Asemic Experiments

I discovered the concept of asemic writing through Michael Jacobson’s blog The New Post-Literate: A Gallery of Asemic Writing (there is also a Facebook group). Exploring what Jacobson calls “the new post-literate culture,” asemic writing refers to marks and symbols that look to us like writing – literacy – but don’t translate to a known language. The art that’s emerging is beautiful and wide-ranging, from marks of calligraphic fluidity to bold, aggressive patterning reminiscent of graffiti more than calligraphy.

I’d been thinking for some time about a series having to do with the idea of first words and last words — the first written words were, of course, pictograms. The featured painting on this page has subtle pictograms from the first written language.

I had a stack of small cards with watercolor washes in my studio and added some experimental    asemic marks.

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I think I lean toward the calligraphic/pretty (I studied calligraphy as a kid) but a more gutteral “language” would be good to explore.

That said, as a writer, I don’t know what a think about a post-literate culture. Literacy still matters.

1 thought on “Asemic Experiments

  1. Ingidisa/Jiuhl

    This is exciting to find. I vividly remember “pretending” to write when I was a child, usually as I played teacher with my younger sister as the single student. I have often wished that I kept a sample of that writing. Now, I can only imagine what it looked like, but I remember feeling that it was a grown-up thing to do, that this was what made one literate or educated…teacher-ish. Seeing this asemic writing of yours, it makes me want to write like that again, write like I did when it didn’t have a literal meaning except what I fantasized it meant!

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