Serenades is a chapbook by Rosaire Appel. In Serenades, Appel is exploring how songs and ambient sound mix with each other.
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Our languages are what connect us. Abstract visual language is the territory I am exploring.
I used to write, then I drew writing. I bridged the gap between verbal writing and its non-verbal calligraphic counterparts through asemic writing. Asemic writing is a kind of mark making that looks like writing but has no semantic value. It is ancient as well as contemporary. (See Peter Schwenger’s scholarly study “Asemic The Art of Writing” (2019). Asemic writing enabled me to explore architectural structures of language without adding furniture. I drew abstract sentences and paragraphs, poems as well as entire stories. I also drew abstract comics and graphic novellas. I have created numerous visual books from this work, both one-of-a-kind and commercially printed.
Expanding my exploration of mark-making languages led me to sound. Sound’s written language, music, consists of staves and notes. But what of sound that’s outside of music, the ambient sound that is always present everywhere. Since sound is invisible, it is wide open to visual representation. Some of my drawings delve into interior regions of a sound, others explore duration and pattern, intervals and vibrations. I invent rather than transcribe. I have sometimes used the term asemic music to categorize this work.
I live in New York which, like any urban center, has a rich acoustic environment. Though the presence of concrete and steel is stable and unchanging, no two seconds are ever audibly the same.
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32 pages, black/white. 152 x 228. Saddle-stich bound. Edition of 60 copies. Published by Non Plus Ultra, 2021.