Magma Ocean, Young Moon Project

In the spring of 2022 Dunlin Press very quietly, almost secretly, released a small pamphlet A Study of a Long-Lived Magma Ocean on A Young Moon.

The 36-page pamphlet was a collaboration with Dunlin Press founders poet MW Bewick and artist Ella Johnston. The book takes the form of a long-form poem by Bewick and features asemic poetry pieces by Johnston. 

The first editions of fifty books are individually numbered and come with a signed artist postcard.

Asemic writing 

Asemic writing is a wordless open semantic form of writing. It takes the strokes and visual language of writing to create “written pieces”.  Johnston uses a column to  reflect the visual  language of poetry. The word asemic means “having no specific semantic content”, or “without the smallest unit of meaning”. 

As Johnston states, “This absence of meaning and definition allows the reader to interpret the piece. It ‘seeks to make the reader hover in a state between reading and looking’. I use coloured blocks with my asemic pieces as interruptions within the “text” perhaps in an attempt to add some meaning.”

Installation and sound track

It was the title of a scientific paper by Maxime Maurice that inspired the collaboration. Found by accident by Johnston, she believed that the subject of “A Study of a Long-Lived Magma Ocean on A Young Moon” was poetic in itself. The pair essentially took the concept as the seed to create a project that encompassed a book, an art installation and musical soundtrack. 

For the installation Johnston took the asemic poetry pieces she created for the book and made them into scrolls.

These large pieces were also influenced by modernist stained glass window designs and ancient religious texts. She also created some ceramic relics placed around the Dunlin Press gallery space at Johnston’s studio. 

MW Bewick created a soundtrack, available on Band Camp to accompany the piece. The soundtrack also features selected poems from the book read by Bewick. 

You can buy the book at the Dunlin Press shop, you can download MW Bewick’s Young Moon soundtrack at the Dunlin Press Band Camp page.

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