Chapter Ten Connected

The art of putting unconnected things together to create something completely new.

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In the late 1950s and early 1960s, novelist and key figure in the Beat Generation William S. Burroughs1 developed the cut-up technique, a method of creative writing in which text is cut up into smaller pieces and then rearranged randomly. In the 1975 BBC documentary about David Bowie, Cracked Actor, we see him creating song lyrics by randomly picking phrases he’s written on strips of paper. We watch as he cuts a sheet into strips, on which he’s written some phrases, and then piece them together, starting with, ‘I’m an alligator’, and next, ...

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