A Thesis Emerges

I think I’ve got my thesis for this project! This is a drawing project. Time and testimony will also play a part. Hear me out…

If one’s signature is an embellished version of one’s name, is writing a form or drawing? When we sign something aren’t we drawing out signature as opposed to writing our name?

In its purest form, writing is a medium of communication that represents language through the inscription of signs and symbols.

Drawing is one of the oldest forms of human expression. It is believed that drawing was used as a specialized form of communication before the invention of the written word.

drawing words

If drawing was writing at one time, is what we have come to know as writing still drawing?  This has become the kernel of a thesis for this project.

In his essay All Writing is Drawing: The Spatial Development of the Manuscript, Serge Tisseron, a French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, argues that….

“An author’s manuscripts are recognized the same way writing is recognized, that is, through its stylistic hallmarks: stricken words, scholia written in the margins, scribblings, and quick memos like “must get milk.” Such annotations, which are in many ways similar to those studding the early draft of a comic strip, have done much to disabuse us of the illusion of a text immediately cast in its final material form.

If we admit that the writing process is not only the transposition of a text which existed originally in the writer’s mind, then the role of the inscriptive gesture in the writing process has been generally and markedly underestimated, particularly by linguistics and semiology.

The genesis of the text, as of any written mark (particularly that of drawing), must be considered from the viewpoint of the original spatial play which the hand stages. Neither the paradigm of the eye not that of language allows us to grasp the meaning of ‘first draft” dynamics – the moment when its enunciation is born in distinction from what it enunciates. The paradigm of the hand, however, achieves such an understanding. Originally what is at stake in the hand is the very nature of the psychic investments, which are bound up in it.

The hand’s drawing gesture is an essential movement by which thought learns how to think itself through.

The creator is the one who agrees to venture forth with no certainty and follow this thread unwinding ahead of him like Ariadne’s thread, and falling behind him like a spider’s web. The anxiety of the blank page may just be the anxiety that there is no thread to pull or follow, the apprehension of being left behind, with no link to anyone or without even the first half of the thread.

From this perspective, the act of creating a manuscript—with all its scribbling, its crossed-out words, and sometimes its memos—has the same function for the writer as I does for the cartoonist. Such work is the means whereby the creator tries to escape the fate of inexorable distance opened by the tracing gesture and simultaneously opened and closed by the trace.

The fact that writing and drawing follow the same creative logic at the time of tracing is a matter beyond doubt. The inscriptive processes are always of a sensory, emotional and motional sort.

The hand reaches out to take hold of space and of the world.

The inscriptive process is, above all, the hand exploring a given space and organizing it according to its own possibilities.”

Thanks, Serge! I’m in! Now, I need to write YOU a letter!




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