Trash Aesthetics, by Sarah Button

trash aestheticsPhoto by author.

It all started with one simple question:

“What’s your favourite book?”

Thus began the three hour in-depth session in which our preconceptions about different genres of literature were pushed to the absolute limit.

Since the information about this event was sparse, I had no idea what to expect going in. As people were taking their seats, the organisers started handing out scissors and glue. Then out came the multi-coloured sheets of card. Curiouser and curiouser…

First of all we were instructed to talk to our neighbour about the kinds of genre fiction we like and what we’ve read recently. For those who don’t know, genre fiction is anything that fits into a particular literary category; crime, science fiction, fantasy, romance, you name it. It soon transpired that there were a lot of common interests in the group – someone even liked the same obscure series of books as me!

Now onto the task for the afternoon: choose a book, and using a photocopy of one of the pages, make a collage by cutting out the words. The choice and placement of the words should make a statement about the respective genre you’ve chosen. Sound complicated? It was. Very.

However, cutting and sticking while listening to new age music was so relaxing that everyone really got into the activity and soon the collages were taking shape. One participant chose a crime novel so decided to make her collage in the shape of a gun (as shown in the photo). Mine was slightly less ingenious, but I tried to give it an abstract feel – you can decide for yourself what it looks like, it’s the one on the blue card.

The great thing about the event was that it was relaxing, while still teaching us about a new way to view genre novels. Score!

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