In researching the topic of post-literate society, today I stumbled on asemic writing. And I do mean stumbled.The best scientific definition I could arrive at for it comes from Wikipedia:
Asemic writing is a wordless open semantic form of writing. The word asemic means “having no specific semantic content”. With the nonspecificity of asemic writing there comes a vacuum of meaning which is left for the reader to fill in and interpret.
This is an example of asemic writing:
So is this:
Again from Wikipedia,
Influences on asemic writing are illegible, invented, or primal scripts (cave paintings, doodles, children’s drawings, etc.). But instead of being thought of as mimicry of preliterate expression, asemic writing may be considered to be a postliterate style of writing that uses all forms of creativity for inspiration.
Another attempt at explanation of asemic writing comes from Asemic.net:
It looks like writing, but we can’t quite read it… Most people make asemic writing at some time, possibly when testing a new pen… 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 can definitely be beautiful:
But if no one can read it and the meaning is entirely subjective, can it be considered writing? Is it art instead? How would you catalog an asemic document? Would you add this asemic book to your fiction collection, or does it go in the art section?