines text fragments, asemics, and handwriting into a collage that can be read from multiple perspectives.

Theresa interweaves many themes into the piece. What I find most resonant is a meditation on writing: in this case, the physical experience of writing. Self-reflective writing is an important part of postmodernism; however, I do not believe very much work focuses on physicality and materiality the way Theresa's does. For me, it's a remarkable accomplishment and a very interesting work. So here are the rest of the pages, scanned so you can see multiple page spreads:

Note the instructions at the top and also at the right about how to hold a pen. I think Theresa found a shorthand book - excellent material to use with asemic writing.

These little handwritten pieces are wonderful!

More of the shorthand material is included on these pages. You can also see examples of Theresa Williams' asemic writing. I deeply appreciate this wonderful chapter she did for Asemics 16! Theresa Williams has a great blog that focuses on correspondence:

As ever, many thanks to the artist who participated in Asemics 16.


In a minkubator, of course

Dr. Minkenstein

Pretend you are interested.

Typewriter keys

38, 92, 3, 78, 4

Ray wants to know who has the Spam Radio

Looks like mustard to me too.

Svenja Wahl


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Comment by Marie Wintzer on December 30, 2011 at 8:33pm
Ooops, comment clash :-)))
Comment by Marie Wintzer on December 30, 2011 at 8:31pm
I think it didn't come out right enough in my comment, but those pieces are fantastic. It's hard to start commenting on each individual chapter, so I'll just enjoy text and pictures
Comment by De Villo Sloan on December 30, 2011 at 8:29pm

Only in recent days have I had a chance to sit down with the work from Edition #5. I am just totally, completely impressed. In fact, I ended up spending hours with it. Theresa Williams' work deserves much more commentary; there'a a lot going on there, but the blog was turning into a book.

Skybridge - TY for approving the Skyjack of your excellent photo. I have been completely tickled with Thom's piece since I first saw it. Truly one of my favs for 2011.

CB, as I noted, people are posting Rosa's chapter on other mail-art blogs. It is, of course, even more fantastic in person.

And of course, kudos to Cheryl Penn for all she did with Asemics 16.

Comment by Marie Wintzer on December 30, 2011 at 8:20pm
Great blog! I haven't seen any of those pieces on any blog before. Excellent choice, a real pleasure.
Comment by De Villo Sloan on December 30, 2011 at 7:15pm

Hola Roberto, I am glad you like the new additions to our Asemics 16 Hall of Fame. I'll remind other friends your work made such a splash in Greatest Hits Vol. 1. And no one is just a "one hit wonder" among these artists.

Gosh, thanks Thom. You know, if I were able to pick IUOMA Greatest Hits for 2011, way, way at the top would be the mail-art you sent Skybridge. I just can't resist skyjacking knitted mail-art by Thom Courcelle courtesy of Skybridge Studios:

Comment by Thom Courcelle on December 30, 2011 at 6:17pm

Each of these works brilliant in their own right. but I would say there were four "artists" to admire... since you bring them all together and add an extra level of fun in your blog DVS.

Comment by PIRO on December 30, 2011 at 5:03pm

Three great MAIL ART LADIES!!!!!!!  Bravo, what an honor. 



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