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André Gasch

E-Mail:gasch [at] schriftbildlichkeit.de


Ph.D. Project

“Writing to Be Seen. Graffiti Writing As a Paradigmatic Case of the Phenomenon of Notational Iconicity”



This project explores the philosophical depth contained in the palpable correlation between writing, image and notational iconicity in graffiti writing. Furthermore, it inquires into the theoretical feedback that allows further work on the concept of notational iconicity itself.

 Based on the developments of graffiti writing since its narratological origin at the end of the 1960s in New York, the paper initially puts forth a standardization of the possibilities of script and image exceeding the scope of design delivered by typography and calligraphy. Subsequently, these insights will be placed in the context of philosophy of writing and notational iconicity in order to examine their conceptual foundations for gaps and eventually find a way to bridge those that are found. Departures from an intuitive concept of writing arise as graffiti is addressed to an unspecified public, initiating an unexpected visualization of „new“ surfaces in the cityscape. Both the low priority of readability in graffiti writing and the difficult status of possible reference raise further questions, which cannot be answered without a modification of the toolset of notational iconicity.

 In this way graffiti-writing serves as a form of paradigmatic pharmakon – medicine and poison combined in a single term – for the philosophy of writing, sharpening our vision for versatile visual elements inherent not only in graffiti but in any form of writing.



Curriculum Vitae

Since 10/2011

Doctoral Fellow at the DFG Research Training Group 1458 Notational Iconicity’: On the materiality, perceptibility and operativity of writing”, Freie Universität Berlin


Magister degree with a thesis on “’Vergessen, Versprechen, Vergehen. Symbolic and diabolic functions of mediality in Elfriede Jelineks Rechnitz (Der Würgeengel) and Die Kontrakte des Kaufmanns


Student research assistent in literary studies, Universität Duisburg-Essen


Internship at Duisburger Institut für Sprach- und Sozialforschung


Studies of philosophy and German philology at Universität Duisburg-Essen




Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft