David Ruy traces a tradition of discontinuous collage from the first synthetic cubist works of Picasso and Braque, through classic examples such as Richard Hamilton’s “Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?” (1956) and David Hockney’s Polaroid composite “Still Life Blue Guitar, 4th April 1982”. Ruy presents Nancy Burson’s 1983 “Warhead I,” as an example of an alternative tradition of continuous collage. Ruy argues that the approach to images in this tradition is ubiquitous, found in tools like Google Image Search. Ruy offers a passage from Walter Benjamin’s “Work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction” as a preface to some contemporary photographers whose work demonstrates different modes of continuous collage, including Andreas Gursky, James Dive, Heide Hatry, Cedric Delsaux, Clay Lipsky, Filip Dujardin, Philipp Schaerer. Ruy concludes with a passage from Jacques Rancière’s Aesthetics and its Discontents, on the vicious circle of critical art, from which collage might offer a constructive alternative.
Peter Trummer begins by asking what would the real political content of collage today? He explores the question by surveying the most significant theoretical approaches to urbanism that engage collage. Rowe and Koetter’s Collage City (1979) explores the pre-modern, modernist and post-modern city in a formalist approach, where content lies in form: specifically as different versions of figure/ground problem. Peter Eisenman’s Rebstockpark (1990-1) project and Rem Koolhaas’ Delirious New York (1978) are based on the premise that any content can be put into any form. Both content and form are free-floating signifiers in Bernard Tschumi Manhattan Transcripts (1976-81). Tschumi proposes that objects (architecture), movements, and events are all interchangeable.