Friday, 20 June 2008

cut-up vs. mash-up

How is the cut-up form of experimental writing different from the mash-up form? The embed below links to a clip from a documentary on William Burrough's cut-up technique.

The view of William Burroughs was that if the universe was pre-recorded, then the only thing that was not pre-recorded was the pre-recording itself. With his cut-ups, what he was attempting to do was to "tamper with the pre-recordings themselves." One thing that you'll note from the youtube clip though is that the cut-up technique is essentially a form of destructive editing, ie. in order to create a new text, the "original" texts need to be physical cut up. Hence the term. What this essentially means is that the original text cannot be returned to. In the attempt to tamper with the pre-recording, the pre-recording is lost.

The mash-up on the other hand is a non-destructive editing process, because it leaves the original text intact. Because it leaves the text intact, it thereby invites comparison on the one hand, and a return to that original text on the other. The mash-up both draws attention to itself and deflects attention away from itself at the same time. It wants the recognition of being a new creation in its own right, but wants the original text to be fully appreciated in its own right so that the mash-up itself can be fully appreciated. Rather than tampering with the pre-recorded universe, the mash up artist desires that comments on the universe be acknowledged.

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