It looks like writing, but we can't quite read it.
I call works like this "asemic writing".
Asemic writing seems to be a gigantic, unexplored territory.
Asemic writing has been made by poets, writers, painters, calligraphers, children, and scribblers, all around the world. Most people make asemic writing at some time, possibly when testing a new pen.
Educators talk about children going through distinct stages of "mock letters", "pseudowriting" and so on, when they're learning to write. Many of us made asemic writing before we were able to write words.
Looking at asemic writing does something to us. Some examples have pictograms or ideograms, which suggest a meaning through their shape. Others take us for a ride along their curves. We like some, we dislike others.
They tend to have no fixed meaning. Their meaning is open. Every viewer can arrive at a personal, absolutely correct interpretation.
Asemic writing has been presented by means of books, paintings, scrolls, single pages, mailed envelopes, walls, cinema, television and computers, particularly via the internet.
Henri Michaux, who wrote the piece up above, was a poet and a writer and a painter.
Asemic magazine is devoted to this area. Please check out:
Some of the artists' addresses have changed since publication.
Asemic #4 is a 100 page perfect-bound book.
Price: $17.50 within Australia, $21.50 (Australian) outside Australia, including airmail delivery.
To order a copy, please send a cheque or money order in Australian dollars to Tim Gaze at:
P O Box 1011
If you’re curious to discover more works in this tradition of illegible writing or wordless writing, please try any of the following in your favourite search engine:
Guy de Cointet
Jean Dubuffet dessins
Max Ernst Maximiliana
Kruchenykh Kruchonykh zaum
Ungno Lee letter abstracts
André Masson automatic drawings
Henri Michaux alphabets narrations
J B Murray J B Murry
Hélène Smith Martian
Austin Osman Spare sigils
Taoist magic diagrams
Made Wianta calligraphy period
Zhang Xu Crazy Zhang wild cursive
Compiled by Tim Gaze tg @ asemic.net
Hosted by HereNow Solutions
Kiitoksia Jukka-Pekka Kervinen
a "no frills" website