Four questions about asemic writing, #12: Michael Jacobson

  1. Do you think the practice of asemic writing is something different from visual poetry? Or a part of it?

I think asemic writing IS visual poetry, AND abstract art (Ulfert Wilke, Cy Twombly), calligraphy (Morita Shiryu, Tim Gaze, Brion Gysin), news journaling (Mirtha Dermisache), visual fiction (myself), cryptography (Timothy Ely), comics and cartoons (false writing systems), graffiti (Matox), doodles (tout le monde), alien writing (Hélène Smith), typography (Xu Bing), encyclopedic writing (Luigi Serafini), collage (Cecil Touchon), and mathematics (Rosaire Appel). To define it is to limit it, but naming it also helps to focus it (like Dada). What we need is more asemic haptics, asemic braille, and asemic sculpture. I think that:



  1. Asemic texts appeared often here and there over the course of the 20th century. Then, at the very beginning of the 21st, it seemed that a consistent part of artists/writers, all over the world, started focusing on it. It isn't the occasional appearance of asemics in a wider context of art, but it seems now a specific practice or current. Do you agree?

Asemic writing seems like a perfectly sensible thing to do while waiting around for Godot! But to counteract today’s nihilism, I think a lot of artists and writers relate to asemic writing because it is such a basic form of human expression. Just about anyone can do it and create an asemic masterwork, though I advise any would-be drawriter to keep it intense and put their heart into it. I agree with you, that it is a specific practice. I think a young or old drawriter could make quite a creative life out of focusing on asemic writing, like Mirtha Dermisache was able to do. What I mean is:



  1. Some authors think it can be said that something like an actual asemic “movement” is rapidly (or slowly?) growing. Do you think so? Or do you think there’s simply a wide constellation of different individuals, far from being defined a movement?

I believe there is a movement, it’s global, and it’s happening on Facebook, Tumblr, many blogs, and is starting to happen in bricks-n-mortar art galleries too. I am not sure when it started or where it will end. Sometimes It seems so large that there is no one clear definition of what asemic writing is or will become. There is a perfect storm of new technology and old technology being shuffled like a deck of cards and asemic writing is caught up in the mix; computers combined with abstract calligraphy make for very potent art/writing Magic! I agree with:



  1. Anthologies, exhibits and web pages collect very different kinds of asemic works. Some of them resemble scribbles and calligraphy, so they fit the definition of “writing”. Others do not, since they include recognizable letters and symbols, or abstract art. Do you think asemics can include these areas or not?

I prefer asemic writing to at least hint at writing but remain an enigma. If it becomes too much like abstract art or uses recognizable symbols or words, I lose interest. Most of the work I post on The New Post-literate resembles writing but isn’t, such as:



thanks to Michael Jacobson ||

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