Computational Cut Ups

Explore theories and methods of digital media collage in this workshop inspired by avant-garde techniques of modernist literature from the Dadaists to William Burroughs. This workshop accompanies the July 2019 performance at Pioneer Works, entitled Decoder 2017, a multi-media theatrical adaptation of Burroughs’ cut-up novels, directed by Mallory Catlett, performed by music resident G. Lucas Crane and actor Jim Findlay.

Wermer-Colan, Decoder 2017‘s dramaturg, will lead students through user-friendly methods and tools for computational cut-ups and remixes of cultural detritus including webscraping, text processing, and image manipulation. While learning how cut-up practices can help us take critical vantage points on media saturation and algorithmic bias, participants will feel adept at teaching themselves further extensions of these creative modes of intervention into culture and politics in the age of new media by the end of the workshop.

Price: $30

Materials: Participants are required to bring their own laptops.

Audience: Open to all.

Alex Wermer-Colan has published on avant-garde literature and theory in Twentieth Century Literaturethe Yearbook of Comparative Literature, the D.H. Lawrence Review, and the LA Review of Books. He has also edited multiple books of literary criticism and archival materials, including Lost & Found’s The Travel Agency is on Fire and the definitive anthology on the cut-up with Indiana University Press, William S. Burroughs Cutting Up the Century (July 2019)As a CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow at Temple University’s Digital Scholarship Center, Alex regularly teaches computational methods for cultural analytics and the digital arts. As a dramaturg, he has contributed to adapting Burroughs’ cut-up works into Decoder 2017, a multi-media theatrical event performed at Pioneer Works in July.