Class 05 - HTML - Cut-Up

Assignment: Cut-Up
Select an original text[s] or poem[s] (this can be written by you or by another author). Using what you know of HTML and any other means at your disposal (language translation software, the cut-up machine, Google searches, surfing, etc.) create your own cut-up Web page of this original text[s]. You can write your own HTML code and/or use "View Source" to copy & paste code from other websites. Make sure to turn in the original text[s] with your assignment. Remember that the goal of a "cut-up" is not complete randomness, but is rather a means to disrupting conventional linear narrative to arrive at meaningful new connections.

The "cut-up" is a technique created by Brion Gysin and made famous by the writer William Burroughs. In one approach, a page of text is cut down the middle and then across the middle to create 4 sections. These sections are then rearranged to create a new page. The method has its roots in collage and randomness, approaches to visual art that were initially embraced by the surrealists. In many ways Burroughs' approach to writing can be considered a precursor to hypertext, non-linear narrative and computer-based multimedia storytelling. We actually experience the "cut-up" in many aspects of our daily routine such as when we channel hop between television stations or when we "surf" the Internet. Burroughs argued that the cut-up is not just randomness for the sake of randomness, but a means to discovering unexpected associations between words and ideas. In this way it can be thought of as a valuable tool in many disciplines.

The Cut-Up Machine

Babel Fish Translation

Dialect Translation - search for your own!

Mark Napier