Empty Your Eyes and Bite the Star: Fragments, Entropy, Confabulation, and Structure in Cut-up Methods

Smith, Oliver S. (2019) Empty Your Eyes and Bite the Star: Fragments, Entropy, Confabulation, and Structure in Cut-up Methods. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/MLUP7418

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Cut-up method has been notably applied as an avant-garde form. It originated as a piece of anti-art and its most famous practitioner, William Burroughs, used its fragmentary aesthetic to complement his transgressive subject matter. This thesis explores cut-up method’s relationship with Surrealist painting and its application as a means to the marvellous; the method’s ability to surprise both writers and readers. It addresses the central question: how can the Cut-up method be used to disassemble text and explore how the fragments can be constructed, reconstructed, or deliberately misconstructed to create a new text? I have adopted a cognitive approach to the analytical essays, which draw upon cross-disciplinary material including art history, literary criticism, cognitive science, information theory, computing, and the neuroscience of memory. The theoretical analysis and creative practice are integrated in both process and form. Discourses from the theoretical essays are mapped and remapped onto the creative practice and back again. Associated concepts such as fragments, entropy, confabulation, structure, and entrainment are examined both in the fiction and analysis. Empty your Eyes and Bite the Star identifies how, when viewed as a way of writing, cut-up operates from the bottom up rather than top down as in conventional models of practice; and explores the resulting differences in process and structure. It demonstrates the method’s usefulness as a means of generating original text but also shows how cognition imposes certain limitations on its effectiveness. It identifies areas that may be explored by practitioners to effectively target aleatory methods within new domains of creative practice and identifies how further research into the use of cut-up is possible using a quantitative analytical approach.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Randall, Martinmrandall@glos.ac.ukhttps://www.glos.ac.uk/staff/profile/martin-randall/
Keevil, Tylertkeevil2@glos.ac.ukhttps://www.cardiff.ac.uk/people/view/919429-keevil-tyler
Uncontrolled Keywords: Literary criticism; Cut-up method
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2021 15:03
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:54
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/9348

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