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Article:Asemic writing
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(del uncited material, material sourced to blogs, material sourced to deadlinks and WP:OR -- sources mking no mention of the neologism at hand, assigned to the category by this article alone)
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[[File:Asemic3.jpg|right|thumb|Asemic writing from Marco Giovenale]]
 
[[File:Asemic3.jpg|right|thumb|Asemic writing from Marco Giovenale]]
'''Asemic writing''' is a wordless open [[Semantics|semantic]] form of [[writing]]. The word ''asemic'' means "having no specific semantic content".<ref>Etymology: {{lang-el|ἄσημ-ος}} - ásēm-os "signless" (from a- "without" + σῆμα - sēma "[[sign]]" + -os "adj. suffix") + -ia "property suffix".</ref> 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 art|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 [[symbol]]ism are another possibility for an asemic work.
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'''Asemic writing''' is a wordless open [[Semantics|semantic]] form of [[writing]]. A modern example of asemic writing is [[Luigi Serafini]]'s [[Codex Seraphinianus]]. Serafini described the script of the Codex as asemic in a talk at the [[Oxford University Society of Bibliophiles]] held on May 8, 2009.<ref>^ Jeff Stanley (2010). "To Read Images Not Words: Computer-Aided Analysis of the Handwriting in the Codex Seraphinianus (MSc dissertation)". North Carolina State University at Raleigh. pp. 8–9. Retrieved 9 April 2012.http://repository.lib.ncsu.edu/ir/bitstream/1840.16/6460/1/etd.pdf</ref> [[Publications]] that cover asemic writing include Tim Gaze's ''Asemic Magazine'', Michael Jacobson's [[weblog]] gallery ''The New Post-Literate'', and Marco Giovenale's curated group blog "Asemic Net". Currently, there is a [[robot]] that performs asemic writing live.<ref>http://post-literate.tumblr.com/post/36093759991/asemic-writing-created-by-a-robot</ref>
 
==Styles of asemic writing==
 
 
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. It has been suggested that asemic writing exists in two ways: "true" asemic writing and "relative" asemic writing.<ref>http://www.fullofcrow.com/prate/2009/08/michael-jacobson/</ref> True asemic writing occurs when the creator of the asemic piece cannot read their own asemic writing. Relative asemic writing is a natural writing system that can be read by some people but not by everyone (e.g. [[ciphers]]). Between these two axioms is where asemic writing exists and plays.
 
 
[[File:Timgaze.jpg|right|thumb| The Asemic Continuum]]
 
Influences on asemic writing are illegible, [[Constructed language|invented]], or primal [[manuscript|script]]s ([[cave painting]]s, [[doodle]]s, children's drawings, etc.). But instead of being thought of as mimicry of preliterate expression, asemic writing may be considered to be a [[Postliterate society|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]], and [[graffiti]].
 
 
Asemic writing occurs in [[avant-garde]] literature and art with strong roots in the earliest forms of writing. A modern example of asemic writing is [[Luigi Serafini]]'s [[Codex Seraphinianus]]. Serafini described the script of the Codex as asemic in a talk at the [[Oxford University Society of Bibliophiles]] held on May 8, 2009.<ref>^ Jeff Stanley (2010). "To Read Images Not Words: Computer-Aided Analysis of the Handwriting in the Codex Seraphinianus (MSc dissertation)". North Carolina State University at Raleigh. pp. 8–9. Retrieved 9 April 2012.http://repository.lib.ncsu.edu/ir/bitstream/1840.16/6460/1/etd.pdf</ref>
 
 
[[File:Mirtha Dermisache.jpg|left|thumb| Newsletter from Mirtha Dermisache<ref>dermisache-9 Newsletters & 1 Reportaje 2000: Newsletter, 2000 from Mirtha Dermisache, Nueve Newsletters & Un Reportaje, Buenos Aires : El borde, Marseille : Mobil-Home, Montpellier : Manglar, 2004. Offset printing, 440 copies.</ref>]]
 
Asemic writing exists as an [[international]] style, with writers and artists who create it in many different countries across the globe. One artist, who was practicing asemic writing since the early 1970s, is the late Mirtha Dermisache (1940-2012) from [[Argentina]]. Dermisache actively said that her graphisms have no meaning, but that even without meaning, they fully maintained the rights of an autonomous work.<ref>http://proa.org/eng/exhibition-sintonias-mirtha-dermisache-1.php</ref> [[Cecil Touchon]], from [[Austin]], [[Texas]], is also an artist who has been creating asemic fragments of writing since the mid-1970s. Touchon brings [[collage]] into asemic writing by utilizing words from old poster material, which he deconstructs into unreadable forms that still maintain the aesthetic presence of writing. Another contemporary artist, who has been creating asemic writing for the past 25 years (mid-1980s), is [[Brooklyn]], [[New York]] based [[José Parlá]]. Parlá acts as a historical transcriber, and a visual raconteur. As a transcriber, he records his experiences in calligraphic and palimpsestic code, with his abstract graffiti and art documenting the history and decay of urban places.<ref>http://www.joseparla.com/</ref> In [[China]], during the 1990s, an abstract calligraphy movement known as "calligraphyism" came into existence, a leading proponent of this movement being Luo Qi. Calligraphyism is an aesthetic movement that aims to develop calligraphy into an abstract art. The characters do not need to retain their traditional forms or be legible as words.<ref>Transcending Limits: A Centenary Journey from Traditional Chinese Calligraphy to New Calligraphic Art by Dr. Chew Kim Liong http://www.niubizi.com/02_wenzihua/02b3_chew.html</ref> In [[Vietnam]] during the 2000s a calligraphy group called the Zenei Gang of Five appeared. To this group of young artists, “Wordless” means that which cannot be said, that which is both before and beyond the specificity of naming. To be without words is saying nothing and saying everything.<ref>http://hanoigrapevine.com/2010/02/lang_enwordless-zenei-gang-of-fivelang_enlang_viart-vietnam-tieu-d%E1%BB%81lang_vi/</ref> Some current practitioners of asemic writing are Tim Gaze, Michael Jacobson, Satu Kaikkonen, Marco Giovenale, Karri Kokko, John M. Bennett, Jim Leftwich, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Márton Koppány, Drew Kunz, Ekaterina Samigulina, Biagio Cepollaro, Riccardo Cavallo, Geof Huth, John Martone, Tommasina Squadrito, and Rosaire Appel.
 
 
===Specialized publications===
 
[[Publications]] that cover asemic writing include Tim Gaze's ''Asemic Magazine'', Michael Jacobson's [[weblog]] gallery ''The New Post-Literate'', and Marco Giovenale's curated group blog "Asemic Net". There are groups that cover asemic writing on [[Flickr]], [[Google]], [[Facebook]], and The International Union of Mail Artists. Asemic writing has appeared in [[books]], [[Work of art|artworks]], [[films]] and on [[television]] but it has especially been distributed via the [[internet]]. More recently there have been [[architecture]] models which utilize asemic writing in the design process.<ref>http://www.dezeen.com/2008/08/16/asemic-scapes-by-sarah-schneider/</ref><ref>http://www.suckerpunchdaily.com/2012/10/04/asemic-forest/</ref> Currently, there is a [[robot]] that performs asemic writing live.<ref>http://post-literate.tumblr.com/post/36093759991/asemic-writing-created-by-a-robot</ref>
 
 
==History==
 
 
Here's a slab quoted from a recent email from visual poet Jim Leftwich (he was explaining himself to an artist named Billy Bob Beamer):
 
 
{{Quotation|30 years ago i was writing syllabics as a way of creating rhythmic patters unlike traditional metric verse, and trying to lose the influence of [[T. S. Eliot|eliot]], [[André Breton|breton]] and [[John Berryman|berryman
 
]].
 
 
sometime in the mid-90s, probably 97, a visual poet named john byrum sent me a postcard in response to a series of poems i had sent him. the poems were letteral variations of poems by [[John M. Bennett]]. in a ps at the bottom of the card byrum wrote something like "if you continue in this vein you will soon be writing asemic poems". that was the first time i saw the word "asemic". tim gaze contacted me around the same time. i was thinking about purely textual asemia. tim was thinking about a more calligraphic form of writing. my textual work was already letteral, and my visual work was breaking the letter-forms down and becoming a poetry of quasi- or sub- letteral marks. i started making quasi-calligraphic works and sending them around to poetry magazines - and calling them asemic. tim was doing something very similar. that was the beginning of what is now being called "the asemic movement". i promoted the practice (and the word itself) very energetically for several years (8 - 10 years or so). tim has been even more energetic and ambitious, and is still going strong. there is a long and complex history preceding all of this, of course, but this is how the current "movement" got underway. tim can tell you much more about the history of the term itself.}}
 
   
 
[[:fi:Satu Kaikkonen|Satu Kaikkonen]], a contemporary asemic artist/writer, had this to say about asemic writing:
 
[[:fi:Satu Kaikkonen|Satu Kaikkonen]], a contemporary asemic artist/writer, had this to say about asemic writing:
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==Influences and predecessors==
 
==Influences and predecessors==
[[File:crazyzhangxu.jpg|thumb| One of Zhang Xu's calligraphy works]]
 
 
*From the Tim Gaze interview at Commonline Journal: "you could say that [[nature]], since time began, has been manifesting asemic writing. It just needs a human to see the writing, & recognize it".<ref>http://www.commonlinejournal.com/2008/12/interview-tim-gaze.html</ref>
 
*From the Tim Gaze interview at Commonline Journal: "you could say that [[nature]], since time began, has been manifesting asemic writing. It just needs a human to see the writing, & recognize it".<ref>http://www.commonlinejournal.com/2008/12/interview-tim-gaze.html</ref>
*In [[Tang Dynasty]] [[China]], ca. 800 CE, two men pushed cursive brush calligraphy to the point of illegibility. "Crazy" [[Zhang Xu (calligrapher)|Zhang Xu]] (one of the [[Eight Immortals of the Wine Cup]]) used to get excited after drinking [[wine]], and write exuberant but illegible cursive. The younger "mad monk" [[Huai Su]] also found renown as a writer of loose cursive calligraphy.
 
*The [[Voynich manuscript]], a 15th-century illustrated "herbal" which has so far resisted all attempts at decipherment or explanation.
 
*[[Hélène Smith]]'s [[Martian]], although that can also be considered a [[conlang]] with a consistent writing system or [[Constructed script|conscript]].
 
*[[Austin Osman Spare]], [[Sigil (magic)|Sigilization]]. Spare published a method by which the words of a statement of intent are reduced into an abstract design, and then charged with the energy of one's will.
 
*[[Henri Michaux]]'s ''Alphabet'', ''Narration'' (1927), and intuitive ink drawings, such as ''Stroke by Stroke'' (1984). Michaux refers to his asemic writing as “interior gestures”.
 
*[[JB Murray]] created a personal spirit writing which he could translate by viewing through a glass of water.
 
*[[Cy Twombly]], many of his best-known paintings of the late 1960s are reminiscent of a school blackboard on which someone has practiced cursive "e"s. His paintings of the late 1950s, early 1960s might be reminiscent of long term accumulation of bathroom graffiti. One should also see Twombly's series ''Roman Notes'' (1970).
 
*[[Christian Dotremont]] and his [[logograms]].
 
[[File:LettrismeAlainSatie.png|thumbnail|right| Asemic Editions English translation of Alain Satié's hypergraphic novel ''Écrit en Prose'']]
 
*[[Lettrisme]] / [[Isidore Isou]]'s "idea for the poem of the future was that it should be purely formal, devoid of all semantic content." Lettrisme is an important precursor to asemic writing because the lettristes often invented new symbols instead of using words. They also atomized writing down to the letter and synthesized writing with visual imagery; the term they invented for this type of writing is "[[hypergraphics]]". An early example of hypergraphy is [[Gabriel Pomerand]]'s 1951 painting ''Sans Titre'', where the artist created new symbols and gestures. Later on, In the early 1970s, Alain Satié released his hypergraphic book ''Écrit en Prose'' which has almost the entire dialogue written in asemic text.<ref>Satie, Alain.''Écrit en Prose'', Éditions PSI in 1971.</ref>
 
[[File:The Naked Lunch cover art.jpg|left|thumb| Cover art by Brion Gysin for [[William S. Burroughs]] novel ''[[Naked Lunch]]'']]
 
*[[Brion Gysin]]'s calligraphic paintings influenced by [[Japanese language|Japanese]] and [[Arabic]] calligraphy. A prominent example of one of Gysin's calligraphic paintings is ''Calligraffiti of Fire'' (1986).<ref>http://briongysin.com/?category_name=calligraffiti-of-fire</ref>
 
*[[Morita Shiryu]] was one of five calligraphers to form the Bokujin-Kai or “Human Ink Society”. The modern rejuvenation of calligraphy, for Morita, lay in the exploration of true form which would enable calligraphy to have a world relevance and accessibility. He encouraged calligraphers to step back from creating pure characters in order to revitalize the form of their expressions through experimentation with abstract art.
 
*[[Ulfert Wilke]] and [[Abstract Expressionism]]. Wilke was deeply intrigued by the written language, and much of his work was derived from his abstract interpretation of the shapes, colors and meanings of writing that he found in all languages and forms.
 
*[[Jean Degottex]], French [[Painting|painter]], [[draughtsman]] and [[sculptor]]. From the early 1950s he showed an interest in mark-making and in the rendering of calligraphic shapes engaging both the surface and the space of the paper or canvas (e.g. Sea Spears, 1954; [[Paris]], Gal. Fournier), an approach similar to the [[Surrealist]] method of automatic writing and drawing.
 
*In 1974 the [[New York Graphic Society]] released a very influential work to asemic writers, [[Max Ernst]]'s book ''Maximiliana: The Illegal Practice of Astronomy: hommage à Dorothea Tanning.''
 
*[[Timothy Ely]]'s invented cribriform writing. Ely's work evokes a range of thematic material: arcane knowledge, secrets and [[cryptography]], time and timelessness. He has developed a private written language using 366 individual signs or "idiographic ciphers". Ely writes visual stories, not to be confused with graphic novels. His narratives are anything but linear. “I like the idea of making an art that forces you to confront the mystery,” Ely says. “No matter how you try to deal with it, there is no solution.”<ref>http://blogs.princeton.edu/graphicarts/2012/05/tim_ely.html</ref>
 
*[[Xu Bing]]'s ''[[A Book from the Sky]]''; "The installation consisted of a set of books, panels and scrolls on which were printed thousands of characters resembling real Chinese ideograms, all devoid of semantic content".<ref>http://www.hanshan.com/specials/xubingts.html</ref>
 
*[[Roland Barthes]], contre-écritures.<ref>http://www.drawingsonwriting.org/page25.htm</ref>
 
*[[Rachid Koraichi]], his work is influenced by an abiding fascination with signs of all kinds, both real and imaginary. Beginning with the intricate beauties of the Arabic calligraphic scripts, his work is composed of symbols, glyphs and ciphers drawn from a wide variety of other languages and cultures.
 
*[[Gu Wenda]], in the 1980s, he began the first of a series of projects centered on the invention of meaningless, false Chinese ideograms, depicted as if they were truly old and traditional. One exhibition of this type, held in Xi'an in 1986, featured paintings of fake ideograms on a massive scale. In other works he develops various unreadable texts based on language influences in the area in which he is creating an installment. Gu states that the unreadable texts are used to evoke the limitations of human knowledge.<ref>^ http://www.jstor.org/stable/777863</ref>
 
*[[Indonesia]]'s famed artist [[Made Wianta]], likewise, mostly relies on his brush to move freely and spontaneously across a desired surface to form curved and wavy patterns that remind one of the esthetic riches of East Asia.<ref>http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2001/11/22/made-wianta-traces-grace-and-beauty-calligraphy.html</ref> See his work ''Caligraphy on the Blue Gate''(1995) or ''Purple Caligraphy'' (2010).<ref>http://www.madewianta.com/caligraphi.html</ref>
 
   
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
 
[[File:Asemic graffiti.jpg|thumb| Nuno de Matos calligraphy works]]
 
[[File:Asemic graffiti.jpg|thumb| Nuno de Matos calligraphy works]]
 
*[[Absurdism]]
 
*[[Apophenia]]
 
*[[Artist's book]]
 
*[[ASCII art]]
 
*[[Autograph]]
 
*[[Automatic writing]]
 
*[[Dada]]
 
*[[Experimental literature]]
 
*[[Finnegans Wake]]
 
*[[Free writing]]
 
*[[Glossolalia]]
 
*[[Haptic poetry]]
 
*[[Lil B]]
 
*[[Literary nonsense]]
 
*[[Lorem ipsum]]
 
*[[Postliterate society]]
 
*[[Sound poetry]]
 
*[[Visual poetry]]
 
*[[Wildstyle]]
 
[[File:KLIK59b.jpg|thumb|Asemic writing from Jean-Christophe Giacottino]]
 
   
 
==Notes==
 
==Notes==
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==External links==
 
==External links==
*[http://www.asemic.net/ Asemic Magazine]
 
*[http://fullofcrow.com/prate/2009/08/michael-jacobson/ The Full of Crow interview with Michael Jacobson]
 
* [http://www.asymptotejournal.com/article.php?cat=Visual&id=24&curr_index=26&curPage=current Asymptote Journal interview with Michael Jacobson]
 
*[http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/maintenant-65-marco-giovenale/ 3:AM Magazine interview with Marco Giovenale]
 
 
*[http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/22/arts/design/drawing-time-reading-time-at-the-drawing-center.html/ NY Times: When How It Looks Matters More Than What It Says by Ken Johnson]
 
*[http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/22/arts/design/drawing-time-reading-time-at-the-drawing-center.html/ NY Times: When How It Looks Matters More Than What It Says by Ken Johnson]
   
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