Digital collage

Digital collage – surrealist game

created 11 January 2009

Collage is a classic surrealist technique, with perhaps the most famous collages created by Max Ernst. It would be interesting to explore ways of making digital collages, perhaps as a collective game. Below are some ideas:

  1. Mutual Art Cut-ups – Invite people who work with music, image, and word to bring one disposable page with their work on it. In the case of music, it will be a written score. In the case of image, it will be a print or photocopy. Form teams of three. Each team cuts up the pages of its own work and passes the pages to the next team. Then, the teams reassemble the pieces they have been given into a paper collage. Once each team is satisfied with the product, the musician in the team plays the reassembled music while the piece is videotaped, perhaps with the camera zooming in on detail or panning across the work.
  2. Variation 1 – do it on paper, record it digitally: Another option is to photograph the work at the end, and make an MP3 recording of the music being played. Post to the web so that viewers can listen to the music while viewing the collage.
  3. Variation 2 – do it digitally: In this version, each team has a computer and access to a scanner (or participants can contribute digital versions of their works in MP3, JPG, or DOC format). Works are cut up digitally and exchanged in the same manner as before. The reassembling process consists of each team making a photomontage using Windows Movie Maker or similar program, inserting the visual and sound fragments into a movie clip. Words can either be recorded to use as  a voiceover or presented as images of text fragments, depending on the desire of the team.
  4. From the Mundane to the Sublime – In the spirit of Ernst, who used illlustrations from catalogues to make bizarre creatures in his collages, each particpant brings a sample of cultural production from a mundane source – found sound in the form of samples, found images from advertisements, etc., found words from the newspaper or other mainstream sources. These can be cut up and reassembled in any of the ways listed above.

There may be more ways to work this, I’m still playing around with the idea and welcome any thoughts.


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