Whole Text Sampling in the Curatorial Work of Henri Langlois, Dewey Phillips, and Jean-François Lyotard
This chapter theorizes the ways in which curators sample and mix whole texts in their archives. Samplers of whole texts include radio DJs, film programmers, museum curators, and scholars. The distinction between whole texts and fragments is nebulous, since archives can be viewed as gigantic texts of which any “whole” text is merely a fragment. Whole-text sampling has played a critical role in the development of modern aesthetics, such as French New Wave cinema, early rock-and-roll music, and information art. This chapter discusses the work of such whole-text sampling pioneers as film archivist Henri Langlois, Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips, and scholar-curator Jean François Lyotard, who combined past and present, mixed genres, and created aesthetic collisions without regard for presumed value. In Robert Ray’s terms, we can state that these curators practiced a rigorous infidelity toward their materials. Their aesthetics translated into new artistic and intellectual works.
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