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Marcel Duchamp: The Afternoon Interviews Paperback – February 28, 2013
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These previously unreleased interviews, conducted in Duchamp's New York home in 1964, reveal the master at his playful, ever-provocative ease. (Sue Taylor Art in America)
A forthcoming book presents previously unpublished interviews with Marcel Duchamp from 1964 by longtime New Yorker contributor Calvin Tompkins. Adding to the veritable industry of publications devoted to the artist.' (Brian Boucher Art in America)
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In addition to the text —
"the enhanced e-book includes four audio clips, including three from the original 1964 recording of the interview and a never before heard clip of Tomkins in 2012 telling a short story about Duchamp."
Oddly, the three audio clips featuring Duchamp reveal sizeable discrepancies between his recorded remarks and the versions that appear on the screen. The most significant difference occurs on page 36 (page 45 in the ebook) in a passage about the formation of the Société Anonyme. In the audio clip, Duchamp remarks on what it means to be a “museum of modern art.” His observations on this subject have not been transcribed.
These discrepancies between text and audio are by no means minor—the meaning of everything in the book is altered through misrepresentation, especially since there is no introduction, let alone footnotes—no warning that cuts or changes have been made and what they might be. I purchased the print version just to make sure that this is the case with both. The book and the ebook don’t vary in any way, (except that there are no sound files included with the former).
It’s too easy to point to this as a weakness in the publication. However, I don’t want to, since, for one thing, it’s obvious. For another, it gives one pause to ponder how often this happens in editing, regardless of the medium. For whatever reason (space, relevancy) the author/editor made the kinds of decisions that take place all the time. The good news, if there is any, is that now we have a way, as never before, to compare a transcribed text with the original audio record (assuming that too hasn’t been edited).
No, I actually want to praise this project for presenting me with possibility. To be able to encounter significant discrepancies between the text and the sound files opens up enormous potential for interpretation (assuming one pays attention) that would not have presented itself if we were reading text in print alone.
My only regret is that I can’t hear the whole thing.