The Title of This Paper Is ༛༾༶༙༑༒ On Asemic Writing and the Absence of Meaning

Author: Law Alsobrook, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar
Published: December 8, 2017

Citation: Alsobrook, L. (2017). The Title of This Paper Is ༛༾༶༙༑༒ On Asemic Writing and the Absence of Meaning. IAFOR Journal of Arts & Humanities, 4(2).


Asemic writing is a wordless form of textual communication, with semantically open content left to the reader’s interpretation. By contrast, graphic designers are taught to conceive of text as image in order to compound meaning through graphic representation and typographic nuance. Graphic designers consider the linguistic container beyond its semantic substance, in effect, and attempt to expand the sematic load of language with visual modulation. Analogously, in Empire of Signs, Roland Barthes contemplates Japanese culture as a series of signs that exist in relative ataraxia with their signifying instance, where the alliance of sign and signification mingle as meditative components in a relative yin-yang balance as exemplified by the society within which they exit as philosophical constants. For Barthes, this notion confronts a Western temperament wherein a Platonic ideal seems to foment a continual search for the existence of pre-eminent signs that function as pinnacles of signification. However, when signs are devoid of intentional meaning, what can we glean from the mechanics of sign operations that attempt to establish and create, especially with regards to visual narrative and the heterotopic and temporal devices used by writers, artists and designers, a sense of “otherness?”

This paper examines the heterotopic relationship of asemic writing as a mediated agent of narrative in our post-literate society.


asemic, narrative, otherness, hypermediacy, heterotopia