The images above were scanned from Johanna Drucker’s 1997 essay, “The Art of the Written Image”, as reprinted in “Figuring the Word: Essays on Books, Writing, and Visual Poetics” (Granary Press, 1998).
The essay begins, “In every era of human history artists, poets, professional and amateur scribes have been sensitive to the visual properties of written forms. Consequently there is no shortage of material evidence supporting the idea that writing is a visual medium. Maximizing the potential of such qualities as color, composition, design, and style, writing embodies language in an unlimited variety of distinctive forms. …writing’s visual forms possess an irresolvably dual identity in their material existence as images and their function as elements of language. Because of this fundamental dualism, writing is charged with binary qualities. It manifests itself with the phenomenal presence of the imago yet performs the signifying operations of the logos. It is an act of individual expression and an instance of that most rule-bound and social of human systems - language.”