Kana shodo (translating as ‘woman’s hand’) is a Japanese script parallel to 女書 nvshu but native to Japan. In contrast to kanji shodo (漢字書道), which was used by men from the ruling classes for use in official letters and to read Buddhist sutras, kana shodo was used by both genders to write everything from assassination commands and love letters to poetry and diary entries. In other words, that which could be used to subvert the official, or to describe the realm of the personal. While it was used to write The Tale of Genji (源氏物語 Genji monogatari), often called the world’s first novel, and even The Pillow Book (枕草子, Makura no Sōshi), only 46 of the more than 300 kana characters were kept in modern written Japanese.
While ‘the beauty of inefficiency‘, as described by master kana shodo calligrapher Akagawa Kaoru represents the elite time of a privileged class able to invest in culture and literature, let us consider and appreciate the newly enforced time of ‘the great deceleration‘ now as a similar moment for ‘creative introspection’. But it is also one completely contingent upon the counter character of the ‘mobile/disposable subject’ embodied by the couriers and labourers who still serve the needs of those of us privileged ‘domesticated/connected subjects’ able to work from home. This inherent contradiction is an inherent part of contemporary, networked capitalism, and to bring both together in the subject of the slow courier is perhaps an attempt to intervene the time-money-geography infrastructures of logistics with the unimportant, rambling observations of the inefficient and unforeseen. Is it possible to say this parasitical use (by the chance opportunities of the networks that some of us move within) of the privileged and mobile worlds of art and culture wants to trace new, decelerated lines between material and knowledge production?