Everything Is Sampled
Digital and Print Mediations in African Arts and Letters
Published by: Indiana University Press
Everything Is Sampled examines the shifting modes of production and circulation of African artistic forms since the 1980s, focusing on digital culture as the most currently decisive setting for these changes.
Drawing on works of cinema, literature, music, and visual art, Akin Adesokan. addresses two main questions. First, given the various changes that the institutions producing African arts and letters have undergone in the past four decades, how have the representational impulses in these forms fared in comparison with those at work in pervasively digital cultures? Second, how might a long view of these artistic forms across media and in different settings affect our understanding of what counts as art, as text, as authorship? Immersed in digital culture, African artists today are acutely aware of the media-saturated circumstances in which they work and actively bridge them by making ethical choices to shape those circumstances.
Through an innovative development and analysis of five modes of creative practice—curation, composition, adaptation, platform, and remix—Everything Is Sampled offers an absorbingly complex yet nuanced approach to appreciating the work of several generations of African writers, directors, and artists. No longer content to just fill a spot in the relay between the conception and distribution of a work, these artists are now also quick to view and reconfigure their works through different modes of creative practice.
Introduction: The New Terrains of African Arts and Letters
Part One: Shifting Margins
1. Modes of Creative Practice
2. Spatial Assemblages: Festivals as Curation
Part Two: Across the Digital Divide
3. The Griot's Compositions in Time
4. Adaptation or Remake: New Formats for Old Prints
5. Approaching the World as Platform, Literally
6. The Remix: Of New Identities and Technologies of Reuse
Epilogue: In Relative Account
"Everything Is Sampled deploys the idea of production in deft and thoughtful manners to think together African arts, the integrity of the discrete aesthetic phenomenon, and the historical matrix within which aesthetic objects gain life. Everything Is Sampled adopts and rechannels terms implicated in the workings of text-making practices like curation, translation, media and modes (streaming technologies included), to establish patterns of changes and regularities in drama, film, video, poetry, and art installation. Individuals interested in lucid cultural analysis ought to find the eminently accessible style of presentation very appealing."~Adeleke Adeeko, Ohio State University
"Everything Is Sampled will make significant contributions to African literary and cultural studies, postcolonial studies, and world literature studies. It's central objects of analysis extend over an impressively wide range of artistic productions in sub-Saharan Africa, from the mid twentieth-century to the contemporary moment of globalization and digital culture. This unusual capaciousness is risky but exciting. Adesokan's work takes on this ambitious task with a flair that is at once substantive and stylistic."~Olakunle George, Brown University
"Adesokan provides an absorbing analysis of the transformations digital technology has brought about in African art and literature."~M. Miller, Louisiana State University, Choice