Whenever William Gibson has something to say I'm happy to listen. This little article from Wired Magazine is about the rise of the sampling, remixing, digital culture we find ourselves with and how it came to be.
"I discovered that Burroughs had incorporated snippets of other writers' texts into his work, an action I knew my teachers would have called plagiarism. Some of these borrowings had been lifted from American science fiction of the '40s and '50s, adding a secondary shock of recognition for me.
By then I knew that this "cut-up method," as Burroughs called it, was central to whatever it was he thought he was doing, and that he quite literally believed it to be akin to magic. When he wrote about his process, the hairs on my neck stood up, so palpable was the excitement. Experiments with audiotape inspired him in a similar vein: "God's little toy," his friend Brion Gysin called their reel-to-reel machine.
Sampling. Burroughs was interrogating the universe with scissors and a paste pot, and the least imitative of authors was no plagiarist at all."
Wired 13.07: God's Little Toys