the cut-up (make me a status)


I’ve been reading a bit about “cut-up” and “fold-in” techniques. (See dadaist Tristan Tzara, painter and writer Brion Gysin and most notably, William S. Burroughs, who popularized the techniques.)  These methods involve deliberately cutting/folding text and then randomly rearranging it to find hidden, meaningful prose.  While doing this research, I came across a website that has application with a truly unique way of employing the cut-up technique.  The app mines your Facebook text (status updates, image captions, comments – all of it) and randomly places it back together.  Most are non-sensical, but some are quite poetic and thoughtful.


“The text is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centres of culture…the writer can only imitate a gesture that is always anterior, never original.” Roland Barthes, “The Death of the Author” (1977)

“All writing is in fact cut-ups. A collage of words read heard overheard. What else?” William S. Burroughs


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