Codex Seraphinianus

codex seraphinianus

codex seraphinianus

The Codex Seraphinianus is a book written and illustrated by the Italian artist, architect and industrial designer Luigi Serafini during thirty months, from 1976 to 1978. The book is a visual encyclopedia of an unknown world, written in one of its languages, a thus-far undeciphered alphabetic writing. The Codex is divided into eleven chapters, partitioned into two sections. The first section appears to describe the natural world, dealing with flora, fauna, and physics. The second deals with the humanities, the various aspects of human life: clothing, history, cuisine, architecture and so on. The illustrations are often surreal parodies of things in our world: bleeding fruit; a plant that grows into roughly the shape of a chair and is subsequently made into one; a lovemaking couple that metamorphoses into an alligator; etc.

The language of the codex has defied complete analysis by linguists for decades. The number system used for numbering the pages, however, has been discovered to be a variation of base 21. In a talk at the Oxford University Society of Bibliophiles held in 2009, Serafini stated that the script of the Codex is asemic, that his own experience in writing it was closely similar to automatic writing, and that what he wanted his alphabet to convey to the ‘reader’ is the sensation that children feel in front of books they cannot yet understand, although they see that their writing does make sense for grown-ups.

Tags:

2 Trackbacks to “Codex Seraphinianus”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.