An Asemic Magazine: Cutting Media Edges



The  above compositions  from the constructed reality of an Asemic Magazine –  Magazine Splash Page,  Magazine Layout, and Magazine Content Page. As frequent visitors to this blog are aware, I have recently been exploring the implied spaces of asemic writing & texts/scripts. Building on my use of what I call Textured Text, I have been creating collage compositions. I have been playing with loose collage forms. These arrangements were loosely placed  and then photographed . Afterwards, the digital images were further modified using imaging software.

More recently, I have been concentrating on the text elements as expressions of asemic texts/scripts. Rather than using a camera, I created the loose collage assemblages directly on a scanner bed ( scanography ). I tore or cut strips of pages from magazines, junk-mail, and other discarded paper texts. The loose pieces could be rearranged  multiple times to create new variations. Some became the basis of effective compositions, while others worked as blended elements for a completely digital composition.

While considering other variations, I decided to use Claudia McGill’s Collage Poetry as a template. Here is a link to her post Snippets and People with Problems. Instead of the strips and  chunks of the pages, I cut up smaller pieces of text and rearranged them on the scanner bed.



After some thought about how I might incorporate this image in a composition, I was struck by the idea of running collage through the ABBYY FineReader optical character recognition software.


The optical character recognition software attempts to recognize the features of the text and reproduce them accurately.  The flaws and fragments of text can not be accurately decoded; like the human  mind, the software attempts to impose order. There is a structure, but still no clear meaning.  The human software struggles to find meaning, even if it is ambiguous or purely aesthetic. We use our personal context of experience, knowledge, understanding and skills to construct a meaningful reality out of the mix of text that is presented to us.  We will find our personal interpretation of the abstract/asemic compositions.


These compositions were incorporated  into three pages of In-depth News of an Asemic Magazine.





are You ?

True Meaning

f   fi olve

di  e 

hat   e  –

re  r  t

by  natt I’ me

The End ? > t  as Yoi  chill


& hat



20 thoughts on “An Asemic Magazine: Cutting Media Edges

    1. Thanks very much Katherine. I am working on more, as I figure out what I can do with the software. Trying to do the reverse of what the recognition software is intended for :D, it appears easier to glitch/trick it with handwriting and a mixture of font styles/sizes. Will see where this takes me and how I can combine it with other techniques. 🙂

    1. Many thanks. Yes you are correct in that interpretation. There is a type of communication going on – mediating meaning through an implied space that exists between the mind of the software user and the parameters of the software design. 🙂

  1. Thanks for the mention. This is fascinating to me, how you went through the process, and as a person who has spent a lot of time working in collage, poetry or art versions, I feel very at home with what you are doing, and it gives me some new ideas…I was intrigued by the handwriting to print conversion and the ensuing idea of how our minds try to make patterns and meaning out of what we see – that’s is certainly the thing I’d mention most in what I find satisfying about collage in all forms – being there when that meaning happens! is what I feel about it. Great post, and thank you.

    1. Many thanks. Your work has given ideas to reflect on and templates to emulate. 😉

      One of the basic tenet of literacy & Developmental Reading Skills is that the reader brings meaning to the text. All the skills, knowledge & experience shapes how the Reader decodes & interprets the text. This also applies to other forms of Mass Media Text.

      The larger the element of implied space in the conveyed message , the greater the possibilities of interpretation. As I mentioned to Manja, the collage scan has many potential found poems waiting to be revealed. 🙂

      1. Just posted Asemic Agenda. The optical recognition software has brought me to an interesting type of graphical composition. A mix of cartography & spreadsheet combined together with elements of asemic writing & random words.

        As with collage there is discovery process, in that the outcome has variables that can not be entirely controlled. One looks for context & form to create/discover a theme or run-through concept.

      2. I realize I mentioned maps for this post, seeing it before I read this comment mentioning cartography. I really like the idea of meaning in pieces becoming whole.

    1. Many thanks. I composed the final part base on text found in the collage scan. The image is a potential source of many found poems. 🙂

  2. “There is a structure, but still no clear meaning” the essence of life.
    Not being and artist; Love the visual but the description of art achievement is over my head most times. Still it is fascinating to look into your process.

    1. Many thanks. Abstract art, dadaism and asemic text/script are a means of exploring the how we seek truth and meaning. They force the creators and the audience to question imposed structures, stripping away subjective personal & cultural biases . Hopefully what is left is something more than just random pieces. 🙂

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