From semic to asemic: writing, artists, books

Konferenz, Summer Schools, Roma/Online

Entrance Via Liguria 20
Live streaming

Konferenz, Summer Schools

Entrance Via Liguria 20
Live streaming

The encounter will be held in English. Limited capacity of seats.
Register here to attend the event in presence

The event can also be followed online on Zoom.
Register here to participate.

On the occasion of the Summer School Rome – Dimensions of the book, a project which is part of the Master of Fine Arts Program at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK), Istituto Svizzero hosts an encounter with the interventions by Sara Davidovics, Marco Giovenale, Giulio Marzaioli and Nils Röller.

From semic to asemic: writing, artists, books

That something can be read is an implicit prerequisite in the exact moment a book is opened. Taking this as a starting point, the discussion From semic to asemic: writing, artists, books explores the approach of “non-readability” in lectures, performances and book presentations, focusing on the asemic handwriting (having no specific semantic content) in of the history of books and letters.

The event will also analyse the temporal and spatial dimensions of books (both their form and materiality), which have evolved from the scroll through the codex to the electronic book.

As part of Rome – Dimensions of the book, the Summer School at Istituto Svizzero brings together artists, poets, cultural studies researchers and philosophers to explore how artistic perception and production are intertwined with the multifaceted aspects of a book.

Speakers: Sara Davidovics, Marco Giovenale, Giulio Marzaioli and Nils Röller


H16:00-16:15 – Adrian Brändli, Nils Röller, Welcome

H16:15-16:30 – Giulio Marzaioli, Benway Series, Opening a translated book

H16:30-17:00 – Presentation of books of the participants

H17:30-18:00 – Sara Davidovics, Rome, Azimut. Libro di vetro e performance

H18:15-18:30 – Nils Röller, Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK), Mundunculum – Dieter Roth’s book

H18:30-19:15 – Marco Giovenale, Rome, Asemic Writing

H19:15-20:00 – Display of books from the MFA/ZHdK


Sara Davidovics is poet, performer and intermedial artist born in 1981 in Rome where she’s still living. Her research revolves around the concept of cognitive overlap between imagination, memory and reality data. The place investigated is always the threshold and the relation among the signs such as crossover operations, contaminations, (re)mappings. She uses poor materials, sometimes “recovered”, intervening directly in the environment with widespread installations and happenings, often involving the public and working on the performative use of the voice and body. She is the author of linear and visual writings, video-poems, scores for voice, object-books, sculptures, ambiental installation.

Marco Giovenale lives in Rome, where he works as an editorial consultant, editor, independent curator, reader for publishing houses, teacher, translator from English (he collaborated with Il Mulino, Ponte alle Grazie, Donzelli, Fazi, Salerno, Zanichelli). He holds courses on the second twentieth-century literature (for three years also at Upter) and in 2018-2019 he co-founded the Center of contemporary writings and poetry, renewed in 2021 as CentroScritture, with whom he still collaborates with lectures and initiatives. He is responsible of the Italian texts series SYN_Scritture di ricerca for IkonaLíber editions.

Giulio Marzaioli was born in Florence in 1972. He extensively published his contributions, among others: arredo Metropolitano, La Camera Verde; In re ipsa, Anterem Edizioni (Montano Price 2005); Quadranti, Oedipus Editore; Appunti del non vero, Zona; La stanza – sulla filmografia di A. Tarkovskij, La Camera Verde; Figure di reato, La Camera Verde; Trittici, Edizioni d’if (Premio Mazzacurati-Russo 2007), Suburra, Perrone Editore; Cavare marmo, volume fotografico – La camera Verde.

Nils Röller is a professor at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). His research focuses on the relation between text, image and philosophy (Iconography of Philosophy). In the Journal for Art, Sex and Mathematics he publishes experimental posts in collaboration with artists and poets since 2006. Out of this Journal Research Projects have been developed and financed by Swiss National Science Foundation. Recent publications in English and German language include Interfacing Philosophy (May 2021), „Hermes”, in Beat Streuli, Fabric of Reality (Zurich: Lars Muller Publishers, 2019), “Oswalds Hubble“, in Interface Critique 2 (2019), also in Beate Geissler/Oliver Sann (eds.), Oswald Wiener – The Bio-Adapter (Berlin: Kadmos); “Organon“, in Donatella Berardi (ed.), Art, Self & System (Berlin: Sternberg, 2019).