Asemic Writing and the Desire for the Esoteric

Asemic writing is, by definition, meaningless. It is wordless writing. But what attracts artists and viewers alike to the art form is the way that certain marks can appear meaningful. The scrawls and strokes can be so reminiscent of a natural language or system of glyphs that they look as if they could be read…

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Derrida, Barthes, and the Origins of Asemic Writing

In my first post on asemic writing, I briefly touched on the origins of this art form, noting that the artists Tim Gaze and Jim Leftwich applied the term asemic to their quasi-calligraphic works in 1997. (See my review of Gaze’s latest book, Glyphs of Uncertain Meaning, which also includes some more information about the…

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Book Review: Glyphs of Uncertain Meaning by Tim Gaze

Tim Gaze is an Australian artist residing in the Adelaide Hills. Since the late 90s, he has been an active poet, writer, publisher, and performer. He is also notable as an artist specialising in asemic writing (expressive mark-making that has the appearance of a language). In 1997, Gaze, along with fellow artist Jim Leftwich, applied…

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The Paradox of Asemic Writing

In my first post on asemic writing, I ended by pointing to the paradoxical nature of this art form: the marks involved are at once meaningless (since they have no semantic meaning) and meaningful (since, as an art form, there can be meaning behind their creation – the intention, emotion, or state of mind expressed…

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Pseudographia: Automatic Asemic Writing

Pseudographia is the term I use to refer to either the practice of automatic asemic writing, that is, wordless, artistic writing created in an unconscious way, or the unconscious drive to engage in such writing. I have recently been revisiting the work of the Belgian poet and artist Henri Michaux, as I feel his asemic…

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