Collage, Lines of Narrative Progression and Plot

Collage…the piecing together of different matter, perhaps of different forms in such a manner that they become linked and related in some way. Within the reading that interested me the most this week, Shields discusses the concept of collage throughout his work whilst in a paralleled thread of discussion also questions the role and necessity of ‘plot’. In a bold and somewhat audacious manner, shields declares ‘plots are for dead people’, arguing that it is now the art of collage that is the dominating literature of today. What interested me so much about this reading was the way in which I both heavily disagreed and agreed with the ideas being presented.

Firstly, i disagree that plots are no longer needed and I believe that that are also something that are unavoidable. As plots are the series of events within a story that make up some sort of pattern, they are something that arise out of any form of writing, even within the form of collage. In relating this concept to the structure of the internet as shields does himself, I agree that the network like system of the internet is undeniably like that of a collage as ‘The very nature of collage demands fragmented materials, or at least materials yanked out of context’ of which occurs when using the internet through hypertext. However, I believe that when using the internet you could argue that the presence of a plot is both recognisable and valid. You start off on google, search the organisation the ‘The Cancer Council’, you then search their web page, then continue onto their Facebook page, their twitter page, youtube channel, wikipedia page then end your journey by downloading their app. Is this not a series of events that are related through a pattern?

However, I also then do agree with Shields’s further questioning of his initial overconfidence in the form of collage as he poses the questions, ‘How long do you not need a story?’ and with the constant weaving ways of the web ‘how long will the reader stay engaged?’  Perhaps we need both plot based narratives and collage influenced literature. Do we really need to move away and almost eradicate everything that is traditional just to give ourselves confirmation of advancement? Maybe we’re all just shooting ourselves in the foot here…

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