Making Sense of Nonsense: Asemic Writing and Multilingualism in the Digital Age
University of Salford
Dr Judy Kendall
Dr Szilvia Naray-Davey
Dr Kostas Arvanitis
Asemic writing is a wordless form of writing with open semantic interpretation. Effectively, asemic writing is any marks on a medium that remind the viewer of writing. The practice of “illegible writing” has been documented in several cultures, but it was only in 1997 that the word asemic was first used by visual poets Tim Gaze and Jim Leftwich to describe this form of writing. This project seeks to investigate the impact rapid digitalisation had on this experimental poetry form – at a time when many around the world were switching from handwriting to keyboards.
As a speaker and reader of multiple languages, I am intrigued by asemic writing’s ability to mimic the appearance of viewing a foreign language for the first time. Rapid digitalisation has amplified the disparity in how languages are represented, documented, and archived. Many websites are available in English only, and with foreign language websites often utilising coding languages with English elements.
I will be conducting archiving research and I will be interviewing asemic writers to document their poetics. This is a practice-led project. It is hoped by intertwining my poetry with my critical thesis that this project will require the reader/view to question their use of language and technology.
History and Impacts of the Telephone and