nick-e melville: ALERT STATE IS HEIGHTENED

Collage has a long history in avant garde practice, from Picasso, Braque and Schwitters in the visual arts to Cage, Mac Low and Pound in literature. Marjorie Perloff, whilst noting its experimental origins, is dismissive of its current value: “What was once a revolutionary technique is now the staple of advertising and greeting cards.” Part of the reason for this it is now, in the digital age, so much easier to do. Cut and paste has replaced scissors and glue and the internet gives us all the library of Babel in our pocket. It is true, as Perloff notes, that some examples of collage are unambitious and uninteresting. It is also, true, however, that a lot depends on who is doing the collaging. nick-e melville’s work is very far from being a Hallmark message or a commercial break. Rather it is a sustained detournement of the tricks and tropes of advanced capitalism. It is a work of deconstruction in that it picks apart the smoothed texts of reification and commerce that are forever around us, but it is also a work of construction, taking these threads and fragments and weaving them together into a giant magpie’s nest. ALERT STATE IS HEIGHTENED is as dense as a cubed car in a scrapyard and as heavy as the Death Star. This is a text made of texts, artificial in its conception and execution, yet as authentic an expression of individuality as you are likely to find.

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