Abstract Language

Abstract writing

Almost every tongue has its own notation. Among other things, people invented writing to record information (oral tradition was not lasting and it was threatened with considerable misshaping of the information conveyed). Writing is also useful for different reason: one can get acquainted with an idea formed by some person without the necessity of meeting them.
It is enough to read the information received from that person. Therefore one can say that writing is the carrier of language.

About the language (in general)
If two people use different languages and each of them speaks a language not known to the other then there is no communication. So as to be able to coexist and develop people live in groups in which they communicate using the same language.
Let’s assume one day somebody stops communicating by the language familiar to the group. Then this person would have to exist as a quite different being; a stranger to the group. Communication with such a person would be impossible. Such a situation takes place when a foreigner appears in a group of people who don’t know his/her language and he/she starts talking to that group. How do these people feel then? How will they react if the foreigner shows them a newspaper from his/her country? The people will have the impression of having contact with the writing of an abstract language.
So as to give a picture of the lack of communication in the situation described above let’s create an alphabet and a language that nobody knows but which reminds of a well known phonetic writing. Let’s create alphabet signs which bring to mind letters of Greek alphabet (which is the source of writing systems for European languages). Then the phenomenon of distinction will be less noticeable. The point is to make known unknown.
When we have the alphabet we can create several materials whose regular aim is to convey information. Let’s take a newspaper, a brochure, a poster, a film, a comic, an information board, a packaging, a document etc.
All these products would be able to meet their purpose if they contained texts that are understandable for the reader. But if they are put into a language which is not understandable they only wear a form of what we commune with every day.

Brochure ‘Gallery E’ – 1992

Products of the culture
The abstract language has been transferred into some popular products of mass culture (newspapers, folders, packages, posters etc.). Thanks to it the language “melted” with the surrounding and pretended products which are familiar but “coming” from another country. The purpose to make contact with unknown yet familiar has been met. People haven’t realized that.


All these works and many more have been created without any use of a computer 1991 – 1995.

One of many appearances of mass culture are the comics. The main characters – the heroes -were invented to meet the needs and tastes of customers, especially the young ones. My reaction to it was creating quasi-comics. I made my own stories out of ready-made cartoons, in which I rendered the adventures of popular heroes disregarding the obligatory canons.

I transformed the writing into a system of signs which enabled putting them down on clay tablets with a wooden stick. I wrote down whole sentences on clay, chamotte or sand tablets. I also used blocks in the shape of a cylinder, cube or pyramid as the carrier of my writing. Sometimes I would take the tablets filled with writing and arranged them in signs again. Then I stuck them on a wall or canvas, or put them on the ground.

Applications of the letters (signs):
1. As described above, that is, units of abstract signs which associate with an unknown writing;
2. As a method of encrypting words, sentences or information (if the audience knows their meaning);
3. Combining the two above.


Ephemeral writing
Ephemeral writing was a kind of action which involved “writings” in the open air. That was kind of improvising without audience, and without documenting these actions. It was also “Writing with Light” which sometimes would be recorded on a film. Later on, in order to eliminate any possible documentation, it was replaced with “Writing on the Air”, “Writing on the Water”, “Writing on Earth I” (leaving the text where it had been written), and “Writing on Earth II” (and erasing the text). These were occasional events where the process of writing was more important than the text itself.
Afterwards I noticed that it was a quintessence of all the previous actions. As the text is incomprehensible to the audience, and it exists only for itself, then it is possible to completely exclude the audience (who are not capable of reading the message anyway). If the original idea of writing – the communication – has been denied, it means that the message is unnecessary. The most important is the process of creating the text. Excluding the audience may cause the writer to stop using the code while putting down the text.

“The abstract language” has denied the original idea and the function of language reception in semiotic and communicative aspects. Thus, it has contributed to eliminate the audience from the process of creating a message.