REMIX LIBRARY | Literary Collage: William S. Burroughs x Brion Gysin x The Cut-Up Method
A little knowledge trip through the past and present.
Collage isn’t just for the visual arts. Legendary novelist William S. Burroughs developed his signature non-linear writing style when he found inspiration in artist and writer Brion Gysin’s cut-up technique. When Burroughs wrote The Nova Trilogy, he sliced up words and phrases to create new sentences, establishing new connections between words and images.
The two collaborated on The Third Mind and showcased the cut-up technique by using text, photographs and newspaper clippings. Though Burroughs and Gysin’s collages never appeared in the manifesto, the New Museum restored the collages for their Gysin exhibition.
Burroughs and Gysin may have popularized the cut-up technique in the 1950s and 1960s, but the method itself originated from 1920s Dadaist writer Tristan Tzara. Dada poetry was chance poetry, and Tzara’s recipe involved pulling random words from a bag.
Sound a little familiar? The magnetic poetry we rearrange on the fridge can feel a bit like Tzara’s chance poetry. It’s almost as if we’re making Dada poetry on the reg now.
[Photo sources: 1]