The Tangent Factories

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


The Tangent Factories is a graphic novel ‘mash-up’. The story is created using an unconventional and experimental treatment of existing texts. Essentially using an approach which overlaps/relates to ‘cut-up’ (Burroughs/Gysin) and ‘uncreative writing’ techniques (Kenneth Goldsmith).

The fictional narrative of The Tangent Factories is built out of existing lines from Philip K Dick’s oeuvre, cut-up and re-arranged to tell a story very similar to that of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But the new carved-up narrative deviates away from Dahl’s original story. Instead, the mashed-up text tells the story of an eccentric information factory in ‘After the Bomb London’ – a post-apocalyptic city covered in radioactive dust. As the story takes shape, aspects of my life begin to influence the narrative, appearing in both the ‘fiction’ and the ‘real’ meta-voices. These "in-breaking" (Dick) moments increasingly pull-focus and contaminate the visuals, forming an auto-fiction bridge between the two.

The visuals of the graphic novel are plundered from various sources. They consist of cut-up and rearranged AI generated imagery/scenarios born from placing cut-up sentences into an online image generator. Other visual elements are taken from found graphics, clip art, emojis, and low-fi doodles.

My paper will consist of a short reading from The Tangent Factories graphic novel. I would then discuss/unpack some of the issues at stake within the work.

Because my wife and her family are Ukrainian (she is from Zaporizhzhia), many of the meta-narrative footnotes refer to the situation unfolding in Zaporizhzhia (and the Ukraine). Zaporizhzhia is a city (with a nuclear power plant nearby) very close to the front line in south-eastern Ukraine. The extreme nuclear anxiety created by this dire situation echos many cultural moments of anxiety at the height of the Cold War in the 1980s - and this will be the focus of my presentation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2023
EventHistorioGRAPHICS: Framing the Past in Comics - Amerikahaus Munich, Munich, Germany
Duration: 16 Jun 202318 Jun 2023


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  • Ukraine
  • Ukraine/Russia war
  • Autotheory
  • Hauntology
  • Fiction
  • Non-conscious cognition
  • Intuition
  • Collage
  • Appropriation
  • Philip K Dick
  • Roald Dahl
  • Precognitive
  • Cut-up
  • Detournment
  • Science-fiction
  • Post capitalism
  • Synchronicity
  • Carl Jung
  • Lauren Fournier
  • experimental writing
  • low-fi
  • graphic narrative
  • Situationism


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