This morning I started to write the text for the altered book that I am working on. The book, called (De)Collage, physically functions on the principle of delamination. I am slowly removing all of the contents from the book—images and text, leaving behind just the 1/16” inch strip at the outermost edges of the images. I will be adding new text as well, also built on a subtractive principle, the same method used by Lauren Bender in her Dictionary Poems—words are crossed out from the original text, and what is left behind is the new text. The first two sentences:

“the method of constructing from parts. It is the synthesis of colourless, white or grey-black areas of colour, or the arrangement of unexpected proportions.”

These kinds of writing practices, based in the idea of collage, provide a different sort of interaction with language than “traditional” writing. These methods are not new—they first came into the wide literary discourse with the “cut-up” work of William S. Burroughs in the 1960s (though the idea was certainly implemented before that)—but they are fundamentally different from, and thus provide different results than, “normal” modes of writing (what I’m doing now). To quote the book artist Emily McVarish (who uses collage-based writing in her work), these processes “externalize” language, they separate language from the voice and from the interior monologue constantly droning in our heads. This externalization makes language new, and strange, even abject sometimes. Its material aspects, its rules, its pieces, its weird physicality (the actualization of language through writing/reading(language exists in time)) becomes readily apparent. Methods like these, as well as methods based in randomness and/or constraint, help the writer to see their habitual relationship to the words that they write. To see a process, to see one’s position in it, is to be able to manipulate it.

1 comment:

Justin Sirois said...

You hold the torch high enough for others to follow.

And you'd better scan/photo this thing for us -- can't wait to drool all over my space bar.