WHAT IS A WRITING SYSTEM ?

“Clearer sees the one who is looking from elsewhere” says the Chinese proverb

Writing history sends us back signs that seem to endure in the course of ages. We can call them thinking forms, a means to organize ideas and deeds (actions) through material symbols, with their own elaboration time. Dynamic writing systems have flowed crosswise the word and many civilizations. The same symbol can be seen in pictorial renderings, in African masks, in cuneiform letters, in ideograms.

In a first overview, the elements collected here may appear like “landmarks standing out roads that have been deserted for a long time, wearing figures half-erased” (Aby Warburg) 1. But, if we think of writing systems as living structures, and culture as “encounter of human freedom with the place of her spreading out: the earth” (Eric Dardel) 2, these fragments could be written down in a more fundamental and general logic, related to the universality of the human condition.

1. Aby Warburg: 1866-1929, German art historian          2. Eric Dardel: 1899-1967, French geographer

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