The Runes of Time

Erik ReeL, 1264, acrylic on archival paper

Since 2009 I have created a considerable body of work dealing with mark making. The fossil record tells us that hominid mark making seems to be wrapped up with something that separates us from what came before; something that lies very deep and early within our cognitive history.

Long before written language is invented, marking a surface, or marking by aligning stones, etc., at the very least signifies a presence, that someone is, or has been, here. Or has a claim to this artifact, cave, place, or territory.

Erik ReeL, 1256, acrylic on linen

Runes, hobo and rail signs–a host of systems of visual signs other than an explicit representation of a spoken language– have evolved, all using a basic, deeper, repertoire of human mark-making. Only relatively recently have these forms evolved into explicit notation systems for language, then later for music, dance, or mathematics [medieval mathematics, for example, was primarily recorded  discursively, not in the intensely abbreviated symbolic shorthands typical of modern mathematics].

But these marks all draw from the same basic repertoire of marks, many of which existed for thousands of years before being adopted to a specific notation. A repertoire that appears near universal.

to be continued.

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