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Asemic writing is a wordless open semantic form of writing. The word asemic means "having no specific semantic content".[1] With the nonspecificity of asemic writing there comes a vacuum of meaning which is left for the reader to fill in and interpret. All of this is similar to the way one would deduce meaning from an abstract work of art. The open nature of asemic works allows for meaning to occur trans-linguistically; an asemic text may be "read" in a similar fashion regardless of the reader's natural language. Multiple meanings for the same symbolism are another possibility for an asemic work.

Some asemic writing includes pictograms or ideograms, the meanings of which are sometimes, but not always, suggested by their shapes. Asemic writing, at times, exists as a conception or shadow of conventional writing practices. Reflecting writing, but not completely existing as a traditional writing system, asemic writing seeks to make the reader hover in a state between reading and looking.

Asemic writing has no verbal sense, though it may have clear textual sense. Through its formatting and structure, asemic writing may suggest a type of document and, thereby, suggest a meaning. The form of art is still writing, often calligraphic in form, and either depends on a reader's sense and knowledge of writing systems for it to make sense, or can be understood through aesthetic intuition.

Asemic writing can also be seen as a relative perception, whereby unknown languages and forgotten scripts provide templates and platforms for new modes of expression.

Influences on asemic writing are illegible, invented, or primal scripts (cave paintings, doodles, children's drawings, etc.). But instead of being thought of as mimicry of preliterate expression, asemic writing may be considered to be a postliterate style of writing that uses all forms of creativity for inspiration. Other influences on asemic writing are xenolinguistics, artistic languages, sigils (magic), undeciphered scripts, & graffiti.

Asemic writing occurs in avant-garde literature and art with strong roots in the earliest forms of writing. An illustrious modern example of asemic writing is the Codex Seraphinianus.

Asemic writing exists as an international style, with writers and artists who create it in many different countries across the globe.

Publications that cover asemic writing are Tim Gaze's Asemic Magazine, and Michael Jacobson's weblog The New Post-Literate.


See alsoEdit


  1. Etymology: Greek: ἄσημ-ος - ásēm-os "signless" (from a- "without" + σῆμα - sēma "sign" + -os "adj. suffix") + -ia "property suffix".


Template:No footnotes

  • Michael Jacobson, The Giant's Fence. Barbarian Interior Books, 2006. ISBN 1-4116-6208-3 ([1])
  • Michael Jacobson, Action Figures. Barbarian Interior Books, 2009.
  • Tim Gaze, Writing. xPress(ed), 2004. ISBN 951-9198-86-5
  • Tim Gaze, Noology. Arrum Press, 2008.
  • Rosaire Appel, Morpheme Pages. Press Rappel, 2008. ISBN 978-0-557-03591-5
  • Rosaire Appel, Wordless (Poems). Press Rappel, 2009. ISBN 978-1441482587
  • Carlos Martinez Luis, Nomadic and Archeological Scriptures. LUNA BISONTE PRODS, 2009. ISBN 978-1-892280-76-3

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