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What Is Asemic Writing?

Tara Barnett
Tara Barnett

Asemic writing is a type of art involving lines that appear to form words but that are without specific meaning. Sometimes, the shapes of the letters or the words may suggest certain meanings, but all interpretations of the text are equally valid because the words do not directly relate to those meanings. This type of writing is often considered a form of art or visual poetry rather than writing for practical communication. There are many different styles and philosophies of asemic writing, and the resulting art is often highly individual.

People who produce asemic writing typically consider themselves artists, though they may be referred to as writers. It is often said that most people produce some form of asemic writing at some time in their lives, though not all of that writing is artistic. Sometimes a person will write without specific semantic goals when doodling, testing a pen, or even when learning to write. Whether this art is perceived as art depends on context and presentation as well as the intention of the writer.

Woman standing behind a stack of books
Woman standing behind a stack of books

There are many different styles of asemic text, and work produced by an individual artist may vary over time. Some people design the writing deliberately, while others allow it to flow naturally from the mind. The action of writing is often itself viewed as pleasurable and part of the artistic process, which is one reason many people create this type art. Personal interpretations of asemic writing depend not only on the finished product, but also the personal experience of creating it, which is not something that can be directly transmitted to viewers.

Interpretations of asemic writing are highly individual and may be inspired by the shapes of the words or the piece overall. Some texts appear to express emotions, but there is never any specific interpretation that can be said to be correct even on an emotional level. It is, however, arguable that works that incorporate pictograms may have slightly narrower meanings than texts that are entirely abstract.

While many asemic works are presented as two-dimensional static images either in print or online, there are many potential ways in which this type of art can be presented. In many cases, it is incorporated into larger projects like books and works of art. One interesting way in which asemic writing can be presented is in the act of creating it, in which the writing itself becomes part of the art. This can be used to highlight the relationship between the author and the text as well as the integral role of the physical process of writing in the production of this art.

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      Woman standing behind a stack of books