Enculturation

A Journal of Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture

Infecting William S. Burroughs’ Words: A Mediation between Host and Parasite

Estee N. Beck , Bowling Green State University

 (Published: February 5, 2015)

I hope that with this remix I will not have to rent a space in an art gallery (or a conference booth) only to place a paper bag on my head to apologize. #iamsorry I am neither actor nor performance artist—perhaps, though, a curious provocateur. This remix mediates on the transaction of virus and host. Consider this: Burroughs saw the Word as virus, and also relied upon the cut-up method for arrangement and possibility. A successful virus replicates without the host's knowledge. Unsuccessful viruses replicate in strange fashions (such as this remix) that draw attention in odd manners to their nature, structure, and being. This mediation offers a pathway for considering the slipperiness of cut-up &/or plagiarism as virus. This remix-as-method itself is not plagiarism; the method only allows the virus to slip through and attach to the host body. What the remix hopefully offers those infected by the Word is an opportunity to reflect and engage on cut-up and even plagiarism, and perhaps the potential for transcendence into performance and art.

Academic druthers: The arrangement of Burroughs’ audio words in the timestamp of 1.31 through 1.34 follows the written word or structure from the following source: Serres, Michel. The Parasite. Trans. Lawrence R. Schehr. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U P, 1982. Print.