William Burroughs – Beyond the Cut-Up


This conference Beyond the Cut-up: William S. Burroughs and the Image will explore new theoretical interventions and accounts of Burroughs’s ideas of the image, its effects and modes of operation, its impact on human consciousness, its complex embedding within textual and other fields, its psychological and ideological transformations of perception. 

William S. Burroughs’s complex and provocative uses of the image challenge critical and theoretical orthodoxies. His works in writing, visual arts, cut-up and collage, painting, assemblage, photography, and in sonic arts, constantly return in multiple ways to a detailed and politically urgent enquiry into the nature and effects of the image, the word-as-image, and beyond.

Critical work on Burroughs’s art has hitherto focused mainly on his uses of cut-up techniques. However, his works offer very diverse responses to the multiple political and emotional functions of images in relation to modern and postmodern societies of control, and enable explorations of the status and potentials of the artist as agent within these contexts. These themes are insistent Burroughsian concerns.

Booking essential, £30 / £22 concs
Start time: 10.30 
Ends: 17.30


Opening Plenary: Oliver Harris, Professor of American Literature, Keele University
A Life-Time Cut-Up

Papers (3 x 20 min)

Robert W Jones II, University of Leicester: Image, Text and Body: William S Burroughs and Visceral Communication

Mark Jackson, IMT Gallery, London College of Communication and Southampton Solent University: Ghost of an Image: The Haptic Images of William S. Burroughs and David Burrows

Luna Dolezal, Department of Philosophy, Trinity College Dublin: The Cut-Up Body: Breyer Genesis P-Orridge and the Pandrogeny Project

Lunch break

Papers (3 x 20 min)

David Brittain, Manchester Metropolitan University: The Time and Space Travel Photography of William Burroughs

Rob Coley and Dean Lockwood, School of Media, University of Lincoln:Photography in a War Universe: Control Answers

Diana Hamilton, Cornell University: The Style of the Image

Break for coffee

Papers (2 x 20 min)

Edward S Robinson: Rub out the Word: William Burroughs’ Multimedia Explorations of the 1970s

Henry K Miller, Cambridge University/Anglia Ruskin University: Balch-Burroughs: Between the Art-house and the Underground

Closing Plenary: Allen Fisher, Emeritus Professor of Poetry and Art, Manchester Metropolitan University: Piano Film Repair: the Business of William S. Burroughs


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