A note about “Works and interviews” by Michael Jacobson

Works and interviews by Michael Jacobson is a collection of both asemic scripts (The Giant’s Fence, Action Figures, A Headhunter’s Tale), interviews and other textual installations (THAT: A Planet, The Paranoia Machine, MK JCBSN).
The first three sections challenge the reader to enter a net of finely entangled patterns and explore the residual signs of plots, which the paranoid characters, once inhabiting there, left deliberately behind.
Page after page, a carousel of abandoned or accidental symbols, of dreams cropped from a broader vision is delivered to the brain, which is supposed to edit and reassemble them into full narrative frameworks. Readers turn into spies collecting evidences of the impenetrable shelter of meaning. They may even find themselves connected to peripheral cameras, recording the relentless brain activities on the verge of dreaming.
Under a different perspective, the storytelling approach of this book convincingly relies on a cornerstone of asemic practice: however paradoxical it may seem, the intrinsic coherence of asemicism generates meaningfulness while stimulating the aptitude of readers to scan symbols in a meaningful way.
Asemic works act as blank tapes, simultaneously activated, recorded and erased again while watched. Each reader is, as such, an accomplice of the writer and possibly its desired alter ego.
A mirror is not an image in itself, but it has the property of imaging, likewise each asemic text does not exhibit a meaning of its own, but it is some sort of filter, capable of simulating and stimulating meaningfulness, engaging the reader into this unprecedented task.

Federico Federici

More about the book on Post-Asemic Press and on Michael Jacobson.


Artist talk: My experience with asemic writing – Berlin, July 14, 2018

Materials available online: Asemic Force Microscope ||| Caged Alphabets ||| Asemic Plot n.1 ||| Asemic Dissemination – I ||| Artist talk on the occasion of the Asemic Exhibition curated by Michael Jacobson at Centro Cultural Casa Baltazar (February 15th – March 5th 2016, Cordoba, Mexico). ||| Portfolios ||| Samples and discussions


Asemic texts appeared often here and there over the course of the 20th century. Then, at the very beginning of the 21st, it seemed that a consistent part of artists/writers, all over the world, started focusing on it. It isn’t the occasional appearance of asemics in a wider context of art, but it seems now a specific practice or current. Do you agree?
I do agree with you. Despite asemic writing is still part of a wider context of text-based art (concrete poetry, vispo and so forth), it has developed its own peculiarity because of its sprouting at the crossroads of consciousness and unconsciousness. If you think of more or less recent experiences involving supervised or unsupervised algorithms to improve machine learning performance, asemic practices seem to insist on the subtle capability of human brain to intercept seemingly familiar symbols, text-segments, scribbles and reinterpret them into new original contents. In my opinion, this may be a contemporary approach to most topics appeared here and there over the course of the last century.


Do you think that in the foreseeable future the level of reflection on the existence of asemic writing will increase significantly? On what do you base your answer?
It will, as you have properly pointed out. The proof of this may lie in the increasing number of both electronic and traditional publications dedicated to asemicism. The gap between visual experience and reading experience, in both the real and the virtual world, needs to be conceptually reframed and filled.


What general themes or topics runs through your portfolio and why have you chosen to address these themes or topics in your asemic art?
All series fall within one general issue: language as a boundary zone; even more specifically, language as a habit of reality. Different themes are sort of pretexts to investigate it. As of now, I have been working with SJ Fowler on a liner note sketchbook for Charles Mingus’ Pithecanthropus Erectus jazz suite.


How different is the process of creating asemic writing to the creation of traditional writing or art?
The main difference lies in the fact that you have to be meaningful, while dropping conventional signs. In some respect, it’s like writing a sheet music for people who do not know how to play it, in such a way that they can experience some musical feeling. Continue reading “Artist talk: My experience with asemic writing – Berlin, July 14, 2018”