This paper notes the importance of Kurt Schwitters’s Merz project to the modernist politics and poetics of exile of the 20th century. Placing the sound work of Schwitters within his full Merz project, the author assesses the relations between the Ursonate and the final Merzbau. He discusses three of these relations—collage, found objects and the structures of building materiality in language and sculpture—and presents Schwitters’s work as culminating in a vision of sound and building structures in what Brandon Taylor has called “intrusive new entities” of collage and assemblage that are themselves analogous to the “intrusive new entities” of human material itself.

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