Michael Jacobson


Interview with Marco Giovenale

1: You are a prolific writer of asemic works. What are some of the influences that have nurtured your asemic writing?

First of all I can mention Emilio Villa’s (not asemic) sibyls. But, still focusing on the Italian scene, I must notice that –with the exception of Gillo Dorfles as a critic, and Martino Oberto, Vincenzo Accame and a few others as writers/artists– the visual and concrete poetry fields have always received more space and attention than the specific asemic writing line. By the way, if we can say that the “scene” –for art and for making “objects of sense”– has never been restricted to national borders, we will also add that especially today –thanks to the web– the asemic works one can find and appreciate come from all over the world (in even too much large quantity). And personally I can say that many people making asemic today are of great inspiration to me. To refer only to a couple of names, I think of the works of Rosaire Appel, or Miron Tee, but the truth is that I should mention dozens of asemic writers I highly appreciate. (I already listed some @ http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/maintenant-65-marco-giovenale).

2: I know that you abandoned painting to take up drawriting. Was this a gradual evolution or did you have an epiphany?

I think I’m kind of strange hybrid entity living now in the middle of three intersected areas: writing, drawing, photograph. So this maybe explains why I sometimes drawrite and arrange different pieces together –coming from all of the three areas– in order to take a picture of them as a whole. (The result being different from the single pieces making it). Photos “of” asemic writings are something born as material tangible stuff –immediately thrown to the realm of the digital possibilities… so that sometimes the very idea of an “original” of the piece is out of sight. That said, I can explain what I’ve been doing in the last fifteen years –I quit painting in 1996/7– by saying that I’ve been always drawing, and that drawing or writing definitely met photography in 2004/6 (see photos here, and images+texts starting from here). At the same time, more or less, I was drawriting asemic sibyls. So that all the practices (linear texts, asemic writing, drawing, making photos) started to mix and infuence one another. I can say this has been a gradual evolution, even if I’m not able to piece together the single steps. I also think that the final results of the practice(s) are more interesting (if they are interesting at all) than my reconstruction of their birth and process/development.

3: What is your view of the global asemic writing scene?

In my opinion, that global scene is growing more and more. And the people working –from every country– are incredibly skilled and make absolutely worthy pieces. Many writers work on a pure calligraphic path, others use images and collages too, other ones tend to make installations and don’t work with paper only (see M. Tee, or Bruno Neiva). Other ones, like you, Michael, work with gifs and videos too. Tim Gaze choose to work mostly with black ink on white paper; while others’ asemic experiments also deal with colours (see R. Appel). Appel has a sharp sensibility for certain kinds of colours, which are –in my opinion– just a sort of “sign” of her stunning art. All of this shows the many differences (and the thousand not mentioned here) in asemic practices. The situation is evolving and mapping it (as I said in other occasions) is impossible. Maybe one has to just live & work (and leave the words about living and working…)
Anyway. Perhaps it may be said that one’s hope (and my one, for sure) is that the flourishing of the asemic writing as a widespread activity won’t meet harsh categorizing cages (often leading to boring instructions about creative practices), nor the maddest interests of the corrupted market of “official” art; and I also hope that it will always be possible for people to exchange works, freely offer them or send them to (giant and tiny) exhibitions, or just barter & swap cards and sheets and asemic snailmails. So my wish is –on the one hand– that we will see collectors and institutions buy pieces from the writers, but also –on the other– that writers will go on sending their works for free to public spaces, open projects, nonprofit artshows, collab festivals, zines, museums’ activities, and so on. It seems to me that now there’s not so much interest, on the part of most of the galleries, for asemic writing; but I hope this will change. In the meanwhile, let’s work.
(And let’s see in asemic writing also an opportunity for a kind of powerless language and anti-spectacular signs to develop, to ban borders among arts, to simply make people meet and talk each other, through sites and blogs, yes, but –desirably– in person too).

4: Do you think there is something to be said about the speed of which an asemic artist can complete an asemic work?

I absolutely don’t know. Speaking for myself, I must say there are pieces which are born in minutes or seconds, and pieces costing me a lot of time and ink. The biggest asemic sibyl I ever made was drawritten during four nights of absolutely mad work. It’s the asemic account of a poetic reading in Lyon, and much much more. The size is cm100x70. Fortunately I could sell it! A sad fortune though. I was fond of that mad …screed.
I love to work on giant paper sheets, but I seldom can count on the quantity of hours needed to complete works like that. I must also add that sometimes even big pieces with almost invisible/indiscernible traces of ink need hours and days to be accomplished. This is why I try to work quickly, or a bit quicker than the past, recently. (But not always).

5: Are you going to compile your asemic writing into a book someday soon? I'd like a copy!

Thanks Michael. You’re too kind. I hope I will. My problem now is time time time. But I think something will be published next year in Italy. I can’t tell right now.

6: You have made some great asemic short films. What direction do you for see asemic writing going in the future?

Thanks for your appreciation. I presume that anything could happen. Asemic works could migrate toward (and take advantage of) several new editing tools for images, several newborn devices, and –at the same time– they can also partially stick to the traditional means and rites of draw(rit)ing. We cannot foretell. Some kind of dialogue between pen&paper and digital tools seems almost unavoidabile.


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