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Sampling Media$
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David Laderman and Laurel Westrup

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199949311

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199949311.001.0001

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Rigorous Infidelity

Rigorous Infidelity

Whole Text Sampling in the Curatorial Work of Henri Langlois, Dewey Phillips, and Jean-François Lyotard

(p.60) 4 Rigorous Infidelity
Sampling Media

Barry Mauer

Oxford University Press

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.

Keywords:   sampling, curating, Henri Langlois, French New Wave, Dewey Phillips, Jean François Lyotard, information art, Jean-Luc Godard, Elvis Presley, Sam Phillips

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