Text Action: A Text that Destroys Itself

June 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

A collaboration between Dr. Howard Britton, Daniel Jackson and Simon Morris.

A Text That Destroys Itself in the Process of its Own Meaning

“Beginning with two separate texts on the work of Gustav Metzger, one black on white, one red on white, the authors Dr. Howard Britton and Simon Morris will take it in turns to read aloud pages from their work. Using Extraction, a computer programme created by the artist Daniel Jackson, words will be randomly removed, one by one, from each author’s text. 2 versions of Extraction will be running simultaneously. One will present the words from Britton’s text, ‘Gustav Metzger: a manifesto for destruction: between two deaths’, black on red. The other will present the words from Morris’s text, ‘Beyond Representation’, red on black. These will be projected onto the wall behind Britton and Morris, side by side like facing pages of a book. In the manner of a dada poetry recital, as one author reads from their text, the other author will simultaneously read aloud the words that have been randomly removed from the other text by the Extraction programme. Like a virus, or process of contagion, the aural presentation of words from one text will increasingly cover over the aural presentation of words from the other text, until meaning is completely destroyed/disappears. Extraction will aim to remove all the words in the performers text in the same time that it will take the performers to read their texts. Extraction presents the text, without the structure of their original meaning, and imposes its own order on the authors words. As the writer William S. Burroughs said: “Language is a virus from outer space.”

This action took place at the Gustav Metzger congress at the Atlantis Gallery, Brick Lane, London on 15th March 2003 press release can be read online, courtesy of Daniel Jackson

Read the full texts here.

Thank you Lana Turner Journal.

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