When Tammy Lu and I first began to discuss the possibility of collaboration, we were both struck by the interests we shared: the relationship of place (physical, emotional or psychological) to creative content and emergence, the intersection of art/poetry/science, cosmology and cosmogony, and the biosemiotic tango of all living things in and within the dynamic flux of changing environments. Commonalities continue to emerge.
As an eco-science poet who has tumbled, quite gleefully, into the field of biosemiotics the questions that compel me are: What is the nature of poetic and/or creative emergence? What is the zygote and epigenisis of a poem or work of art? How does the poet read and interact with her environment, or semiosphere, in order to translate emotions, memories, sounds, smells, disconnected images, into the phonemes, syllables, words, lines and stanzas of a poems that resonates with the reader/listener. By what mechanisms does a poem or artwork evoke emotional or physiological response? Both Tammy and I believe in the concepts behind biosemiotics. Of course molecules, organisms and animals (human and non-human) communicate in and with the environment. We hear them. We are constantly on the lookout for signs.
The genesis of art, poetry and biological process involves multiple pathways and signals—which involves both an element of chance and of choice. And, in in the case of this collaboration, a psychic/philosophic twinning and echoing. Synchronicity. Not surprisingly, I am currently working on a series of “Echologues,” poems that echo other poems, using ancient Greek lexicons. And a series of poems influenced by alchemical images and texts, creation myths and Jungian psychology. The poem that Tammy has used to generate the images for this proposal is the first in a recent series of “Feral Verses”—immediate, non-meditated, epigenetic responses to the post-dream, pre-conscious semiosphere. As a “unified collaboration of text and design” our methodology is a simultaneous relinquishing of control and a joint participation in the shaping of content and final outcome, where the visual content of Tammy’s typographical cosmology is indeed “inextricable from the text itself.”
The landscapes and semiospheres of our call-response, echo-chant, poetic and artistic dance will be both process and artefact—a visceral-psychic, cerebral layering and interplay open to multiple readings, interpretations, and ways of interacting with art and text. The physical unfolding of the book by the reader/viewer in turn echoes the unfolding of a mapped landscape, and a metaphorical unfolding of a tactile, physical, dynamic universe.