Re-contextualising is also de-contextualising

While browsing the books and looking out for resonance to select sentences to include, there is a constant tension between wanting to ‘transport’ the source and the thrill of seeing its fragments become something else in the context that slowly builds up. I think it is worth being aware of the aggressive element in the method. Even those books that seem stylistically poor have a life in them that seems to form something akin to a mould, a negative form, an after-image of the author. I feel myself drawn in – today, I read Noel Fellowes‘ account of his fear to be ‘shived’ by the cons in the prison once it would transpire that he was an ex-copper. I felt the fear he describes. I became unable to ‘look out for sentences’ that would fit.
Re-using any such sentence in a new context that goes against the grain of the original context creates a thrill that always also has a whiff of abuse. Sure, one can just assume the air of the cool appropriation artist and point at numerous examples where stuff has been recontextualised (loads of examples can be found in ‘Against Expression‘). Indeed, I believe that all the effort to get clearance for my re-use is probably unnecessary from a legal perspective, considering the remote likelihood of any libel against my recontextualisation. But I realise that I also identify with each of the numerous authors, including authors of those books I don’t enjoy much.

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