Asemic Writing – A study


What is Asemic Writing?

Asemic Writing according to poet and asemic writing practitioner Tim Gaze, “is something which looks like a form of writing, but which you can’t read.”

Another practitioner, Michael Jacobson elaborates by saying “…that asemic writing is a shadow, impression, and abstraction of conventional writing.”

“It uses the constraints of writerly gestures and the full developments of abstract art to divulge its main purpose: total freedom beyond literary expression,” he said.

Gaze and Jacobson published a book together called an An Anthology of Asemic Handwriting. 2013


Henri Michaux, Narration (an excerpt) by Henri Michaux 1972

As Jacobson notes: “The forms that asemic writing may take are many, but its main trait is its resemblance to ‘traditional’ writing—with the distinction of its abandonment of specific semantics, syntax, and communication.”

– See more at:

Traditional English writing /calligraphy looks like this…


Asemic writing as an abstract calligraphy


International Forms and Practice

Asemic writing is also international and mimics different languages and to great extent…


Institution: China Art Gallery
Location: Beijing, China
Materials: Mixed media installation / Hand-printed books and scrolls printed from blocks inscribed with ”false” characters.

Book from the Sky is an installation that took Xu Bing over four years to complete. A Book from The Sky is comprised of printed volumes and scrolls containing four thousand ”false” Chinese characters invented by the artist and then painstakingly hand-cut onto wooden printing blocks.


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