a note on asemic reading

as some might have noticed i have recently engaged in what i would call an asemic reading of Les Fleur du Mal by Charles Baudelaire

The theory of asemic reading as i see it is very simple. I use the term ‘asemic’ as in denoting that such a reading does not look for the ‘meaning’ of any given text but instead tries to capture and render its lyrical flow into equally asemic writing, a writing that is merely gestural and only very temporarily establishes its own ‘generic’ way of encoding.

Asemic reading or Gignographics is a writing program that takes a written text (or a musical score or any creative encoding of any sort that can be read) reads it and writes it out in gestural handwriting. Reading and writing converge in the activity as the program runs because the reading generates its own encoding practice, its own writing. Both reading and writing can be done in an algoritmic fashion by humans or machines, so the author of asemic reading can be anyone or anything. As such this practice or research method neatly fits in  the concept of interactive computing as you may find expressed in this article by Anil Bawa-Cavia 

When the asemic reading program is running on humans it produces very refined pleasure in the human what by some has been described as lyrical joy. 

The understanding and satisfaction gained from asemically reading intricate works of literature like Les Fleurs du Mal is nothing short of magical. Given sufficient practice, it’s like having the lyrical flow running through your veins, as if you are becoming Baudelaire or any other poet whose works you read/write asemically. There is an intense joy in releasing the lyrical movement imprisoned within the words for so long and feeling it run through your gestures. At times the experience beats having sex (but then at other times it sure doesn’t, hihi).

Since anyone can do this, combined with other experiments that try to generate lyrical movements through asemic writing i feel like we’re about to realize the old dream of Joseph Beuys to enable everyone to be an author, which i feel is a pretty cool way to honor the dead buggar (er i mean the author, not Beuys he was a rather nice guy i think)

I got these ideas from reading Jim Leftwich‘rascible & kempt’ books BTW – i dearly recommend that excellent writing to anyone – and i will be trying to turn the practice into something useful as a therapy for folks having to cope with mental problems in this crazy world, but then i still need some practice before being able to be teaching it to others. 

In the meantime i think there’s million ways to develop this further into a very popular and civilizing activity, so try it out and get carried away!

dv 2018 – asemic reading of Élévation of Les Fleurs du Mal by Charles Baudelaire

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