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Cutuptechnique

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Thecutuptechnique(ordcoupinFrench)isanaleatoryliterarytechniqueinwhichatextiscutupandrearrangedtocreateanewtext.TheconceptcanbetracedtoatleasttheDadaistsofthe1920s,butwaspopularizedin
thelate1950sandearly1960sbywriterWilliamS.Burroughs,andhassincebeenusedinawidevarietyofcontexts.

Contents
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Technique
Historyinliterature
Historyinfilm
Musicalinfluence
Recordedspeech
Seealso
References
Externallinks

Technique
Thecutupandthecloselyassociatedfoldinarethetwomaintechniques:
Cutupisperformedbytakingafinishedandfullylineartextandcuttingitinpieceswithafeworsinglewordsoneachpiece.Theresultingpiecesarethenrearrangedintoanewtext,suchasinpoemsbyTristanTzaraas
describedinhisshorttext,TOMAKEADADAISTPOEM.[1]
Foldinisthetechniqueoftakingtwosheetsoflineartext(withthesamelinespacing),foldingeachsheetinhalfverticallyandcombiningwiththeother,thenreadingacrosstheresultingpage,suchasinTheThirdMind.
ItisBurroughsandGysin'sjointdevelopment.[2]

Historyinliterature
AprecedentofthetechniqueoccurredduringaDadaistrallyinthe1920sinwhichTristanTzaraofferedtocreateapoemonthespotbypullingwordsatrandomfromahat.Collage,whichwaspopularizedroughly
contemporaneouslywiththeSurrealistmovement,sometimesincorporatedtextssuchasnewspapersorbrochures.Priortothisevent,thetechniquehadbeenpublishedinanissueof391inthepoembyTzara,dadamanifestoon
feebleloveandbitterloveunderthesubtitle,TOMAKEADADAISTPOEM(http://www.invacua.com/tzara.shtml)[1]
WilliamBurroughscitedT.S.Eliot'spoem,TheWasteLand(1922)andJohnDosPassos'U.S.A.trilogy,whichincorporatednewspaperclippings,asearlyexamplesofthecutupshepopularized.
GilJ.Wolmandevelopedcutuptechniquesaspartofhislettristpracticeintheearly1950s.
Alsointhe1950s,painterandwriterBrionGysinmorefullydevelopedthecutupmethodafteraccidentallyrediscoveringit.Hehadplacedlayersofnewspapersasamattoprotectatabletopfrombeingscratchedwhilehecut
paperswitharazorblade.Uponcuttingthroughthenewspapers,Gysinnoticedthattheslicedlayersofferedinterestingjuxtapositionsoftextandimage.Hebegandeliberatelycuttingnewspaperarticlesintosections,whichhe
randomlyrearranged.ThebookMinutestoGoresultedfromhisinitialcutupexperiment:uneditedandunchangedcutupswhichemergedascoherentandmeaningfulprose.SouthAfricanpoetSinclairBeilesalsousedthis
techniqueandcoauthoredMinutesToGo.
GysinintroducedBurroughstothetechniqueattheBeatHotel.Thepairlaterappliedthetechniquetoprintedmediaandaudiorecordingsinanefforttodecodethematerial'simplicitcontent,hypothesizingthatsuchatechnique
couldbeusedtodiscoverthetruemeaningofagiventext.Burroughsalsosuggestedcutupsmaybeeffectiveasaformofdivinationsaying,"Whenyoucutintothepresentthefutureleaksout."[3]Burroughsalsofurther
developedthe"foldin"technique.In1977,BurroughsandGysinpublishedTheThirdMind,acollectionofcutupwritingsandessaysontheform.JeffNuttall'spublicationMyOwnMagwasanotherimportantoutletforthe

thenradicaltechnique.
Inaninterview,AlanBurnsnotedthatforEuropeAfterTheRain(1965)andsubsequentnovelsheusedaversionofcutups:"Ididnotactuallyusescissors,butIfoldedpages,readacrosscolumns,andsoon,discoveringfor
myselfmanyofthetechniquesBurroughsandGysindescribe".[4]
ArgentinewriterJulioCortzaroftenusedcutupsinhis1963novelHopscotch.
In1969,poetsHowardW.BergersonandJ.A.Lindondevelopedacutuptechniqueknownasvocabularycleptpoetry,inwhichapoemisformedbytakingallthewordsofanexistingpoemandrearrangingthem,often
preservingthemetreandstanzalengths.[5][6][7]
AdramascriptedforfivevoicesbyperformancepoetHedwigGorskiin1977originatedtheideaofcreatingpoetryonlyforperformanceinsteadofforprintpublication.TheneoversedramatitledBooby,Mama!writtenfor
"guerillatheater"performancesinpublicplacesusedacombinationofnewspapercutupsthatwereeditedandchoreographedforatroupeofnonprofessionalstreetactors.[8]
KathyAcker,aliteraryandintermediaartist,sampledexternalsourcesandreconfiguredthemintothecreationofshiftingversionsofherownconstructedidentity.InhernovelBloodandGutsinHighSchool,Ackerexplored
literarycutupandappropriationasanintegralpartofhermethod.

Historyinfilm
AntonyBalchandBurroughscreatedacollaborationfilm,TheCutUps[9]thatopenedinLondonin1967.ThiswaspartofanabandonedprojectcalledGuerrillaConditionsmeantasadocumentaryonBurroughsandfilmed
throughout19611965.InspiredbyBurroughs'andGysin'stechniqueofcuttinguptextandrearrangingitinrandomorder,Balchhadaneditorcuthisfootageforthedocumentaryintolittlepiecesandimposenocontroloverits
reassembly.[10]ThefilmopenedatOxfordStreetsCinephonecinemaandhadadisturbingreaction.Manyaudiencemembersclaimedthefilmmadethemill,othersdemandedtheirmoneyback,whilesomejuststumbledoutof
thecinemaranting"it'sdisgusting".[9]OthercutupfilmsincludeGhostatn9(Paris)(196372),aposthumouslyreleasedshortfilmcompiledfromreelsfoundatBalchsofficeafterhisdeath,andWilliamBuysaParrott
(1982),BillandTony(1972),TowersOpenFire(1963)andTheJunky'sChristmas(1966).[11]

Musicalinfluence
Fromtheearly1970s,DavidBowieusedcutupstocreatesomeofhislyrics.ThistechniqueinfluencedKurtCobain'ssongwriting.[12]ThomYorkeappliedasimilarmethodinRadiohead'sKidA(2000)album,writingsingle
lines,puttingthemintoahat,anddrawingthemoutatrandomwhilethebandrehearsedthesongs.PerhapsindicativeofThomYorke'sinfluences,[13]instructionsfor"HowtomakeaDadapoem"appearedonRadiohead's
websiteatthistime.
BurroughstaughtthecutuptechniquetomusicianGenesisPOrridgein1971asamethodfor"alteringreality".Hisexplanationwasthateverythingisrecorded,andifitisrecorded,thenitcanbeedited(POrridge,2003).
StephenMallinderofCabaretVoltairereportedtoInpressmagazine'sAndrezBergenthat"Idothinkthemanipulationofsoundinourearlydaysthephysicalactofcuttinguptapes,creatingtapeloopsandallthathasa
strongreferencetoBurroughsandGysin."[14]

Recordedspeech
Recordedspeechcanalsobecutup.Withskill,thecutupspeechmaintainsanaturalcadence.Satiristsliketocutuppoliticiansspeechestomakethemsaysillythings.ArmandoIanucciandChrisMorrisdidfrequentlyintheir
radionewssatireOnTheHour.Cassetteboyhavedonethistomanypolitician'sspeechesaswellaspopularTVsuchasTheApprentice.
ThiswasthesubjectofaBBCRadio4documentarybroadcastin2015Cuttingupthecutup.[15]

Seealso
Dissociatedpress

Plunderphonics
Surrealisttechniques
Assemblage(composition)
Melitzah
Vocabularycleptpoetry
Foundpoetry

References
1."manifestos:dadamanifestoonfeebleloveandbitterlovebytristantzara,12thdecember1920".391.19201212.Retrieved20110627.
2.LauraCaruso.WilliamBurroughs,theinfinitegroundbreaker.BuenosAiresHerald.buenosairesherald.com.
3.BreakThroughinGreyRoom(http://www.allmusic.com/album/r541727)
4.DavidW.Madden."AConversationwithAlanBurns".Retrieved20130605.
5.Rogers,Ben(February1969)."SomeNeglectedWaysofWords".WordWays:TheJournalofRecreationalLinguistics(GreenwoodPeriodicals)2(1):1419.
6.Lindon,J.A.(May1969)."TheVocabularycleptPoem,1".WordWays:TheJournalofRecreationalLinguistics(GreenwoodPeriodicals)2(2):8589.
7.Bishop,YvonneM.Fienberg,StephenE.Holland,PaulW.(2007).DiscreteMultivariateAnalysis:TheoryandApplications.Springer.pp.340342.ISBN9780387728056.
8.Intoxication:HeathcliffonPowellStreet,SloughPress,2009,ISBN9780615271033
9."Acompletedisorientationofthesenses:WILLIAMBURROUGHS&ANTONYBALCHSCUTUPS"DangerousMinds(http://dangerousminds.net/comments/william_burroughs_antony_balch_cut_ups)
10.RobBridgett,"AnAppraisaloftheFilmsofWilliamBurroughs,BrionGysin,andAnthonyBalchintermsofRecentAvantGardeTheory",BrightLightsFilmJournal(http://brightlightsfilm.com/appraisalfilmswilliamburroughsbriongysinan
thonybalchtermsrecentavantgardetheory/)
11.WilliamS.Burroughs:TheCutUpFilms(http://www.ubu.com/film/burroughs.html)
12.SeethenotesforThe"Priest"TheyCalledHim,a1993collaborationbetweenBurroughsandCobain,releasedbyTim/Kerrrecords.
13."RadioheadEverythingInItsRightPlace".radiohead1.tripod.com.Retrieved20151023.
14."VintageCabSav,"AndrezBergen.Inpress,1996.
15.http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05zl52m

Externallinks
UbuWeb:WilliamS.Burroughs(http://www.ubu.com/sound/burroughs.html)featuringacutup,K9WasinCombatwiththeAlienMindScreens(1965),madewithIanSommerville
theultimatecutupmachine(http://www.christopherarcella.com/cutupmachine)afreedigitalversionofthecutuptechnique
TheTristanTzaraArcade(http://www.theatreoptique.com/tristantzaraarcade)isacollectionofCutuppiecescomposedfromtextfoundinthepublicdomain.Thesepiecescanbefurtherarrangedbythereaderusingan
automated(jQueryscript)reTypesettingfunction(whichillustrateshowpossiblevariantcompositionscanbeachievedusingtheCutuptechnique).
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Categories: Bookarts Surrealisttechniques Dada WilliamS.Burroughs Literaryconcepts Randomtextgeneration
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