Believe What is Written

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I began this project reflecting on childhood associations with collage which involved taking newspapers and magazines and assembling their images into my own coherent composition. My first choice was appropriational as I selected printed words of newspapers as my main collage material. The Hill, a congressional newspaper, became the main source/target of my collage, as a publication geared specifically towards government employees and politicians.  I removed ten copies of the Hill from its box, cut and pasted words from other news publications onto their pages to create new headlines, bylines, and ad slogans, documented them, and returned them to their box the following morning to be taken away and read.

The headlines I collaged functioned as both inserted nonsense or often times a more considered political or social critique. Through this project I was attempting to, if not undermine, question the truth-function that the news publication, specifically those still in print have : we will believe what is written. Public confidence in the printed newspaper persists regardless of events such as the Ruport Murdoch's News of The World Scandal and skepticism over the increasing partisanship television and radio news outlets. Looking through the pages' collaged counterparts, we want to make meaning or derive information, from even these nonsensical or absurdist headlines.  Believing is not a two-step process in which we first understand something and then believe it. Rather, understanding is believing - the moment after reading something you believe it until another critical faculty intervenes to question it.  Believe What is Written puts pressure on this inclination. By also intervening in the actual circulation of the Hill, the collaged material puts pressure on the trust between news-reader and news-writer.

My formal approach was both subtle and overt. At times the cut-out words are naturalized into the headlines, so that the inclusion of one word not only undermines the coherency of the content but reinvents it. Alternatively the collaged words in no way assimilate seamlessly into the page. My ‘cut’ and ‘paste’ process is visually explicit,  referencing  the way in which news outlets construct their own news content rather than simply relay it.

The Hill Pages and their Collaged Counterparts: 


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