God of Thunder and Rock'n'Roll (archmage) wrote,
God of Thunder and Rock'n'Roll

The Cut-Up Machine

After that weird spam, I got to thinking about it, and mentioned that it would be fun to feed it into a cut-up machine and see what happened. I was kidding, but it raised the question of what exactly I was talking about...so this is for the rest of you. Welcome to my mind...

Exterminate All Rational Thought

Language is a virus programmed into the human biologic machine used for the current purposes of Control. A is always A, never not-A

Cut-up provides a means to work past it, to subvert the film of our lives running from A to B - when A is not-A the film is displaced, shrivelling up in the harsh projected lies of Control. The human being is a subjective experience, reliant on its external programming for life, shape and context. Destruction of the film allows us to step out of the constraints of space-time.

Breaking down the word we are no longer dependent upon it for solution, final or otherwise. No more dogma, bloated bureaucratic nonsense folds in on itself and eats its own tail, "no more Hitlers, no more Stalins," no more Him (you know, THE WORD)

Cut up is a technique discovered by Brion Gysin and made famous by William S. Burroughs in his work, but it is also a tool anyone can use for whatever purposes of their own. It can provide insight into texts written by yourself and others. The simplest experiment suggested by Burroughs is to type out an article onto a sheet of A4 and cut it into four sections. Then rearrange the sections at random and see what comes out. New words, sentences and meanings appear. It is as easy as photo-montage, cutting and pasting textual images and meanings together to create art.

With the advent of computers we have a powerful tool for breaking down the barriers that we believe exist in language. One experiment, suggested by Umberto Eco in "Foucault's Pendulum" is to take a text in a word processor and do a find and replace on key words or letters. By breaking down the forced meanings we can gain a different understanding of language and its purpose. A computer can also create a program that will cut up and rearrange texts for you at random. There used to be several examples of cut-up machines on the internet but unfortunately many seem to have disappeared - see the menu on the left for one on this site which you can use on- or off-line

The written word is not the only target of cut-up. Try channel hopping on a TV to get an alternate impression of what is going on in the world. Make a recording on tape or minidisc and then rewind it, stopping at intervals to insert new words, different sections of the text, new sounds. Collect as many .wav or mp3 files from the net as possible and splice them together, cut and paste them, using the sound recorder on your PC, or get a shareware copy of something like CoolEdit. If you have video capture facilities on your PC experiment with cutting up word and picture.

Care to look for some "between the lines" meanings in some text? Try out an online Cut-Up Machine here.

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