Asemic writing

Asemic writing is a wordless open semantic form of writing.[1][2][3] The word asemic means "having no specific semantic content", or "without the smallest unit of meaning".[4] With the non-specificity 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. Where asemic writing differs from abstract art is in the asemic author's use of gestural constraint, and the retention of physical characteristics of writing such as lines and symbols. Asemic writing is a hybrid art form that fuses text and image into a unity, and then sets it free to arbitrary subjective interpretations. It may be compared to free writing or writing for its own sake, instead of writing to produce verbal context. The open nature of asemic works allows for meaning to occur across linguistic understanding; an asemic text may be "read" in a similar fashion regardless of the reader's natural language.[5] Multiple meanings for the same symbolism are another possibility for an asemic work, that is, asemic writing can be polysemantic or have zero meaning, infinite meanings, or its meaning can evolve over time.[6] Asemic works leave for the reader to decide how to translate and explore an asemic text; in this sense, the reader becomes co-creator of the asemic work.

In 1997 visual poets Tim Gaze and Jim Leftwich first applied the word asemic to name their quasi-calligraphic writing gestures.[7] They then began to distribute them to poetry magazines both online and in print. The authors explored sub-verbal and sub-letteral forms of writing, and textual asemia as a creative option and as an intentional practice. Since the late 1990s, asemic writing has blossomed into a worldwide literary/art movement. It has especially grown in the early part of the 21st century, though there is an acknowledgement of a long and complex history, which precedes the activities of the current asemic movement, especially with regards to abstract calligraphy, wordless writing, and verbal writing damaged beyond the point of legibility. Jim Leftwich has recently stated that an asemic condition of an asemic work is an impossible goal, and that it is not possible to create an art/literary work entirely without meaning. He has begun to use the term "pansemic" to describe this type of work.[8] Others such as author Travis Jeppesen have found the term asemic to be problematic because "it seems to infer writing with no meaning."[9]

Asemic writing from Marco Giovenale

Styles of asemic writing

An example of Zhang Xu's calligraphy

Asemic writing exists in many different forms. It is often created with a pen or brush, but can range from being hand drawn in the sand with a stick and documented by photography,[10] or to works on canvas, paper, computer images, and animations. The key to asemic writing is that even though it is traditionally "unreadable" it still maintains a strong attractive appeal to the reader's eye. Various asemic writing includes pictograms, or ideograms the meanings of which are sometimes suggested by their shapes, though it may also flow as an abstract expressionist scribble which resembles writing but avoids words. 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.[11] Asemic writing has no verbal sense, though it may have clear textual sense.[12] 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,[13] or can be understood through aesthetic intuition.[14] 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, wildstyle, etc.). Most asemic writing lies between these two extremes.[15] 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 global postliterate style of writing that uses all forms of creativity for inspiration. Other influences on asemic writing are alien languages in science fiction, artistic languages, sigils (magick), undeciphered scripts, and graffiti.[16] Uses for asemic writing include mental and creative idea stimulation, non-verbal communication, hoaxes, and general authorial self-expression.


Newsletter from Mirtha Dermisache[17]

Asemic writing occurs in avant-garde literature and art with strong roots in the earliest forms of writing. The history of today's asemic movement stems from two Chinese calligraphers: "crazy" Zhang Xu, a Tang Dynasty (circa 800 CE) calligrapher who was famous for creating wild illegible calligraphy, and the younger "drunk" monk Huaisu who also excelled at illegible cursive calligraphy.[18] Japanese calligraphers subsequently expanded upon Chinese abstract calligraphic expression by Hitsuzendō (the way of Zen through brush), allowing their works to move past formal presentation and "breathe with the vitality of eternal experience". In the 1920s Man Ray, who was influenced by Dada, created an early work of wordless writing with his poem Paris, Mai 1924, which is nothing more than dashes on a page. Later in the 1920s, Henri Michaux, who was influenced by Asian calligraphy, Surrealism, and Automatic writing, began to create wordless works such as Alphabet (1925) and Narration (1927).[19] Michaux referred to his calligraphic works as "interior Gestures". The writer and artist Wassily Kandinsky was an early precursor to asemic writing, with his linear piece Indian Story (1931) exemplifying complete textual abstraction. In the 1950s there is Brion Gysin (whose calligraphy was influenced by Japanese and Arabic calligraphy), Isidore Isou (who founded Lettrisme), Cy Twombly (a former US Army Cryptologist), and Morita Shiryū/Bokujin-kai Group (Ink Human Society)[20] all of whom expanded writing into illegible, abstract, and wordless visual mark-making; they would help lay the foundation for asemic writers of the future. Mira Schendel was an artist from Brazil who created many illegible works over the course of her life, for example her piece Archaic Writing (1964). Mirtha Dermisache is another writer who had created asemic writing since the 1960s.[21] Dermisache actively said that even though her graphisms have no meaning, they still retained the full rights of an autonomous work. 1971 was the year when Alain Satié released his work Écrit en prose ou L'Œuvre hypergraphique which contains asemic writing throughout the entire graphic novel.[22] León Ferrari was another artist/poet who created many asemic works in the 1960s and 70s, such as Escritura (1976).[23] 1974 saw the release of Max Ernst's work Maximiliana: The Illegal Practice Of Astronomy: hommage à Dorothea Tanning; this book is a major influence on asemic writers such as Tim Gaze, Michael Jacobson, and Derek Beaulieu.[24] Roland Barthes was also involved with asemic writing; he titled his asemic works Contre-écritures.[25][26]

A modern example of asemic writing is Luigi Serafini's Codex Seraphinianus (1981). Serafini described the script of the Codex as asemic in a talk at the Oxford University Society of Bibliophiles held on May 8, 2009.[27] In the 1980s, Chinese artist Xu Bing created Tiānshū, or A Book from the Sky which is a work of books and hanging scrolls on which were printed 4000 hand carved meaningless characters.[28] The 1980s also saw artist Gu Wenda begin 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 was held in Xi'an in 1986, featuring paintings of fake ideograms on a massive scale.[29] Also in China, during the 1990s, an abstract calligraphy movement known as "Calligraphy-ism" came into existence, a leading proponent of this movement being Luo Qi. Calligraphy-ism 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. 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.

Specialized publications

2013 saw the release of An Anthology of Asemic Handwriting (Uitgeverij), which has over a hundred artists represented from many corners of the world.[30] Asemic writing has also received mention and space in The Last Vispo Anthology: Visual Poetry 1998-2008 (Fantagraphics, 2012).[31] In 2011 a full issue of William Allegrezza's poetry journal Moria was focused on the participants and theory of asemic writing.[32] Also in 2011, John Moore Williams published an asemic issue of his journal The Bleed. Other publications that cover asemic writing include Tim Gaze's Asemic Magazine, Michael Jacobson's curated weblog gallery The New Post-Literate: A Gallery Of Asemic Writing,[33] Marco Giovenale's collective group blog Asemic Net,[34] and De Villo Sloan's collaboration project Asemic Front.[35] Book publishers of asemic writing include Tim Gaze's Asemic Editions,[36] Michael Jacobson's Post-Asemic Press,[37] and Rosaire Appel's Press Rappel.[38] Asemic writing has appeared in books, artworks, films and on television but it has especially been distributed via the internet[39][40] (such as on Facebook,[41] Tumblr, Pinterest,[42] YouTube, Scribd, IUOMA,[43] and Reddit[44]). Group exhibits of asemic writing have occurred in bricks and mortar art galleries in Australia,[45] Russia,[46] Malta,[47] Mexico,[48] Spain,[49] Italy,[50] and the United States.[51] More recently there have been architecture models which utilize asemic writing in the design process.[52][53] Currently, there is a robot that performs asemic writing live,[54] and there is asemic writing produced by artificial intelligence.[55]

Satu Kaikkonen, a contemporary asemic artist/writer from Finland, had this to say about asemic writing:

As a creator of asemics, I consider myself an explorer and a global storyteller. Asemic art, after all, represents a kind of language that's universal and lodged deep within our unconscious minds. Regardless of language identity, each human's initial attempts to create written language look very similar and, often, quite asemic. In this way, asemic art can serve as a sort of common language—albeit an abstract, post-literate one—that we can use to understand one another regardless of background or nationality. For all its limping-functionality, semantic language all too often divides and asymmetrically empowers while asemic texts can't help but put people of all literacy-levels and identities on equal footing.[56]

Bruce Sterling comments about asemic writing on his Wired magazine blog Beyond the Beyond:

Writing that doesn’t have any actual writing in it whatsoever. You would think that this must be some kind of ultimate literary frontier, a frozen Antarctica of writing entirely devoid of literary content, but I wonder.

What is “beyond asemic writing”? Maybe a neural brain-scan of an author *thinking about* asemic writing. Maybe *generative asemic writing*. Maybe “asemic biomimicry”. Maybe nanoasemic writing inscribed with atomic force microscopes by Artificial Intelligences.[57]

False writing systems

False writing systems are artificially constructed alphabets or scripts used (sometimes within the context of a false document) to convey a degree of verisimilitude. Examples of this include alien dialogue in comic strips, animated cartoons, and graphic novels (such as Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and the Valérian and Laureline series). The script in Luigi Serafini's 1981 Codex Seraphinianus was confirmed by the author to have no occult meaning. The Voynich manuscript, a mysterious work on which the Codex Seraphinianus was likely based, uses an undeciphered writing system that some speculated to be false.

Influences, predecessors, and related forms

2013 Parla working at Barclays Center
José Parlá painting a mural titled Diary of Brooklyn at Barclay's Center



Math Minus Math: a text of asemic math by Rosaire Appel


Asemic translation of Flatland by Derek Beaulieu


Asemic writing from Jean-Christophe Giacottino


Asemic hieroglyphs cover art by Michael Jacobson for Rain Taxi's winter 2014 issue

Tianshu title

Title page of A Book from the Sky, in pseudo-Chinese characters. The characters “天書” (Tiānshū) do not appear anywhere in the book.


"Fusion Series #2174" By Cecil Touchon. A collage using fragments of lettering from found bill board material.


Asemic writing by Emily Dickinson from 1859.

Concrete Asemic Federici

Calligraph and Seismograph by Federico Federici.

Asemic graffiti

Asemic Post-Graffiti from Nuno de Matos.[64]

The Wheels of Transformation

The Wheels of Transformation - Asemic Writing by Tatiana Roumelioti

See also


  1. ^ Michael Jacobson. "Works & Interviews".
  2. ^ "Tim Gaze. Asemic Magazine". Asemic Magazine.
  3. ^ "Full Of Crow Tim Gaze interview".
  4. ^ From Greek: asemos (αόεμoβ) = without sign, unmarked, obscure, or ignoble.
  5. ^ "Satu Kaikkonen interview".
  6. ^ "Samplekannon interview with Michael Jacobson". Samplekannon.
  7. ^ "Galatea Resurrects: The Nearness Of Asemic Writing by Jim Leftwich".
  8. ^ "Jim Leftwich: "asemic writing definitions and contexts, 1998-2016"".
  9. ^ "Hans Ulrich Obrist in Conversation About Inventing New Languages". Sleek Magazine.
  10. ^ Thelma Mort. "Cape Town artist Andrew van der Merwe carves out beach calligraphy niche". BusinessDay.
  11. ^ Jaime Morrison. "Nonism: Asemic Art".
  12. ^ Geof Huth. "Varieties of Visual Poetry". dbqp.
  13. ^ Geof Huth. "Varieties of Visual Poetry". dbqp.
  14. ^ Michael Jacobson. "Works & Interviews".
  15. ^ "PRATE, Michael Jacobson interview". Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  16. ^ "Michael Jacobson interview". Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ Sarah Nicholls. "Center for Book Arts: Making Sense of Asemic Writing". Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  19. ^ "'Leaking the Squalls': The Art and Letters of Henri Michaux". natalie ferris. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  20. ^ "Calligraphy The Bokujin-Kai Group and Shiryu Morita". infinity of utterances kathryn simon phd.
  21. ^ "Witness Mirtha Dermisache". Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  22. ^ Alain Satie, Écrit en Prose, Éditions PSI, 1971.
  23. ^ Buzz Poole. "The Writing of Art, The Art of Writing".
  24. ^ "PRATE". Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  25. ^ Tierra Innovation. "Vispo". Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  26. ^ "Drawings on Writing". Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  27. ^ Jeff Stanley (2010). "To Read Images Not Words: Computer-Aided Analysis of the Handwriting in the Codex Seraphinianus (MSc dissertation)" (PDF). North Carolina State University at Raleigh. pp. 8–9. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  28. ^ "Free writing". stalker. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  29. ^ "asemic writing - Donna Tull". Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  30. ^ "An Anthology Of Asemic Handwriting".
  31. ^ "The Last Vispo Anthology". Crag Hill & Nico Vassilakis (editors).
  32. ^ "moria". Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  33. ^ "The New Post-Literate: A Gallery Of Asemic Writing".
  34. ^ "Asemic Net".
  35. ^ "Asemic Front".
  36. ^ "Asemic Editions".
  37. ^ "Post-Asemic Press".
  38. ^ "Press Rappel, Printed Matter".
  39. ^ "Bright Stupid Confetti: Asemic Writing: An International Perspective curated by Michael Jacobson".
  40. ^ "Spring 2018 Women Asemic Writers Exhibit".
  41. ^ "Facebook Asemic writing: The New Post-Literate group".
  42. ^ "Asemic writing on Pinterest".
  43. ^ "Asemic Writing For Mail Artists at IUOMA (The International Union Of Mail Artists)".
  44. ^ "Reddit asemic page".
  45. ^ "Asemic writing at The Hahndorf Academy".
  46. ^ "The First Asemic Writing Exhibit In Russia".
  47. ^ "Asemic Show at the Spiral, Malta".
  48. ^ "First Asemic Writing Exhibit In Mexico".
  49. ^ "Asemic Tech".
  50. ^ "Utsanga Asemic Writing Exhibit".
  51. ^ "Asemic Writing: Offline & In The Gallery".
  52. ^ "Asemic Scapes by Sarah Schneider". Dezeen. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  53. ^ "suckerPUNCH » Asemic ForestsuckerPUNCH". SUCKERPUNCHDAILY.COM. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  54. ^ "The Post-Literate (R)Evolution". Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  55. ^ "Asemic AI".
  56. ^ "". Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  57. ^ Sterling, Bruce (July 13, 2009). "Web Semantics: Asemic writing". Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  58. ^ "The Commonline Journal: Without Words: An Interview with Tim Gaze". Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  59. ^ "Gammm: le scritture asemantiche di irma blank / gillo dorfles. 1974". Marco Giovenale with English translation by Nerida Newbigin, 2014.
  60. ^ Ian Boyden. "OF SCRIPTS AND STARS: The Cipheric Aesthetics of Timothy C. Ely's Cribriform Script".
  61. ^ Adam de Paor-Evans. "Mumble Rap: cultural laziness or a true reflection of contemporary times?". The Conversation.
  62. ^ "Poem Brut". Steven J. Fowler.
  63. ^ Jaap Blonk & Tomomi Adachi. "Asemic Dialogues".
  64. ^ "asemic-writing-matox". Post Graffiti :: Urban Skins. Retrieved 10 November 2014.

References and works

Asemic writing gif
Asemic gif animation by Tony Burhouse and Michael Jacobson
  • mIEKAL aND, Hypok Changs Trees. Asemic Editions, 2012. [1] & as a download: [2]
  • Rosaire Appel, As It Were: 17 Asemic Stories. Press Rappel, 2010. ISBN 978-1452865102
  • Rosaire Appel, Wordless (poems). Press Rappel, 2013. ISBN 978-1484174869
  • Rosaire Appel, Zinc Zanc Zunc: An Asemic Conjugation. Post-Asemic Press, 2018. ISBN 978-1732878815
  • Anneke Baeten, Translating Paint. Post-Asemic Press, 2018. ISBN 978-1732878846
  • Derek Beaulieu, Flatland. York: Information as Material, 2007. ISBN 978-0-9553092-5-0
  • Volodymyr Bilyk, Codex Abyssus. Post-Asemic Press, 2019. ISBN 978-1732878860
  • Xu Bing (Artist), John Cayley (Author), Lydia Liu (Author), Katherine Spears (Editor), Xu Bing: Tianshu: Passages in the Making of a Book. Bernard Quaritch Ltd.; Bilingual edition, 2012. ISBN 978-0955085291
  • Sam Roxas-Chua, Echolalia in Script: A Collection of Asemic Writing. Orison Books, 2017. ISBN 978-0-9964397-4-9
  • Mirtha Dermisache (Artist), Daniel Owen (Editor), Lisa Pearson (Editor), Mirtha Dermisache: Selected Writings. Siglio/Ugly Duckling Presse, 2018. ISBN 978-1938221170 [3]
  • Max Ernst (Artist), Peter Schamoni (Author), Maximiliana: The illegal practice of astronomy : hommage à Dorothea Tanning. New York Graphic Society, 1974. ISBN 978-0821206553
  • Federico Federici, Liner notes for a Pithecanthropus Erectus sketchbook, 2018, with a foreword by SJ Fowler. ISBN 978-0244999049
  • Federico Federici, The way I discovered the Berlin Wall has fallen, 2017: a LaTex generated asemic book. ISBN 978-0244930172
  • Steven J. Fowler, Aletta Ocean's Alphabet Empire. Hesterglock Press, 2017. ISBN 978-1-9999153-0-8
  • Steven J. Fowler, I Fear My Best Work Behind Me. Stranger Press, 2017. ISBN 978-1-9999127-0-3
  • Tim Gaze, The Oxygen Of Truth, Vol. 1 & 2. Broken Boulder, 1999–2000. [4]
  • Tim Gaze, Jim Leftwich, Louise Tournay, Abdourahamane Diarra, Joe Maneri, ASEMIA. Anabasis/Xtant, 2003. ISBN 1930259344
  • Tim Gaze, Writing. xPress(ed), 2004. ISBN 951-9198-86-5
  • Tim Gaze, Noology. Arrum Press, 2008. [5]
  • Tim Gaze, 100 Scenes. Transgressor Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-9807303-4-0
  • Tim Gaze (editor), Michael Jacobson (editor), An Anthology Of Asemic Handwriting. Uitgeverij, 2013. ISBN 978-9081709170
  • Marco Giovenale, Asemic Sibyls. Red Fox Press, 2013.[6]
  • Renee Gladman, Prose Architectures. Wave Books, 2017. ISBN 9781940696461
  • Jefferson Hansen, 100 Hybrids. Post-Asemic Press, 2018. ISBN 978-1732878853
  • Michael Jacobson, The Giant's Fence. Ubu Editions, 2001-2006. [7]
  • Michael Jacobson, Works & Interviews. Post-Asemic Press, 2018. ISBN 978-1732878808
  • Carlos Martínez Luis, Nomadic and Archeological Scriptures. LUNA BISONTE PRODS, 2009. ISBN 978-1-892280-76-3
  • Luna-Park 2, 1976.
  • O Mayeux, Artefacts. Post-Asemic Press, 2018. ISBN 978-0692989449
  • Henri Michaux (artist), Richard Sieburth (translator), Stroke By Stroke. Archipelago Books, 2006. ISBN 978-0976395058
  • Raymond Queneau, Ecritures. Secret Books, 2015. [8]
  • Marilyn R. Rosenberg, FALSE FICTION FRACTURED FACT ALTERED. Post-Asemic Press, 2019. ISBN 978-1732878839
  • Alain Satié, Written in Prose. Asemic Editions, 2010. [9]
  • Spencer Selby, Unknown Message. Post-Asemic Press, 2018. ISBN 978-1732878822
  • Luigi Serafini, Codex Seraphinianus. Milano: Rizzoli, 2013, 396 pp., ISBN 08-47-84213-4
  • Paul A. Toth (editor), ALPHA BET A TEST: The Eye Am Eye Asemic Anthology: Language in the Act of Disappearing. Eye Am Eye Press, 2015. ISBN 978-1511706056
  • Utsanga - Rivista di critica e linguaggi di ricerca. ISSN 2421-3365
  • Zoomoozophone Review 8, 2016. [10]

External links


Asemia is the term for the medical condition of being unable to understand or express any signs or symbols.

It is a more severe condition than aphasia, which is the inability to understand linguistic signs. Asemia is caused by damage to the areas of the brain that process communication – more specifically, when there is damage to the left side of the brain in the areas that process communication such as Broca's and Wernicke's areas. Damage can be inflicted by physical trauma to the brain, but is more commonly caused by stroke and sometimes tumors. The onset of this condition is usually quick but not permanent. Treatment of this condition is traditional speech therapy in which the individual must relearn how to read, write, and talk. Depending on the severity of the injury, recovery can take days to years. Considerable recovery is common, but often not to the full extent of baseline ability.


Asemic may refer to:

Asemia, a communication disorder

Asemic writing

Constructed script

A constructed script is a new writing system specifically created by an individual or group, rather than having evolved as part of a language or culture like a natural script. Some are designed for use with constructed languages, although several of them are used in linguistic experimentation or for other more practical ends in existing languages.

The most prominent of constructed scripts may be Glagolitic, Korean Hangul and the International Phonetic Alphabet. Some, such as the Shavian alphabet, Quikscript, Alphabet 26, and the Deseret alphabet, were devised as English spelling reforms. Others, including Alexander Melville Bell's Visible Speech and John Malone's Unifon were developed for pedagogical use. Blissymbols were developed as a written international auxiliary language. Shorthand systems may be considered constructed scripts.


A doodle is a drawing made while a person's attention is otherwise occupied. Doodles are simple drawings that can have concrete representational meaning or may just be composed of random and abstract lines, generally without ever lifting the drawing device from the paper, in which case it is usually called a "scribble".

Doodling and scribbling are most often associated with young children and toddlers, because their lack of hand–eye coordination and lower mental development often make it very difficult for any young child to keep their coloring attempts within the line art of the subject. Despite this, it is not uncommon to see such behaviour with adults, in which case it is generally done jovially, out of boredom.

Typical examples of doodling are found in school notebooks, often in the margins, drawn by students daydreaming or losing interest during class. Other common examples of doodling are produced during long telephone conversations if a pen and paper are available.

Popular kinds of doodles include cartoon versions of teachers or companions in a school, famous TV or comic characters, invented fictional beings, landscapes, geometric shapes, patterns, textures, or phallic scenes.

Experimental literature

Experimental literature refers to written work—usually fiction or poetry—that emphasizes innovation, most especially in technique.

Free writing

Free writing is a prewriting technique in which a person writes continuously for a set period of time without regard to spelling, grammar, or topic. It produces raw, often unusable material, but helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and self-criticism. It is used mainly by prose writers and writing teachers. Some writers use the technique to collect initial thoughts and ideas on a topic, often as a preliminary to formal writing. Free writing is not the same as automatic writing.

Unlike brainstorming where ideas are simply listed, in freewriting one writes sentences to form a paragraph about whatever comes to mind.


Handwriting is the writing done with a writing instrument, such as a pen or pencil, in the hand. Handwriting includes both printing and cursive styles and is separate from formal calligraphy or typeface. Because each person's handwriting is unique and different, it can be used to verify a document's writer. The deterioration of a person's handwriting is also a symptom or result of certain diseases. The inability to produce clear and coherent handwriting is also known as dysgraphia.


Hypergraphy, also called hypergraphics and metagraphics, is a method, central to the Lettrist movement of the 1950s, which encompasses a synthesis of writing and other modalities. Isidore Isou, the founder of Lettrism, said that "Metagraphics or post-writing, encompassing all the means of ideographic, lexical and phonetic notation, supplements the means of expression based on sound by adding a specifically plastic dimension, a visual facet which is irreducible and escapes oral labelling..."Hypergraphy merges poetry (text) with more visual (graphic) ways of communication such as painting, illustration or signs. The technique was first known as 'metagraphics', but later became known as 'hypergraphics'. Maurice Lemaître, a Lettrist theorist, defined it as communicating through the union of various forms of communication, as an "ensemble of signs capable of transmitting the reality served by the consciousness more exactly than all the former fragmentary and partial practices (phonetic alphabets, algebra, geometry, painting, music, and so forth)."The technique was used in Lettrist painting and cinema, in which letters were drawn directly onto the film. As the Lettrists became more experimental in their use of media, the technique was applied more to everyday life in critiquing urbanism and architecture in the Lettrist field of psychogeography.

List of Argentine women artists

This is a list of women artists who were born in Argentina or whose artwork is closely associated with that country.

Lorem ipsum

In publishing and graphic design, Lorem ipsum is a placeholder text commonly used to demonstrate the visual form of a document without relying on meaningful content (also called greeking). Replacing the actual content with placeholder text allows designers to design the form of the content before the content itself has been produced.

The lorem ipsum text is typically a scrambled section of De finibus bonorum et malorum, a 1st-century BC Latin text by Cicero, with words altered, added, and removed to make it nonsensical, improper Latin.

A variation of the ordinary lorem ipsum text has been used in typesetting since the 1960s or earlier, when it was popularized by advertisements for Letraset transfer sheets. It was introduced to the information age in the mid-1980s by Aldus Corporation, which employed it in graphics and word-processing templates for its desktop publishing program PageMaker. Many popular word processors use this format as a placeholder. Some examples are Pages or Microsoft Word.

Mirtha Dermisache

Mirtha Dermisache (21 February 1940 – 5 January 2012) was an Argentine artist whose works of asemic writing have been published and exhibited internationally at venues including the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and MACBA in Barcelona, and collected by leading international arts institutions.


Nonsense is a communication, via speech, writing, or any other symbolic system, that lacks any coherent meaning. Sometimes in ordinary usage, nonsense is synonymous with absurdity or the ridiculous. Many poets, novelists and songwriters have used nonsense in their works, often creating entire works using it for reasons ranging from pure comic amusement or satire, to illustrating a point about language or reasoning. In the philosophy of language and philosophy of science, nonsense is distinguished from sense or meaningfulness, and attempts have been made to come up with a coherent and consistent method of distinguishing sense from nonsense. It is also an important field of study in cryptography regarding separating a signal from noise.

Postliterate society

A postliterate society is a hypothetical society in which multimedia technology has advanced to the point where literacy, the ability to read or write, is no longer necessary or common. The term appears as early as 1962 in Marshall McLuhan's The Gutenberg Galaxy. Many science-fiction societies are postliterate, as in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Dan Simmons' novel Ilium, and Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story.

A postliterate society is different from a pre-literate one, as the latter has not yet created writing and communicates orally (oral literature and oral history, aided by art, dance, and singing), and the former has replaced the written word with recorded sounds (CDs, audiobooks), broadcast spoken word and music (radio), pictures (JPEG) and moving images (television, film, MPG, streaming video, video games, virtual reality). A postliterate society might still include people who are aliterate, who know how to read and write but choose not to. Most if not all people would be media literate, multimedia literate, visually literate, and transliterate.

In his book The Empire of Illusion, Chris Hedges charts the recent, sudden rise of postliterate culture within the world culture as a whole.Author Bruce Powe, in his 1987 book The Solitary Outlaw, wrote:

Literacy: the ability to read and interpret the written word. What is post-literacy? It is the condition of semi-literacy, where most people can read and write to some extent, but where the literate sensibility no longer occupies a central position in culture, society, and politics. Post-literacy occurs when the ability to comprehend the written word decays. If post-literacy is now the ground of society questions arise: what happens to the reader, the writer, and the book in post-literary environment? What happens to thinking, resistance, and dissent when the ground becomes wordless?

Seme (semantics)

Seme, the smallest unit of meaning recognized in semantics, refers to a single characteristic of a sememe. These characteristics are defined according to the differences between sememes. The term was introduced by Eric Buyssens in the 1930s and developed by Bernard Pottier in the 1960s. It is the result produced when determining the minimal elements of meaning, which enables one to describe words multilingually. Such elements provide a bridge to componential analysis and the initial work of ontologies.


A sign is an object, quality, event, or entity whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else. A natural sign bears a causal relation to its object—for instance, thunder is a sign of storm, or medical symptoms signify a disease. A conventional sign signifies by agreement, as a full stop signifies the end of a sentence; similarly the words and expressions of a language, as well as bodily gestures, can be regarded as signs, expressing particular meanings. The physical objects most commonly referred to as signs (notices, road signs, etc., collectively known as signage) generally inform or instruct using written text, symbols, pictures or a combination of these.

The philosophical study of signs and symbols is called semiotics; this includes the study of semiosis, which is the way in which signs (in the semiotic sense) operate.

Steven J Fowler

SJ Fowler or Steven J. Fowler is a contemporary English poet, writer and avant-garde artist. He has produced diverse body of work across poetry, performance art, experimental theatre, asemic writing, calligrams, concrete poetry and sound poetry, as well as sonic art, installation, fiction and visual art.

Surrealist automatism

Surrealist automatism is a method of art-making in which the artist suppresses conscious control over the making process, allowing the unconscious mind to have great sway. Early 20th-century Dadaists, such as Hans Arp, made some use of this method through chance operations. Surrealist artists, most notably André Masson, adapted to art the automatic writing method of André Breton and Philippe Soupault who composed with it Les Champs Magnétiques (The Magnetic Fields) in 1919. The Automatic Message (1933) was one of Breton's significant theoretical works about automatism.

Undeciphered writing systems

Many undeciphered writing systems date from several thousand years BC, though some more modern examples do exist. The term "writing systems" is used here loosely to refer to groups of glyphs which appear to have representational symbolic meaning, but which may include "systems" that are largely artistic in nature and are thus not examples of actual writing.

The difficulty in deciphering these systems can arise from a lack of known language descendants or from the languages being entirely isolated, from insufficient examples of text having been found and even (such as in the case of Vinča) from the question of whether the symbols actually constitute a writing system at all. Some researchers have claimed to be able to decipher certain writing systems, such as those of Epi-Olmec, Phaistos and Indus texts; but to date, these claims have not been widely accepted within the scientific community, or confirmed by independent researchers, for the writing systems listed here (unless otherwise specified).

Visual poetry

Literary theorists have identified visual poetry as a development of concrete poetry but with the characteristics of intermedia in which non-representational language and visual elements predominate.

Avant-garde movements
Visual art
Literature and poetry
Cinema and theatre
Teaching literacy
Defining literacy
Literacy internationally
Major contributors to literacy
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