New Sounds: Burroughs Cut-Up
Some new creative work on Enculturation: A Journal of Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture:
Steven R. Hammer, Saint Joseph’s University
(Published: February 5, 2015)
Gysin and Burroughs’s cut-up method has been adapted in many ways across many practices, many of which have occupied my creative work: sampling, splicing, remixing, etc. Yet the crux of the cut-up has always been about getting my hands dirty with the raw material of sounds, paper, and video. Thus, in dealing with a digital sound file, I went a step beyond cutting the sonic interpretations of data and reached into the data that comprises the sound file. Using a technique referred to as “data bending” in the glitchArt world, I simply opened the digital sound file with a text editor and began to cut, copy, and paste the code of the file to corrupt and rearrange its sonic interpretation. What results is an interpretation of both the method and writing that performs and advocates “destructive acts … to fuck up” the ways that we typically interact with our writing materials and conceive of ourselves as [Modern] authors, wielding tools of precision, clarity, and cleanliness.