|Untitled (for Natalie and Jeremy), by Derek Beaulieu|
Look at the image above. This is poetry at its visual best.
There isn’t any coherent string of alphabets. This absence of meaningful words is startling and it reminds us of the physical forms and aesthetics of alphabets – the swish of a ‘S’, the surprised expression an ‘O’ has, even the criss-cross of a ‘T’. Each alphabet acquires a depth and character depending on its font type, size and angle of rotation. The identity of each letter is influenced by its neighbours as well.
This visual composition takes the open form of poetry to the extreme by doing away with lines and stanzas completely. It heralds a new age where function is absolutely form.
Like poetry, the following chemical equations contain alphabets on a surface. They are unique experiments (er hem) on how writings can occupy space. Observe the cyclic nature of the first equation, the flow of particles, how they enter and exit, how they obey universal laws. The precision of architectural lines in the benzene rings, alongside the calming flow of arrows. Hydrogen, oxygen, carbon – none of them are living BUT they form living things. They hint not only at the philosophy of science, but also at that of existence. Ultimately, we are collections of atoms that had come together and will be breaking apart. Perhaps the elliptical motions of electrons would guide us, just like how stars once guided shepherds.