Asemia: A Semiotics of the Illegible
by Michael Betancourt



  1. Introduction

            Since the 1980s an approach to semiosis has emerged that understands it not as the predetermined manipulation of signs and meaning, but as the interpretation of ambiguous and ambivlanet cues recognized in perception, organized by past experience, and dependent upon established expertise. While this model/approach supports the extension of semiotics to non-lexical forms (such as images and music), it also enables new insights into lexia through its implicit illumination of marginalia and liminal forms such as asemic poetry whose consideration is instructive in confronting foundation and formative dimensions of the semic process. The displacement of stable and assumptive coding in favor of a perceptual ambiguity as the stating point for semic order reveals that the act of communication creates a tautology by presupposing that there is discrete information that is subject to encoding. It demonstrates the assumption that the process of communication itself only entails varying degrees of decipherment to recover that information in the form of the message.

            The broad, general category of “asemics” describe a range of works executed in a variety of visual art and poetic traditions, including “Wild Style” in Graffiti Art, Glitch Art, asemic poetry, and typoetry that all force an acknowledgement of the gap between the distinct activities of ‘recognition of known order (such as language),’ and the encoding/decoding that defines communication, facilitating the consideration of sign formation processes; all varieties of asemics identify their marking as-lexical, but block interpreting them as having a discrete meaning defined by stable encoding, distinguishing what are typically closely knit activities that mutually support semiosis, but whose normative use simultaneously obstructs their distinction. “Asemic poetry” specifically offers an expansive field for analysis, opening up the semic process for examination by excavating issues of lexical form cued via physically present features identified in perception that begin as graphic markings, but which rapidly and unproblematically transform into language. These dots, strokes, lines, and hash marks are mediated by past experience, encultured knowledge, to become language; this recognition presupposes encoded information and communication, even if it remains unknown. However, the practices of asemic poetry interrupt these operations and bring the role of those encultured cues into consciousness as the focus of poetic modulation. Unlike visual poetry which manipulates the graphic nature of typed or written language as a vehicle for expression (leaving the identification of letters, words, and language intact and unproblematic), all varieties of asemia focus on the interface between graphic markings and language, developing expressions that emerge from the mediation of consciousness upon the recognition of encoding itself.

            An assumption of reciprocity defines the encoding process. The identification of signs (and their explicit construction as encoded expressions), no matter how brief the gap between utterance and encounter, requires both encoder and decoder to share a rubric of known forms and meanings in common. Communication emerges from both parties to the expression applying a flexible but convergent set of rules to achieve a consensus on the information communicated. The Shannon-Weaver Model for communication [Figure 1] describes these relationships while recognizing the role of “noise” in identifying the signs themselves, giving it a utility for distinguishing asemia in relation to more typical, traditional texts. Communication requires both the encoder and decoder to share a rubric of known forms and meanings in common, applying a flexible set of rules to achieve a consensus on what the text states. Even for an unknown language, these assumptive frameworks are operative in defining the regularity and ordering of signs, but in asemia those assumptions become problematic as the cues themselves are  ambiguous, ambivalent, or absent. This instability allows the recognition as-language, but blocks the shift to consider questions of encoding/decoding.

            The challenge to the reader that asemic works innately present matches that posed by any unknown language: the recognition of cues suggesting signification, but without a corresponding mnemonic link to past experiences that render those cues as symptoms of a specific encoding. In posing this recognition-without-signification, asemic poetry acts to isolate the non-signifying features of written language as distinct expressions, collapsing distinctions in a way that Michel Foucault implied would destroy the encultured protocols essential for meaning:

  • The statement is neither a syntagma, nor a rule of construction, nor a canonic form of succession and permutation; it is that which enables such groups of signs to exist, and enables these rules or forms to become manifest. But although it enables them to exist, it does so in a special way—a way that must not be confused with the existence of signs as elements of a language (langue), or with the material existence of those marks that occupy a fragment of space or last for a variable length of time.[1]


Foucault’s proposal is not difficult to grasp—it is an analysis where the destabilization of meaning created by asemic violence to signification results in a collapse, an abyssal of signification. Yet this is not what happens with these works. Instead of a failure to convey meaning, these works are instances of a poetic metalanguage where the structures and mechanisms of significance themselves become subject to poetical articulation, deflection, recombination. This difference separates visual and concrete poetry from the contemporary asemic poem. Their distinctions lie with the reader’s capacity to identify familiar lettering in visual poetry (and even words) a factor that is absent in asemic works—this suspension/repression of identifications of encoding that distinguishes these genres.

            However, the shared and conventional nature of encoding that defines communication is as much an assumption as the belief that the communication conveys information of some type; both beliefs are masked by the element of “noise” that disrupts the communication process, creating interference around the identification of signs. The designation of “noise” as extraneous and anterior to the communication process, as a disruption to be eliminated, necessarily conceives the sign as a unit in itself, rather than as an emergent property created through past experience: the differential between “signal” and “noise” becomes ambiguous at the interface between these designations. Asemic poetry explores a specific problem of syntagmatics[2]—that ‘statements’ are structured by established codes which must be known a priori—as an explicit aspect of their articulation. They propose understanding encoding as both an emergent product and object of unencoded, primary articulations that distinguish between “signal” and “noise” which allow the recognition of signs as encoded phenomena.[3] The “coding” of asemic poetry is an invention of the viewer—it is what defines it as-language rather than as-graphics—“finding” meaning is actually imposing order, transforming these shapes and markings into elements of writing or typography. This autonomous, uncontrolled, and invisible process defines the impacts of the ‘intentional function’ in shaping semiosis by transforming mere matter into vehicles for expression.


  1. Modernist Design Paradigms

            Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press is the first disruptive technology, presaging the automation of the industrial revolution, but because it happened in the fifteenth century at a time of general illiteracy, it is less a model for the transformations created by machinery than a premonition of them.[4] His print press begins a process that distances the procedures of textuality from the act of writing: standardized letterforms eliminate the personal idiosyncrasies of script, composition, and illumination, separating the visual dimension from lexicality. This distinction between concerns with the expressiveness of graphics versus the signification of texts (or typography) are implicit in the historical lineage of Constructivist design and formalist approaches to Modernism. The twentieth century’s concerns for lexicality in the presentation of texts, a foundational dimension of graphic design, conceives texts as “transparent” vehicles for communication. This Modernist paradigm attacks and denigrates the expressiveness produced through textual visuality exploited by both visual and asemic poetry,[5] reflected in the invention of graphic design in the 1920s that enshrined the legibility that asemic poetry questions as a primary element of written communication. Jan Tschichold’s The New Typography (1926) whose axioms of legibility and clarity rely on the technical possibilities of mechanical reproduction and presentation make this communicative assumption for written language explicit[6] Beatrice Warde’s The Crystal Goblet (1955)[7] echoes Tschichold’s demand, axiomatically requiring meaning to become an independent feature of writing, separate from the expressive role of design and presentation. Written language for this Modernist field maximizes the integrity of letterforms and demands an “invisibility” for their presentation: they seek to become what Warde termed “transparent.”[8] Her demands anticipate Paul Rand’s comment that “visual communications of any kind, whether persuasive or informative, from billboards to birth announcements, should be seen as the embodiment of form and function.”[9] This Modernist insistence on legibility as the axiomatic principle for graphic design separates the “palpability of signs” from their consideration as mere objects.[10] For this Modernist paradigm, the transition from hand writing to mechanical typography was merely a transposition, a change of presentation, that leaves the contents—the meaning of the language thus presented—intact.

            The priority for “transparency” in Modernist graphic design meant the composition and arrangement of elements so that they vanish into a natural lexical recognition, i.e. are maximally legible.[11] The materiality of handwriting and physical manipulations of typography are potential challenges to this idealized communicative activity for language, offering instead a range of dimensions that are expressive in parallel to phonic, grammatical, and lexical levels.[12] The basic premise that the transition from hand writing to mechanical typography is merely a transposition, a change of presentation, that leaves the contents—the meaning of the language being composed—intact. This axiomatic claim provides a context for understanding the contemporary decline of handwriting and non-mechanical text[13] as the culmination of this centuries-old process of transition from the manual to the mechanical. The standardization that mechanical printing necessarily entails acts to eliminate the idiosyncratic expressions of the personal from the composition of the page, leaving only the material trappings offered by vocabulary and the specifics of phrasing: authorial “voice” replaced a literal authorial “hand” in the identification of texts: printed materials can provide material for collage and reassembly, and the hand-drawn necessarily stands in counterpoint to the mechanically reproduced. These formalist approaches to written materials conceive them as an impediment to conveying their meaning: replacing the ambivalent and idiosyncratic hand lettering with the fixed nature of typography maximizes the regularity of letterforms, thus increasing the legible transparency of reading, and the “invisibility” of graphic design, which then becomes a formalist practice purifying itself by eliminating the shared qualities of visuality that design and typography have in common with visual art; writing was one of the first technologies to be impacted by technological change via the printing press—a automated process of reproduction and systemic reproducibility for writing that utterly eliminated the illuminated manuscript and the handiwork of the scribe, as Marshal McLuhan noted:

  • Typography as the first mechanization of handicraft is itself the perfect instance not of a new knowledge, but of applied knowledge. … For it cannot be sufficiently explained that the mechanization of the ancient handicraft of the scribe was itself “applied” knowledge. And the application consisted in the visual arresting and splitting up of the scribal action. That is why, once this solution [the printing press] to the problem of mechanization was worked out, it could be extended to the mechanizing of many other actions.[14]


Hand production was supplanted by the operations of machinery and the typographer. The asemic belongs to a lineage where an insistence on being hand-made, manually written, uniquely produced challenges this centrality for machine reproduction (no matter how the work is actually distributed to readers). As the traditional assumptions of encultured and learned aspects of lexical engagement disappear from the consideration of asemic compositions, what remains is the essential role of semic knowledge as the mediators of an ‘intentional function’ that recognizes language itself. Both asemic and visual poetry violate the pristine printed page, a rejection of the mechanical reproduction’s potential polish in favor of productions that announce their physical assembly by hand: they are products of human activity, rather than artifacts of mechanization.

            Ironically, communication becomes disembodied, separated from the physical materials that cue its encounter by this lineage and its Modernist development. Acknowledging these conceptual restraints is instructive for recognizing how they have shaped semiotic theory by encouraging and justifying a rejection of the visual/graphic nature of language. The idealized goal of graphic design to achieve maximal legibility belongs to these attempts to render text without expressive addition from visual composition or typography render the graphic aspects of perception as examples of what the Shannon-Weaver Model identifies as “noise,” allowing the reader to perceive only the <<signifieds>> and meaning of texts, rather than the expressive dimensions created by their presentation. The avoidance of perception and visuality in the semiotics of textuality reiterate these ideological biases. By arguing that type arrangement must achieve maximal legibility,[15] Modernist graphic design attacks and denigrates the expressiveness produced through textual visuality that defines asemia.[16] These demands for legibility and clarity consistently act to separate interpretive and encoded significance from the material vehicle of its presentation.[17] The role of visual arrangement and construction, not only of the letterforms themselves, but also their placement on the page, vanishes except as a negative feature (“noise”) obstructing the achievement of a maximally legible presentation.[18] Modernist graphic design enshrives the essential legibility of the written text, but simultaneously causes the semiotic and critical analysis of typography and visual design to be rarely considered as semic expressions, as design theorist Joanna Drucker explains:

  • In the twentieth century, mainstream philosophy famously takes what is referred to as “the linguistic turn” […] but shockingly, totally absent from those accounts is any attention to the visual or material properties of language. No matter where one looks in the texts of Frege, Carnap, Wittgenstein, or Saussure, the materiality, and in particular the visual quality of written language goes unmentioned.[19]


Visuality and its ambivalences are commonly rejected as “noise” to eliminate, a conception that leaves them invisible to consideration and theoretical examination. This emphasis on meaning in writing is a concern with ‘mind’ rather than ‘body,’ a separation of significance from its vehicle of presentation—typography. Omitting the material form of writing is a common lapse in both semiotics and art history, one which has masked the central role of the ‘intentional function’ in the apperceptual sorting between image and text. Although the role of letterforms, arrangement and formal presentation is a common element of both communication and construction, these “visual or material properties of language” receive almost no theoretical considerations; however, these nonsignifying elements are what produces the legibility and enables the lexical transparency central to Modernist design.

             What might be paratextual aspects of presentation[20] for other types of poetic text whose legibility is unquestioned become the expressive focus in visual and asemic poetry, which separate one identification (language presence) from another (lexical interpretation), revealing their reliance on an earlier autonomous and unintentional imposition of order are common aspects of visual and asemic poems equally. Canadian poet Derek Beaulieu’s visual poetry collection Kern creates visual poems created using the hand-transfer lettering of Letraset that remain legibile as-lettering despite graphic arrangements the defy their composition into words. The legibility and clarity common to the Modernist heritage of graphic design, but reliant on mechanical reproduction and presentation, are the implicit referents in the illegibility of handwriting employed by asemic poetry. As the encultured and learned aspects of lexical engagement disappear from consideration, the essential acquisition of semic knowledge of terms and their uses is also attenuated. The collaging and assembling of torn printing, as well as the pictorial arrangement of letters themselves (such as the myriad works owing their composition to the transfer lettering of Letraset) are oppositional practices to the hegemony of the machine (printing) that challenge the idealized legible presentation of language that was definitional for Modernist graphic design, offering instead asemia whose range of expressive dimensions parallel familiar phonic, grammatical, and lexical morphologies.[21] The fragmentary and collage lettering appearing in Cecil Touchon’s asemic poems are a synecdoche evoking these letter’s completion, and distinguishing his works from the chipped and broken lettering of Beaulieu’s visual poetry in Kern. Their capacity to remain stable as partial letterforms equally defines their use as overlapping and repeated lettering in compositions by Hansjörg Mayer and Robert Ives: the palimpsest may be illegible, but the underlying coherence of the lettering as-letters does not come into question. In being broken into pieces their unitary existence is affirmed, if absent. These assumptions about the integrity of lettering and legibility are maintained in both asemic and visual poetry. The ways these compositions maintain the integrity of their letterforms allows the ‘gaping holes’ Flusser describes to become literal ruptures whose recognition as letters restores them to a familiar and stable configuration. It is a clandestine return, an “alegibility,” where the recognition as-language depends on the reader identifying material cues as broken, layered, and partial letters, allowing the materiality of handwriting and physical manipulations of broken and fragmentary typography to converge in an identification where their unitary existence as-language is affirmed, even if they remain illegible and ambivalent.

            The irregularities of torn paper, the chipped and imperfect lettering of Letraset transfers, the idiosyncrasies of handwriting (even when semic) are all physical distinctions whose recognition evokes its more familiar alternative, the commonplace perfection of mechanically reproduced typography whose letters and words are inscribed by a machine upon the page. The spectrum of identifications between visuality and legibility suggested by these works evokes a range of expressions whose potential interpretations are not inherently fixed, but can be differentiated by their degrees of identification as-language. Asemic poetry makes these dimensions of expressive poetics obvious. Following the earlier precedent of Dadaist sound poems where nonsense syllables suggests words that are not, asemia engages in expressive nonsense and the play made possible by breaching the link to familiar and known writings, as asemic poet Rosaire Appel notes:

With the nonspecificity of asemic writing there comes a vacuum of meaning which is left for the reader to fill and interpret. All of this is similar to the way one would deduce meaning from an abstract work of art.[22]


There are thoughts in asemia—it’s the words that become questionable. This poetry of inchoate expression divorces signification from the signifying process to leave only <<empty signs>> identified by their ‘intentional function,’ allusive and rich with implications, yet having no fixed meaning, known articulation, or particular lexis. Where both visual and concrete poetry explore the expressive potentials of lettering and atypical compositions on the page, the asemic is more directly concerned with the moments of hesitation between identifications of lexicality from the purely visual, demonstrating how problems in the identification of written language differ from those specific to the “universe of discourse” in verbalized speech. When considering the role of materiality in concrete, visual, or asemic poetry, only the asemic is an explicitly metalinguistic poetics whose expressions insistently return to the imagistic aspects of language to challenge any assumption of a stable and reliable writing separate from how audiences resolve its perceptual ambivalence. Embracing the pictorial and assaulting familiar legibility are tactical moves that makes a consideration of the ‘asemic’ useful as a confrontation of the ‘intentional function’ as a choice that brings the reversibility of text with/into image into consciousness, a decision that identifies when to interpret a series of marks as-if they were encoded, allowing their understanding as-language.[23]

            The ‘liberation’ that theorist Peter Schwenger ascribes to the emergence of asemic writing in the 1990s has ample precedents in the semiotic theories of Umberto Eco and the critiques of authorship advanced in the 1960s and 1970s by a diverse range of thinkers, including Derrida and Foucault. The ambivalence of language employed by poet and their audience depend on a mutual acknowledgement of the poetic construction that brings these semiotics into the realm of psychology[24]—both parties to the poetic utterance remain constantly aware of the metaphorical character employed by ambivalent apprehension and engagement that all interpretations must address—the “normal,” the “abnormal,” and the “poetic.”[25] Semiotic theory, rather than positing a fixed and immutable framework of signs and meaning, instead began to describe a field of potentials that readers navigate through past experience and making interpretive “bets” about what is and is not encoded, as well as which systems of decoding might be appropriate to address their encounter.[26] These approaches are familiar in academic discourse and directly identify the kinds of semiosis fostered by asemic and visual poetry, as the asemic poet Tim Gaze has noted.[27]

            However, neither visual nor asemic poetry are a direct reflection of an automatic antipathy to technology; they are a resentiment from the “torn rags of lines with gaping holes in between”[28] that philosopher Vilém Flusser identifies with the death knell of hand written language: his analysis evokes the fragmentation and collaging of type-elements by Hansjörg Mayer, Robert Ives, or Cecil Touchon as much as it does the fragmentation and illegibility of asemic writing by Marco Giovenale, Scott Helmes, or Tim Gaze. Each poet deploys common strategies that transform language into visuality, drawing attention to the instability of its articulation—establishing that visual art, written language, and typography belong to related kinds of visuality distinguished not by a formal distinction, but an interpretive one defined by semiotics and the ambivalences of sign formation. The interpretive transition from consideration of something in perception as-image into its recategorization as-lexicality brings the immanent recognitions of language into view, cued by non-signifying recognitions associated with previous encounters with lexical forms.


  1. A Lineage Rejecting Automation

            The assumed opposition between poetry and machinery that is characteristic of works produced since the start of the industrial revolution in the eighteenth century produces a significant aesthetic paradigm that informs the contemporary emergence of asemic poetry. The Romantic poet William Blake’s revival of the illuminated book at the conclusion of the eighteenth century anticipates the systematic medievalism by William Morris[29] and the various Arts and Crafts movements[30] inspired by John Ruskin’s objections to industrialization,[31] as design historian Wendy Kaplan noted: “manual training was both a reaction against industrialization and a response to it.”[32] The ideological basis of these developments informs the interpretation, development, and role for hand-writing in asemic poetry: the embrace of the digital tools (machine production) for distribution and reproduction of hand-made lettering serves to emphasize the human handiwork in their construction. In this regard it is a progression that mirrors that of the transition from the revenant medievalism of Morris’s Art and Crafts studios to the avant-garde embrace of the machine in the 1910s and ’20s. The elements of this transition are already apparent, if not systematically developed, in asemic publications such as the “collaborative graphic novel” A Kick in The Eye that is filled with digital images of various types. However, those pages that are clearly made by converting handwriting into digital vectors[33] make the digital basis of the work more than merely incidental to the process of publication. By transposing the irregularities of the hand drawn into the sharply defined linearity of digital design, these asemic pages suggest a fusion of mechanical typography with the instabilities of hand writing, developments that are at the same time a contemporary reanimation of a pre-Gutenbergian aesthetic order. The lineage of industrial refusal connects Ruskin, who rejected the same industrial factory apparent in Blake’s work as a moral fixative for the impacts of industrialization, to the contemporary asemic poets through their mutual emphasis on traditional handicraft (hand writing). Recognizing this lineage and the ideology it suggests—especially the refusal of distinctions between high art and low craft, and the use of structural forms as decoration—brings the development of asemic poetry into a lineage of aesthetics that are a response to the autonomous machine—a heritage that also accounts for the Modernist relegation of these liminal forms to being marginalia, (as well as the general disengagement from questions of typographics within semiotic theory during the twentieth century).

            Asemic poetry belongs to a lineage of artistic actions challenging or opposing mechanical and automated systems. The commonplace dominance of the hand-written in asemic poetry orients the their expressive construction in two linked ways: first aesthetically, to those Romantic challenges to the autonomous processing of machinery (expanded to include digital computers), while simultaneously maintaining their expressive link to the traditional aesthetics of the illuminated manuscript: visual poetry and asemic writing stand on territory defined, either explicitly or implicitly, by the operations and techniques of machinery and automation. The observations in Art for the Millions by Holger Cahill, (Director of the WPA in the 1930s and curator of several exhibitions of American Folk Art at the Museum of Modern Art in New York), identifies the changes imposed by industrialization on the arts:

I do not think that we have weighed sufficiently the meaning of the change from a handicraft to a machine method of production, probably the most revolutionary change in the history of human society. Its effect upon the arts has been catastrophic. It has divorced the artist from the usual vocations of the community and has practically shut off the average man from the arts.[34]


His explicit statement that the use of machinery acts to sever art and artists from both their traditions and community is an expression of the same disdain expressed by Ruskin almost a century earlier; they reveal the continuing influence of the Arts and Crafts movement on the development of art in the United States generally, a heritage that informs the emphasis on handcraft and manual assemblage in asemic poetry. The Contemporary ascendance of asemic poetry is a symptom of these ‘Luddistic’ tendencies to oppose automation, resurfacing in response to the digital computer and the invention of autonomous production. Asemic poetry emerges at the inception point of these technologies becoming commonplace, an implicit response to their threat to further displace human handicraft. Peter Schwenger describes these aesthetics without identifying them explicitly in his study, Asemic, The Art of Writing:

  • Asemic writing made look “miseffectual” because illegible; but it has effects that are different from those of conventional communicative writing. […] The timing of this liberatory movement is significant, for it comes at a point of crisis for writing, understood as material and handwritten. Writing today is almost invariably done by keyboarding rather than by an instrument moving across a blank paper surface.[35]


Although the typewriter is an invention of the nineteenth century, it is not this mechanism that “keyboarding” describes, but the use of word processing on a digital computer, a technology that appeared during the 1980s. Putting these developments in a historical context and situating them within an on-going response to mechanical systems is not a criticism of asemia and contemporary varieties of visual poetry, but rather an acknowledgement of their relationship to earlier debates over technical apparati: this description of a ‘decline countered by artistic endeavor’ precisely matches the purposes and activities of William Morris and his followers since the nineteenth century. The initial appearance of asemic work in particular—the term was coined in 1990s along with the internet’s ability to connect various and otherwise isolated practitioners internationally–coincides with the general transition from mechanical typewriters to digital computers and the shift from physical to electronic documents. The haptic embrace Peter Schwenger identifies in asemia can be understood as resentiment of the repressed materiality o fwriting and language, or as a reactive assertion of poetics-as-physicality, yet it cannot be put out of view that these works are all uniformly reproduced, shared, and commonly experienced not as physical objects but as digital ones via a screen or digital print out.

            This relationship of visual and asemic poetry to automation via the lineage of Romanticism and the Arts and Crafts movement is a surprise: the distinction of poetry from the operations and technical processes of industrial production and mechanical reproducibility are superficially stark. This aesthetic heritage informs propositions by visual poet Niko Vassilakis about the stability of letterforms and their presentation:

  • I see no reason to destroy word, I simply want to undo word so the letters become revealed. Letters gather in a preword formation, free to move about and explore before they are forced to line up an take their place in a word sequence. I see letters as ingredients without which words would not exist.[36]


The distinction between letters arrayed without clear linguistic composition and the production of fragmentary, unknown, ambivalent shapes that evoke lettering distinguishes the nonlexial arrangement of letters in both concrete and visual poetry from the asemic challenge to coherence. It identifies two otherwise incompatible approaches to lexical expressions without semiosis. These varieties of poetic expressions create different aesthetic and interpretive problems for their consideration, but only the asemic specifically addresses the foundational recognitions of being-language created via the ‘intentional function’—asemic writing reveals this assumptive positing of linguistic form as a fixed but immutable framework imposing signs and meaning on perception. The distinction between typography and drawn lettering becomes a salient feature of these developments since the stability of typography implies a standardization of cues made possible by mechanical systems, and which the human gesture (hand written lettering) fundamentally destabilizes.

            This process of opening the lexical identification onto a field of potentials that renders past experience and fluency as exemplars of what semiotician Roy Harris has called interpretive “bets”[37] about what is and is not encoded. Handwriting already draws attention to this process directly through its distinctions from mechanically repetitive and fixed forms of lettering; asemia augment and emphasize that deviance as a vehicle for expressiveness drawing attention to how the recognition of lettering—in any arrangement or compositional organization—constrains interpretations to only those systems of decoding that might be appropriately used to address that encounter. The typical progress from the identification as-language to resolving the questions of signs formation are an invisible process that asemic interrupts What happens prior to <<sign>> construction becomes apparent, unmasking the role of an ‘intentional function’ by the reader in making their recognition of legible lettering. The identification of these graphics as-lexical, but lacking in semic encoding provides an opportunity for a direct engagement with typically hidden processes, offering a glimpse of a ‘meta-semiosis ‘ that directly accesses the cues a designating the presence of encoding—asemic poetry empties lexia of meaning while retaining the <<sign>> creation process that defines the recognition of being-lexical. This productive action informs asemic poet Federico Federici’s commentary on his own work in Biophysique Asémique:

  • Writing is a kind of factory. The universe is its first and last home. […] Writing consists in increasing the independence of the word in relation to its surroundings and in such a way that the writing is born naturally. […] The reception of the message supposes the study of the very act of reception as an irreversible and unbalanced process of transition of the receiving system from a less stable state to a more stable state.


Federici’s observations develop general implications in quantum theory and quantum logic suggesting their extension semiotically,[38] articulating a process where experiences becoming <<signs>> depends upon the audience’s interactions with them. This discursive approach to perceptual ambivalence identifies the kinds of semiosis fostered by concrete, visual and asemic poetry.[39] The productive dimensions of language are an act of imposing order on a chaotic and unstable reality. This magical change is something of a stage illusion. The recognition of words and language justified through the ‘intentional function’ converts this ambiguous and inconsistent encounter into something defined and superficially precise: the identification of language is an act of creation that changes the nature of what is encountered, rendering it as information, and thus suggesting the meanings expressed via language transcend mundane physicality by evoking a state of information as a purely immaterial realm. The ambivalence of language employed by poets and their audiences depends on a mutual acknowledgement of the poetic construction that brings these semiotics into the realm of psychology[40]—these recognitions are exactly and undeniably a product of the act of reception: both parties to the poetic utterance remain constantly aware of the metaphorical character employed by ambivalent apprehension and engagement that all interpretations must address—the “normal,” the “abnormal,” and the “poetic.”[41] It depends on the organization produced by the reader who both knows and recognizes <<signs>>—their transcendence is an illusion, a category mistake where the internal knowledge of the reader is mistaken for an external stimulus independent of their interpretative facture. The <<sign>> is not a feature of the environment, but a product of how the audience interprets that encounter, revealing that the perception and recognition of “transcendence” created by poetic expressions is an imposed ordering governed by convention and past experience.

            The term for these <<signs–without–signifieds>> that concern Federici and Vassilakis is “asemic,” and their aesthetic and expressive presentation is common to all varieties of visual poetry, which require their ‘readers’ to consider the imagistic aspects of language—to look at the words and letters to comprehend their meaning, rather than to see through them (ignoring their visuality) as so often happens in the semiosis of text; the readerly meaning of words is no longer their sole dimension of significance. However, the specific subtype of visual poetry, the “asemic poem,” systematically tears the magical convergences of intention and expression asunder, exposing their transcendence as nothing more than masked refractions of the ‘intentional function’ in lexical semiosis: the ‘intentional function’ demarcates the moment of this transformation from mute experience into expressive significance as an autonomous, uncontrolled and invisible process linked to the orderly apperception of ‘the real,’ a linkage that gives /intent/ its superficial independence from thought and “reality” in the world. It is what makes human agency appear to have a special valence that transforms mere matter into vehicles for meaning. The specific category of “asemic poetry” has developed in two distinct, mutually exclusive varieties. Those first type, compositions produced by poets such as Rosaire Appel, Michael Jacobson, or Marco Giovenale emphasizes material construction/fragmentation and gestural elements (as well as the hand-made recreation and evocation of mechanical operations such as the printed page). These asemic works are categorically different than the forms of asemic writing discussed by Roland Barthes as “contra-écriture” where typos and misspellings create momentary lapses in lexicality.[42] The poet Geof Huth’s pwoermds present this second type of asemic poetry via instances of what poet Bob Grumman termed “infra-verbal” or “pluraesthetic poetry.”[43] These novel configurations of lettering evoke the fundamental dichotomy of <<signs>> and /objects/ that Roman Jakobson’s ‘poetic function’ emphasizes.[44] The intentional recognition of poetry derives from the reader understanding the formative elements of the work as signifiers in themselves.[45] Familiar lexicality in an asemic poem violates the expected lexical construction upon closer examination. Huth’s terms such as “endge” or “woeird”[46] imply familiar signification in the same ways that Lewis Carroll’s portmanteau words in Jabberwocky do: they lack a clearly defined meaning, yet evoke one through their ‘family resemblance’ to other, known terms. The recognition of these asemic words, unlike Appel’s ambiguous writing, does not illuminate the role of the ‘intentional function’ in their interpretation because it has already been assumed—the identification of Huth’s pwoermds as-words is never in question. This difference in construction is a categorical separation between those asemic works whose linguistic identification is unstable, and those that are merely illegible or unintelligible. The role of these recognitions of cues indicating the potential presence of intentionally placed <<signs> in asemic poetry gives the formative basis for /intent/ a prominence and reflexive consciousness it otherwise lacks.


  1. Poeisis and Asemics

            Semiotician Roman Jakobson’s concerns with expressive, but formative dimensions of enunciations theorize the affective transformations that become the primary focus of asemic and visual poetics: the irregularities of torn paper, much like the chipped and imperfect lettering of Letraset designs, or the idiosyncrasies of handwriting (even when semic) are all physical distinctions whose recognition evokes its more familiar alternative, the commonplace perfection of mechanically reproduced typography: those letters and words inscribed by a machine upon the page, further separating the “palpability of signs” from the consideration of mere objects.[47] In his analysis of Blake’s poetics he disregards their presentation in illuminated manuscripts, focusing only on the abstract play of verbalized signs divorced from their inscription on the page.[48] The complexity and visual/graphic/lexical potentials of typography are an obvious omission from these established theories of semiotics and art history, even thought they are common to both communication and construction of texts.

            Those dimensions of written language that describe aspects of lexical structure apart from verbal construction, opening up dimensions of discourse that are typically ignored by ‘looking through’ the letters to consider their significance; the asemic interrupts this progression, thus forcing a consideration of the “letterforms” and their composition on the page: it is the pristine printed page that visual poetry violates, a rejection of the mechanical reproduction’s potential polish in favor of productions that announce their physical assembly by hand: that they are products of human activity, rather than artifacts of mechanization. It develops the fundamental dichotomy of signs and objects that Jakobson’s ‘poetic function’ emphasizes.[49]

            The recognition of poetry derives from the reader understanding the formative elements of the work have become signifiers in themselves[50]; for asemic and visual poetry, it is the material nature of language and its capacity for expression that are the primary focus, rather than the role of linguistic signs-as-meaningful utterances. Contemporary visual poetry and asemic writing develop this semiotic recognition, by emphasizing the material construction/fragmentation and the gestural human-arrangement of lexical elements (as well as the hand-made recreation and evocation of mechanical operations such as the printed page). Although there is no necessity for these works to correspond almost exclusively to the handmade expression, the conception of ‘asemic poetry’ as convergent with drawn, written and gestural marks revitalizes familiar, Romantic ideologies that prioritize evidence of human action as a demonstration of authenticity: even the ways that asemic poets such as Rosaire Appel create digital-but-handmade renditions of graphic compositions or frameworks, (and pixelate their gestural marks), does not counter this aesthetic tendency—it brings the human dimensions more clearly into consciousness by making the mismatch between the digitized and analogue gesture into a part of the works apprehension and poetical construction whose morphological devices employed in asemic poetry impact the recognition and arrangement of letter forms fall into several classes:

[1] Rendering lettering as partial, inhibiting their legibility by preventing their immediate recognition (division, fragmentation).

[2] Manipulations of perceptual cues (gestalt shapes, positive/negative reversals and simulation).

 [3] Combinatory effects that maintain the integrity of lettering (repetition, scale, mixture, arrangement, decoration, reversion).

The partial presentation of letterforms involve breaking the singular letter into pieces that remain recognizable as-lettering. This process of isolating and reassembling is one end of a spectrum bounded at the other by the manipulations of perceptual cues that identify lettering, but without that lettering being actually present. These devices allow asemic poetry to maintain a familiar expressive framework that emphasizes the action of human production—the gestural mark, irregular line, and torn, cracked, or broken letter—are all allusions to the physicality of writing.

            To look at poetry in these terms may seem anti-poetical, yet the investigation of visual and asemic works offers insights into the principles and semiosis of language generally—dimensions that are unquestionably germane to questions of poetics, especially when considering how the asemic acts to empty lexia of meaning while retaining the recognition of being-lexical. These material cues enframe the signification of ‘hand made’ in the same ways that visible hammer marks, and other signs of human manufacture became signifiers of authenticity for the Arts and Crafts Movement.

            The “visual or material properties of language” that are the immanent concern of concrete, visual, and asemic poetry reveal problems in the structure of written language, whether presented by hand or via typography, that differ from the how the “universe of discourse” is verbalized in speech. The consideration of this metalinguistic realm commonly proceeds without reference to the written word or the role of visuality in language; those poetics that insistently return to the imagistic aspects of language challenge any assumption of writing as a stable and reliable medium of expression separable from perceptual ambivalence. This insistent embrace of the pictorial in visual poetry and the assault on legibility in all asemic works are tactical moves that forcibly confront the limited parameters of semiotic theory and its neglect of perceptual form. Asemic poetry, perhaps even more than visual poetry, allows a consideration of how the ‘intentional function’ renders text, creating its understanding as-language[51]; this decision is what produces its legibility and enables the lexical transparency that was central to the Modernist approach.


  1. Recognitions of Language

            The audience’s identification of written language—either handwriting or typography—depends their established familiarity with written languages they can read. This recognition develops from a distinct and parallel mode of engagement from visual perceptions, one which asemic poetry exploits. The expressive dimension of an asemic work lies with how it modulates and avoids becoming lexically familiar. This absence of familiar lettering illuminates typical semic engagement and poetic encounters: the necessary agreement to look at expressive dimensions independent of the communicative (denoted) meaning of the signs themselves. It accentuates those elements employed in more traditional visual poetry where the graphic composition, placement, or arrangement of letters/words can become an expression about the text, as in Guillaume Apollinaire’s calligram La Pluie (The Rain) where the lines of text are presented as slanting lines running diagonally across the page in a suggestion of the rain described by the poem itself. For asemic works, this graphic dimension dominates the work to the exclusion of linguistic statement, inviting their consideration as visual art concerned with language, rather than as language addressing visual art, a reversal of typical expectations for the dynamic of text::image in visual poetry.

            The proposal by theorists Steven Knapp and Walter Benn Michaels of an impossible yet apparently written text—produced by an autonomous pattern on a beach that nevertheless resembles cursive writing—brings the central role for identifications of intentionality for the (proximate) recognition of language itself. The hypothetical situation they propose is a useful example of the ‘intentional function’ acting to cue an interpretation of markings as-if they were written language, an unintentional decision made that enables the constitution of the sign—allows an ascription of intentionality, thus beginning the chain of lexical semiosis:

Suppose that you’re walking along a  beach and you come upon a curious sequence of squiggles in the sand. You step back a few paces and notice that they spell out the following words:

            A slumber did my spirit seal;

            I had no human fears:

            She seemed a thing that could not feel

            The touch of earthly years.

This would seem to be a good case of intentionless meaning: you recognize the writing as writing, you understand what the words mean, you may even identify them as constituting a rhymed poetic stanza—and all this without knowing anything about the author [William Wordsworth] and indeed without needing to connect the words to any notion of an author at all. You can do all these things without thinking of anyone’s intention. But now suppose that, as you stand gazing at this pattern in the sand, a wave washes up and recedes, leaving in its wake (written below what you now realize was only the first stanza) the following words:

            No motion has she now, no force;

            She neither hears nor sees;

            Rolled round in earth’s diurnal course,        

            With rocks, and stones, and trees.

One might ask whether the question of intention still seems as irrelevant as it did seconds before. You will now, we suspect, feel compelled to explain what you have just seen. Are these marks mere accidents, produced by the mechanical operation of the waves on the sand (through some subtle and unprecedented process of erosion, percolation, etc.)? Or is the sea alive and striving to express its pantheistic faith? Or has Wordsworth, since his death, become a sort of genius of the shore who inhabits the waves and periodically inscribes on the sand his elegiac sentiments?[52]


This hypothetical begins with what seems a commonplace: the recognition of words written in the sand that becomes uncanny—but even this uncanny aspect depends on the expectations for the action of waves on the sand by the viewer: the sense that these words should not be, at least not as they’re being presented. Yet none of the potentials offered to account for this appearance of writing comfortably resolve their recognition, even if such an event may be possible in the same way that monkeys banging away at typewriters forever would eventually write everything that will ever be written.[53] And that happens precisely because of the ‘intentional function’ that converts the random marks and arrangements of sand and water to achieve this lexicality. To read the world as a text is only a problematic engagement if the reader believes such an approach is fallacious. To declare them accidental marks means that the ascription of intention to their appearance as lettering was a category error; but to do that also conflicts with the cultural recognition that the two stanzas of words are the entirety of the poem “A Slumber did my Spirit Seal” from the book Lyrical Ballads by William Wordsworth (published in 1800). This encounter is precisely an instance of the uncanny since it challenges the nature of intentional action, the identification of lexicality, and the role of the ‘intentional function’ in deciding that the marks are language at all. To render these hypothetical marks as words is to deny their visuality and random production, to ascribe to them some function of being-language. This choice by the imaginary reader involves the enframing of a section of the beach as distinct from the rest, and within that scope identifying these markings left by waves as lexical, rather than merely a visual pattern.

            These refusals of visuality inform Flusser’s negative assessment of mechanical systems of typography and language is a reversal of the Knapp-Michaels hypothetical. The human agency (assumed as the productive consciousness responsible for any text) emphasized in both this hypothetical and his analysis becomes a literal assault on the physicality and coherence of written and printed text in visual and asemic poetry. Ironically, the human agency employed effaces and problematizes the identification of an intent by drawing attention to the cues that identify it. The ‘intentional function’ is foregrounded in precisely the same way as in the Knapp-Michaels hypothetical writing.

            The mechanical reproducibility of language organized by/for an established heuristics (“design theory”) that theorizes type arrangement to achieve maximal legibility[54] attacks and denigrates the expressiveness produced through an embrace of textual visuality.[55] Modernist approaches to written language maximize the integrity of letterforms and the “invisibility” of their presentation: they seek a transparency where the reader perceives the meaning rather than its modality of presentation—typography, composition, imagery. For this theory, the transition from hand writing to mechanical typography is merely transposition, a change of presentation, that leaves the contents—the meaning of the language thus presented—intact. This Modernist purity in language separates significance from the material vehicle of its presentation, an eerie rejection that recalls both Descartes’ division of mind from body and the aura of the digital’s refusal to address the physical. The role of visual arrangement and construction, not only of the letterforms themselves, but also their placement on the page vanish except as a negative feature obstructing the achievement of a maximally legible presentation.[56]


  1. Generative Ordering

            Asemic poetry (and its common basis in the hand-made gesture) anticipated the emergence of AI generated texts by more than twenty years; yet the emergence of asemic writing provides insights into the philosophical question those texts raise about expression: these devices  arrange signs based on their past arrangements, rather than from the creation of new expressions. Because texts produced by AIs are not encoded, but products of statistical models highlight this ambivalence of signification through how the arrangement of terms is directly dictated by their previous configurations. What digital systems automate—an aspect of communication that demonstrates how comprehension of significance is separate from the identification of familiar constructions—is the most common configuration of terms, giving their manipulation and presentation to a human audience by an AI system the appearance of communication without requiring both parties to that act to understand what they do. AI systems can readily automate the determinative role processes which articulate cues into enunciations—an aspect of communication that demonstrates how the assumed comprehension of significance is separate from the arrangement of familiar constructions—which gives the emergence of asemics (and their common basis in the hand-made gesture) an additional valence within the tradition of human actions opposing mechanical and automated systems. Commonplace use of hand-writing in asemia orients the poetic construction in opposition to both the autonomous actions made possible by digital computers and maintains its link to the traditional aesthetics of the illuminated manuscript. The statistical parroting of communication by autonomous systems reveals the central role of the ‘intentional function’ for human interpretations in choosing to interpret as-if something encountered is also encoded language, giving considerations of the moment where signification begins—the initial recognition of <<signs>>—a critical urgency that brings the semiotic questions raised through asemic poetry an urgency for theoretical analysis they might otherwise lack.  The “encoding” produced by this arrangement is thus cannot be meaningful in the way that human expressions are meaningful—they are instead series of cues that match previous constructions, but without concern for their significance; i.e. calling these texts either “expressive” or “encoded” is in doubt. Consider this series of anagrams of the letters in “michael betancourt” with spaces added to facilitate reading:

Marcel touch Benita

butter on a chemical

I march a cuttlebone

abnormal tech cutie

automatic blencher

Homeric actable nut

atomic butch Arleen

Arctic beau menthol

retouchable mantic

cheater album tonic

mount each act libre

rat bounce acme hilt


Each of these statements is a selection from the thousands of potential permutations of the same set of letters. They produce recognizable words, but they do not produce coherent meaning, except perhaps in the allusive and open realm of poeisis. Their randomness demonstrates the rifts between coherent expressions, the recognition of <<signs>>, and their linkage with signification. These anagrams are selections from the results from a determinative, automated, rote process done without concern for nuances of signification; even when the statements appear to convey information, such as “Marcel touch Benita” or “butter on a chemical,” that communication is an illusion produced by the interpretive actions of the reader. This example encapsulates the problems posed by automated translation software which does not comprehend what is communicated, but simply matches elements within a vast database as this generation of anagrams simply matched arrangements of letters to existing and known words.


  1. Meaning and Interpretation

            Asemia reveal a poetics of metalanguage that makes their insistence on the human dimensions of enunciations cohere around questions of agency and the capacity of human intelligence to invent new forms—the approaches to judgment proposed by Immanuel Kant’s critique of pure reason:

The first alternative is rational and mathematical cognition through construction of the concept; the second is mere empirical (mechanical) cognition, which can never yield necessary and apodictic propositions. Thus I could indeed dissect my empirical concept of gold, and would gain from this nothing more than the ability to enumerate everything that I actually think in connection with this word; but although a logical improvement would thus occur in my cognition, no increase or addition would be gained in it.[57]


In withholding the determinative recognition that identifies a sign an matches its contextual use with past experience and established lexical expertise, the asemic specifically challenges the reader to acknowledge the invention inherent to the presentation. What is typically an accessory to the expression and presentation of the utterance becomes the sole focus, and the poetic function developed by these works becomes an exercise in rule creation rather than application—a creation that proceeds by unmasking the role of these established rules in the production of familiar lexicality. This distinction between familiar and recognized signs and the unfamiliar and defamiliarized presentations of asemic compositions is obvious from how the recognition of familiar letterforms dominates the appraisal of visual poetry. The totemic aspects of lettering are abundantly on display without the commonplace association with linguistic expression—the same experience of alterity that accompanies any unknown writing. The identification of semantic units without accompanying fluency results in ambiguity and ambivalence around their significance.

            Asemic poetry makes the solipsism of Kantian ‘invention’ apparent: in identifying each composition as language, but without an identification of significance, the reader is forced to understand the poem as a unique creation that renders their established knowledge of ‘rules’ moot. The meaning of these poetics depends entirely on the impositions of the reader precisely because there is not an a priori set of rules that enable their decoding. This uniqueness and independence is how the asemic disrupts established order; it is also what gives these works their solipsistic dimension. In being freed from familiar lexicality, they are inventions whose understanding and apprehension reveal that lexical constructions are limited and determinative in the sense that Kant describes.

            The collapse that asemia produces is an action of indistinction where the lexical and grammatical aspects of language trade places: the material arrangement of terms becomes the relational construction of meaning. This inversion is categorical. Shifting into metalanguage by withholding the material trappings of communication causes the grammatical aspects to assume the signifying role they would otherwise serve as vehicles for: the utterance becomes reflexive, and in doing so changes the subject of address to the nature of the code used to communicate. It is a changed state of consciousness about the status and organization of language that nevertheless falls within the scope of poetics precisely because it hesitates between being nothing more than a collection of visual markings and expressing an idea (which in this case falls within the lexical).

            The referential function of language is held in suspension, undermining the ascription of coding to the statement presented. As in typical poetic statements, the message offered by asemic poetry is ambiguous, but in a radically different way: the ‘speech within speech’ common to the quotational and allusive construction of poetry—a multiplication of referents—collapses this multiplicity into an immanent specificity of unknown but ambiguously familiar signs in an inversion of how poetics typically operate. A maximal ambiguity imposes an equally powerful mobility on articulation, unfixing the relationships of signifying and non-signifying, unifying the encoded/non-coded/pre-coded into a singular asemic unit. As metalinguistics dominate poetic enunciation, their expressive capacity comes untethered from the stability assured by linguistic fluency, in the process unmasking the formative elements that cue the entrance to semic order. The text thus becomes a mirror reflecting role of the reader as an imposer of significance on empirically present cues (the text) by employing their fluency and past experience as guides. These aspects of asemia provide more than merely experiential or anecdotal evidence for the sign formation process, they also enable its concerted and direct examination: the reader finds what they already know and understand in asemic texts, a presentation that exploits their capacities for fabulation and imagination rather than the more familiar mnemonic identifications of familiar signs. By truncating, interrupting, or disrupting these matches between encounter and past experience the asemic brings the innate ambivalence of all visual phenomena into consciousness as an eidolon—a projected gestalt that imposes coherent order on perception in a process that identifies and organizes linguistic recognition.

[1]Foucault, M. The Archaeology of Knowledge (New York: Pantheon, 1972) p. 88.

[2]Deleuze, G. Cinema 2: The Time-Image (Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press, 1989) pp. 25-26.

[3]Eco, U. A Theory of Semiotics (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1979) pp. 208-217.

[4]Eisenstein, E. The Printing Press as an Agent of Change (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 1980).

[5]Golden, W. The Visual Craft of William Golden, (New York: George Braziller, 1962) p. 21.

[6]Tschichold, J. The New Typography trans. Ruari McLean (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998).

[7]Warde B. The Crystal Goblet, Sixteen Essays on Typography (London: Sylvan Press, 1955).

[8]Warde B. The Crystal Goblet, Sixteen Essays on Typography (London: Sylvan Press, 1955).

[9]Rand, P. Thoughts on Design (New York: Van Norstrand Reinhold, 1970) p. 9.

[10]Jakobson, R. Selected Writings III: Poetry of Grammar and Grammar of Poetry (New York: Mouton Publishers, 1981) p. 25.

[11]Warde B. The Crystal Goblet: Sixteen Essays on Typography (London: Sylvan Press, 1955).

[12]Jakobson, R. Selected Writings III: Poetry of Grammar and Grammar of Poetry (New York: Mouton Publishers, 1981) pp. 22-26.

[13]Schwenger, P. Asemic: The Art of Writing (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2019) pp. 2-4.

[14]McLuhan, M. The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962) p. 184.

[15]Wainer, H. “Preface to the 2010 edition of the English Translation” Semiology of Graphics trans. William J. Berg (Redlands: Esri Press, 2010) pp. xi-xii.

[16]William Golden. The Visual Craft of William Golden, (New York: George Braziller, 1962) p. 21.

[17]Greenberg, C. “Modernist Painting” The Collected Essays and Criticism: Vol. 4, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955) pp. 85-93.

[18]Helfand, J. Screen: Essays on Graphic Design, New Media, and Visual Culture (Princeton: Princeton Architectural Press, 2001) pp. 105-110.

[19]Drucker, J. “What is a Word’s Body?” What is? Nine Epistemological Essays (Victoria: Cuneiform Press, 20130) p. 38.

[20]Genette, G. Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987).

[21]Jakobson, R. Selected Writings III: Poetry of Grammar and Grammar of Poetry (New York: Mouton Publishers, 1981) pp. 22-26.

[22]Appel, R. untranslated: a catalog (New York: press rappel, 2013) np.

[23]Betancourt, M. “The Intentional Function in Still and Moving Photographic Images” Semiotica, publication pending.

[24]Garrison, M. “The Poetics of Ambivalence” Archetypal Psychiatry (Spring 1982) p. 227.

[25]Bleuler, Eugen. Dementia Praecox, or the Group of Schizophrenias, (New York: International Universities Press, 1950) pp. 271-286.

[26]Harris, R. Integrating Reality (London: New Generation Publishing, 2012).

[27]Gaze, T. Glyphs of Uncertain Meaning (Minneapolis: Post-Asemic Press, 2021) p. vi.

[28]Flusser, V. Does Writing Have a Future? trans. Nancy Ann Roth (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011) p. 136.

[29]MacCarthy, F. Anarchy & Beauty: William Morris and His Legacy 1860–1960 (London: National Portrait Gallery, 2014).

[30]Kaplan, W. “The Art that is Life”: The Arts and Crafts Movement in America, 1875–1920 (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1987) p. 59.

[31]Pevsner, N. Pioneers of Modern Design (Bath: Palazzo Editions, 2011) pp. 36-57.

[32]Kaplan, W. “The Art that is Life”: The Arts and Crafts Movement in America, 1875–1920 (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1987) p 301.

[33]Appel, R.; Burhouse, T.; Gaze, T.; Giovenale, M.; Hopkins, G.; Kaikkonen, S.; Shipley, G.; Skinner, C.; Tarczynski, L.; Tierney, O.; Uzal, S,; Vassilakis, N. A Kick in The Eye ( Create Space, 2013) p. 114.

[34]Cahill, H. “Art for the Millions,” Art Digest 7:5 (December 1, 1932) p. 4.

[35]Schwenger, P. Asemic: The Art of Writing (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2019) p. 3.

[36]Vassilakis, N. Voir Dire (Dusie: 2020) p. 80.

[37]Harris, R. Integrating Reality (London: New Generation Publishing, 2012).

[38]van Fraassen, B. “The labyrinth of quantum logics,” Logical and Epistemological Studies in Contemporary Physics ed. R. S. Cohen, and M. W. Wartofsky (Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1974) pp. 224–254.

[39]Gaze, T. Glyphs of Uncertain Meaning (Minneapolis: Post-Asemic Press, 2021) p. vi.

[40]Garrison, M. “The Poetics of Ambivalence” Archetypal Psychiatry (Spring 1982) p. 227.

[41]Bleuler, Eugen. Dementia Praecox, or the Group of Schizophrenias, (New York: International Universities Press, 1950) pp. 271-286.

[42]Barthes, R. The Responsibility of Forms (Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1985) p. 220.

[43]Grumman, B. “MNMLST POETRY: Unacclaimed but Flourishing” Light and Dust Mobile Anthology of Poetry (1997)

[44]Jakobson, R. Selected Writings III: Poetry of Grammar and Grammar of Poetry (New York: Mouton Publishers, 1981) p. 25.

[45]Jakobson, R. Selected Writings III: Poetry of Grammar and Grammar of Poetry (New York: Mouton Publishers, 1981) pp. 18-21.

[46]Huth, G. NTST (Manchester: if p then q classics, 2010) pp. 41-42.

[47]Jakobson, R. Selected Writings III: Poetry of Grammar and Grammar of Poetry (New York: Mouton Publishers, 1981) p. 25.

[48]Jakobson, R. “On the Verbal Art of William Blake and other Poet-Painters” Linguistic Inquiry vol. 1. no. 1 (January, 1970) pp. 3-23.

[49]Jakobson, R. Selected Writings III: Poetry of Grammar and Grammar of Poetry (New York: Mouton Publishers, 1981) p. 25.

[50]Jakobson, R. Selected Writings III: Poetry of Grammar and Grammar of Poetry (New York: Mouton Publishers, 1981) pp. 18-21.

[51]Betancourt, M. “The Intentional Function in Still and Moving Photographic Images” Semiotica, publication pending.

[52]Knapp, S. and Michaels, W.B. “Against Theory” Critical Inquiry vol. 8, no. 4. (Summer, 1982) pp. 717-728.

[53]Borel, É. “Mécanique Statistique et Irréversibilité” Journal de Physique 5ème série, vol. 3,  (1913) pp. 189–196.

[54]Wainer, H. “Preface to the 2010 edition of the English Translation” Semiology of Graphics trans. William J. Berg (Redlands: Esri Press, 2010) pp. xi-xii.

[55]Golden, W. The Visual Craft of William Golden, (New York: George Braziller, 1962) p. 21.

[56]Helfand, J. Screen: Essays on Graphic Design, New Media, and Visual Culture (Princeton: Princeton Architectural Press, 2001) pp. 105-110.

[57]Kant, I. “Section 1: Pure Reason in its Dogmatic Use” The Critique of Pure Reason, trans. Werner Pluhar (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1996) p. 675.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email