Re-ordering the words of advertisers to say what we really want.
Playing with text is fun.
From the agitative work of the dada movement in the 1920s to the work of William S. Burroughs in the 1950s and 1960s, re-contextualising found text has remained a great way to re-order your environment. Even David Bowie was inspired by the cut-up technique to create some of his lyrics.
The poet Allen Fisher used a couple of cool analogies to describe the process. He used the terms fracturing (that is, breaking apart/ breaking down into fractal pieces – I guess you could say we’ve done that with the text from advertising billboards) and then facturing (as in putting back together – manufacture). His poetic invention Brixton Fractals saw him juxtaposing found text together with notebook observations. Presented in varying font sizes the reader can engage with the poem in a number of ways, for instance reading from start to finish or reading the lines in the same font size together (sampling/re-ordering the work for themselves). Fisher said he was interested in the relationship between author and reader and was keen for the reader to be given ownership and choice. A kind of democracy in reading.
Reading some of the work from the RE:Advertise project so far (check out the archive) you can see that many can be interpreted in a number of different ways. Some give a seemingly straightforward message whilst others take you on a journey of imagination or choice about what you read first. Some of the resulting imagery reminds me of some animations that have been drawn to illustrate the ponderings arising from the subjects discussed on radio 4’s Just A Minute.
Language has the power to take us on the most extraordinary travels…….. can’t wait to see where RE:Advertise will take us next!