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Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathSociety

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He combined this acoustic and visual found footage with sequences from his own films, and later with long, specially filmed interviews. Godard was not just aiming to thoroughly revise his own material, but to wrest the images and sounds he found from the descriptions that dominated them by using an omnipresent media machinery, thus making them visible and audible again (interview 1976).[11]

A second important inspirational element in political media art since the 1970s came from the writers of the so-called ‹Beat Generation›. On October 1, 1959, Brion Gysin and William Burroughs, whose book «Naked Lunch» had just been published, invented the cut-up technique in the Beat Hotel in Paris. This involved cutting up found textual and audio material at random and reassembling it in the same way.[12] This produces sentences that actually are complete, some containing amusing nonsense, but also appearing to contain some codified meaning. Gysin and Burroughs also used tape recorders, pulling the tapes across the playback heads by hand to produce sudden and completely new sounds and words. «It was as though a


virus was driving the word material from mutation to mutation,»[13] and Burroughs found it entirely natural to use a report about the current state of virus research in his first text montages. So William Burroughs uses media (tape recorder) to produce texts: in the first half of the sixties he published three novels produced using the cut-up process: «The Soft Machine,» «The Ticket that Exploded» and «Nova Express.» As well as this, Burroughs applies the cut-up technique directly to media products in his experimental short films that appeared at this time: «Towers Open Fire» (1963) and «The Cut-Ups» (1965). In the novel «Nova Express» (1964), which demonstrates the cut-up method in all its radicality, Burroughs' current interests are central: «Linguistic theory, behavior control, thought control, the virus as a sinister organism on the border between living and dead matter and the virus as a metaphor for the way language works.»[14] This is also the origin of Burroughs' thesis that «language is a virus from outer space,» which was to find unhoped-for exposure in an early 1980s hit single by the performance artist

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