In its most basic form sampling simply re-processes existing culture, usually technologically, in much the same way a collage does.
In the early 1980s artists began cannibalising fragments of sound, image, music, dance and performance to create new works of art. These hybrid projects used sampling to generate live or time-based events that subverted our notions of time, space, artist and audience, virtual and actual.
In the past two decades this DIY punk aesthetic has come to represent a radical challenge to the notions of authorship, originality and intellectual property, while creating new narratives and refreshing the cultural archive. Artists like Christian Marclay and Candice Breitz manipulate film and music, remixing familiar footage into epic narratives.