RECEIVED: Asemic Readymade Poem from Richard Canard (Carbondale, Illusion [sic], USA)

 

Mail-art by IUOMA member Richard Canard (Champagne, Illinois, USA)

 

May 6, 2011 - Richard Canard sent me this asemic poem (above). I am SO glad to be the recipient of his mail-art. A response to him is forthcoming just as quickly as I can produce something I think is worthy. Mr. Canard is very active in the network and hardly needs an introduction by me.

 

In particular, I enjoy seeing examples of his correspondence posted here at the IUOMA and elsewhere. Last year, I saw some wonderful exchanges with Elaine the Librarian (aka Batgirl) from Albany, New York.

 

Mr. Canard certainly re-affirms for me that correspondence is indeed an art. I always enjoy notes and letters from mail-art friends. I never tire (but probably tire people out) reminding them Ray Johnson had a Correspondence School, which would suggest writing is indeed inherent in this art we practice. Speaking of Ray Johnson, Mr. Canard included a wonderful quote on the envelope in his elegant handwriting:

 


Now about this asemic poem: Mr. Canard seems to have a longstanding knowledge of the types of poetry some of us are exploring here at the IUOMA. When Bifidus Jones (Minnesota) started the Haptic Poetry Group, I did some research to try to learn what it was all about. Among other things, I found pieces by Mr. Canard using the term many years ago. No, none of this is especially new. 

 

However, I was most impressed last fall when Mr. Canard mailed visual poet Geof Huth (NY) an aluminum can that had been flattened by a car or truck tire. This was identified as either a readymade asemic or haptic poem. Geof posted it on his excellent blog, and it sparked a discussion in locations across the net. I thought Mr. Canard's mail-art was both humorous and thought-provoking; I admire Geof for not backing away from either prank or thorny theoretical issue.

 

I'm going to try to use the term "readymade" more often. I believe it might be a more appropriate substitute for "found." As I have noted before, using the term "found" is akin to stepping in quicksand. 

 

So, as the recipient, do I accept a photocopy of the Rosetta Stone as an asemic poem without protest or qualification? Yes. Without hesitation. I've seen far worse. I think he went easy on me, as they say. Many thanks, Richard.

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Comment by De Villo Sloan on May 9, 2011 at 6:13pm
Erni, what an amazing resource you are for so many of us! Duchamp's Readymades. Mr. Canard is sharp indeed. I knew he was. Readymade will now be part of my vocabulary. Thank you, as ever.
Comment by De Villo Sloan on May 9, 2011 at 5:30am
And Erni. have you heard the term "readymade" before? Richard Canard is the only person I know of who uses it.
Comment by De Villo Sloan on May 9, 2011 at 5:29am

You are the Haptic Werewolf now - I like it. I certainly defer to you on points concerning things found. For one, we deal here in cyberspace with scans of things found. I suppose there's a difference between the Lingo can I have here and can touch compared to the pics we find at the IUOMA. And, I think I understand, we're dealing with a representation of the Rosetta Stone. Is that what you meant? Yes, "double extended readymade" seems more precise. 

 

I first saw the Great Midwestern Correspondunce School when Grigori sent us the catalogs from the Genet Show. He is a big Ray Johnson fan. Certainly that's where the idea came from.

Comment by De Villo Sloan on May 9, 2011 at 3:45am
CB, you are raising such interesting points these days... we're literally going to have to take this somewhere else. I think I understand and might modify to comprehensible - incomprehensible - comprehensible. Incomprehensibility might be a term as important as indeterminacy. I know indeterminate is used in archaeology and math and other fields as well. There is much art that is incomprehensible; I'm not joking here. It should be acknowledged as such.
Comment by Marie Wintzer on May 8, 2011 at 6:55am
I was thinking of the flow from Comprehensible -------> to Incomprehensible. What's happening in the middle? For how long?
Comment by De Villo Sloan on May 8, 2011 at 3:26am
Definitely, Marie. Those discussions, I remember, raised some good ideas. Cheryl has always been a big proponent of going back in history and prehistory for asemic writing. The Rosetta Stone is good because it represents a meeting place of different languages, symbols that were incomprehensible and became comprehensible (your excellent point), different kinds of syntax... issues that relate to this area. And, you know, is it haptic too?
Comment by Marie Wintzer on May 8, 2011 at 1:23am

Readymade :-) I like it.

Brings us back to the discussion (don't remember when but we once talked about this) of how something that looks asemic to someone might be a completely understandable text for someone else (maybe ages ago).

Comment by De Villo Sloan on May 8, 2011 at 12:37am
Champollion "cracked" the Rosetta stone in the 18th century? I wonder how memory serves me. I'm glad Richard Canard's piece is accepted warmly. We've discussed petroglyphs and ancient texts as part of an asemic canon, and this is a good one.
Comment by Katerina Nikoltsou (MomKat) on May 7, 2011 at 3:30pm

Looks like asemic writing to me...I concur, too.

"Illustration depicting two columns of demotic text and their Greek equivalent, as devised by Johan David Åkerblad in 1802"

Comment by De Villo Sloan on May 7, 2011 at 3:25pm
Cheryl, I'm glad you concur. I know you are familiar with the incident where Mr. Canard mailed the flattened can to Geof. So I was cautious. But I thought the Rosetta stone was a fairly brilliant choice - for the reasons you so aptly stated. How are those clay tablets coming, btw?

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