Nearlyologists believe that language can only nearly approximate what we think and feel. Sometimes it’s better to Nearlywrite using asemic writing, an open semantic form of writing. According to Wikipedia, “the word asemic means “having no specific semantic content”, or “without the smallest unit of meaning”. With the non-specificity of asemic writing there comes a vacuum of meaning, which is left for the reader to fill in and interpret.”
Thinking of the world as a page, I look to see what has been written on its surface by people, nature and accident. I make my own markings to express myself and wonder how to translate these into language, music or movement.
Here are some entries. Find the latest ones on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/chrisifso/
Our friend’s nine year old daughter, S, found my studio and brought down a sheet of A4 at the top of which she’d written ‘I am doing very important work’ and filled the rest of the page with wavy black lines. This non-text seemed to sum up all the hours I’ve spent at that desk, self-importantly putting words onto screens and sheets of paper.
Inspired by S, I’ve found it hugely liberating to cover paper with marks that weren’t actually words. This Asemic Nearlywriting can be composed with all kinds of materials and surfaces, and translated afresh by each reader/viewer.
For my PhD, Nearlywriting Nearlyology, I developed a transmedia literary practice freely mixing text, music and public encounter to compose a story and explore my theme of how the things we do form part of who we really are. The resulting work What Didn’t Quite consists of a novel (currently unpublished), contextual research, a collection of songs and a workshop/performance. Now I’m working with musical improvisation, movement and these Asemic diary entries to develop a new transmedia piece likely to have something to do with percussion and utopianism.
I’m glad to be free of academe but miss the reassuring occupation of ‘doing a PhD’ which included plenty of pottering, doodling and skiving but still counted as Very Important Work. Putting these diary entries on social media has also renewed my faith in its creative potential, giving me just enough of a community to concentrate the mind on making new entries without worrying too much about why.