thoughts on Appropriation versus Sampling

Posted by joy garnett | Tue Mar 16th 2004 1:07 p.m.

I keep saying to myself: Sampling is the Appropriation of the 21st century.
So what are the differences? Some distinctions stand to be made.

I'm beginning to realize that the plaintiff in my case regards Molotov as
pure Appropriation; but I've been thinking about what I do as pure
Sampling off the Web -- and that these two things describe our respective
cultures. (The fact that I go on to paint my sampled bits with my eye/hand
is probably just perverse). She hasn't yet made any distinctions between
the two, but I'm bent on doing so.

Here are a few thoughts that have crossed my mind since the beginning of
our discussion:

Appropriation:
- refers specifically to an artistic practice of the 20th century
whereby other artworks (usually) are derived or copied wholesale with
specific conceptual artistic intentions;
- Appropriation usually functions in terms of "parody" or "comment" upon
the original artwork;
- Appropriation always draws attention to the fact or act of the
appropriation, rather than to try to hide the fact; the act of
appropriating is foregrounded in the resulting artwork.
- Therefore, Appropriated artworks are always clearly and closely wedded
to the original, rather than divorced from it; the idea is NOT to make
something entirely new.

Sampling:
- originally meant the taking--stealing--of short segments of
pre-recorded music to be used and remixed in/as a new work;
- the term "Sampling" is increasingly used to denote the use of
pre-existing anything: film, photographs, logos, ads, texts, etc.,
- One difference, therefore, is that Sampling makes use of not just
pre-existing artworks, as does most of Appropriation, but of any or all
material existing in the larger culture. Anything can be sampled. The
increased use of Sampling is certainly a result of the ubiquity of the Web
and digital copying, and the increasing cheapness and ease and ubiquity
of the technology we use to access our "larger culture";
- Sampling is always about taking found bits and pieces in order to make
something entirely new. Remixes disregard and discard the context,
the intended meaning/s and artistic import of the original work being
sampled. Sampling is about creating something new, and not about
commenting on an original.

That's all I've got for now. Clearly the Joywar pieces are both
Appropriations and Sampled Remixes, in varying degrees.

Any thoughts/comments/disagreements ?

-Joy
  • marc garrett | Tue Mar 16th 2004 10:03 p.m.
    Hi Joy,

    I do not wish to answer specifically to your post below but rather
    declare what I have noticed...

    Yes - what is interesting to me personally with something like the act
    of sampling is that the process has a genealogy. It moves in time like
    chinese whispers.

    A mutation takes place. And even when we look at what we say or may be
    perceive as a beginning in embodied form such as a riot, a protest.
    Someone, or people making a protest, an activist responding to a
    situation with action, is repeating human history, it has a kind of
    story of its own, a journey, even a narrative(s), like many other
    aspects in life.

    What is interesting is that appropriation regarding what is now termed
    as 'Joywar', which was spawned from a different image originally - lives
    on, it has evolved.

    It seems that we cannot help but be influenced by each other - the
    behaviour of copying and re-distributing is an essential strategy for
    survival and potential mutualist understanding, or enemy defining, not
    necessarily and always in the grand scheme of things but in an everyday
    sense, it can be subtle and close to instinct, even intuitive.
    Appropriation is like acknowledging then understanding and then in some
    cases possessing, it is also territorial, and in most cases it must
    change and become something else yet maintain an essence of its source,
    its gene. Or it will not and cannot be seen, for it looses its reference
    and linked-definition - so, the updating has re-contexutalised (yuk
    word), has given it a new lease of life.

    The proof is here, various people have explored their own definitions,
    not only because they wished to support you but because - copying and
    re-invention, re-recording is the act of reclaiming something. Making it
    part of our their own, our own history, it was updated because it was
    time to live once more, you were its carrier to fresh pastures...

    marc :-D

    >I keep saying to myself: Sampling is the Appropriation of the 21st century.
    >So what are the differences? Some distinctions stand to be made.
    >
    >I'm beginning to realize that the plaintiff in my case regards Molotov as
    >pure Appropriation; but I've been thinking about what I do as pure
    >Sampling off the Web -- and that these two things describe our respective
    >cultures. (The fact that I go on to paint my sampled bits with my eye/hand
    >is probably just perverse). She hasn't yet made any distinctions between
    >the two, but I'm bent on doing so.
    >
    >Here are a few thoughts that have crossed my mind since the beginning of
    >our discussion:
    >
    >Appropriation:
    >- refers specifically to an artistic practice of the 20th century
    >whereby other artworks (usually) are derived or copied wholesale with
    >specific conceptual artistic intentions;
    >- Appropriation usually functions in terms of "parody" or "comment" upon
    >the original artwork;
    >- Appropriation always draws attention to the fact or act of the
    >appropriation, rather than to try to hide the fact; the act of
    >appropriating is foregrounded in the resulting artwork.
    >- Therefore, Appropriated artworks are always clearly and closely wedded
    >to the original, rather than divorced from it; the idea is NOT to make
    >something entirely new.
    >
    >Sampling:
    >- originally meant the taking--stealing--of short segments of
    >pre-recorded music to be used and remixed in/as a new work;
    >- the term "Sampling" is increasingly used to denote the use of
    >pre-existing anything: film, photographs, logos, ads, texts, etc.,
    >- One difference, therefore, is that Sampling makes use of not just
    >pre-existing artworks, as does most of Appropriation, but of any or all
    >material existing in the larger culture. Anything can be sampled. The
    >increased use of Sampling is certainly a result of the ubiquity of the Web
    >and digital copying, and the increasing cheapness and ease and ubiquity
    >of the technology we use to access our "larger culture";
    >- Sampling is always about taking found bits and pieces in order to make
    >something entirely new. Remixes disregard and discard the context,
    >the intended meaning/s and artistic import of the original work being
    >sampled. Sampling is about creating something new, and not about
    >commenting on an original.
    >
    >
    >That's all I've got for now. Clearly the Joywar pieces are both
    >Appropriations and Sampled Remixes, in varying degrees.
    >
    >Any thoughts/comments/disagreements ?
    >
    >-Joy
    >
    >+
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    >Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
    >
    >
    >
  • joy garnett | Wed Mar 17th 2004 noon
    I just stumbled across this short essay by Leon Golub;
    here's a quote and the link:

    "I'm nuts on images. I cut them out of books and newspapers, mostly books
    and magazines. And this is absolutely crucial to me, because this is one
    of the ways I tap into the world. It's the way I visualize it. But I see
    the world not just out of my own obsessive attitude. I see the world
    because it comes to me through media. Through film, through newspapers,
    through TV...we're surfeited really. We're over exposed. We're shoved at
    all the time by media. And I've often said it's kind of a half joke, you
    know how they say you're sixty or eighty percent water? Well, actually
    we're made up of twenty-five thousand photographs, eleven thousand films.
    All of this has moved through us and is affecting us in some way or the
    other. So we're media creatures. We're living in an extraordinary visual
    world."

    full text: http://www.wgbh.org/wgbh/pages/bostonarts/2002/golub.html

    more on Leon Golub:
    http://www.culturevulture.net/ArtandArch/Golub.htm
    http://www.jca-online.com/golub.html

    various solo shows at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, NYC
    http://www.feldmangallery.com/pages/artistsrffa/artgol01.html
  • nicholas economos | Wed Mar 17th 2004 8:17 p.m.
    joy,
    yes, i agree...
    I really don't have a simple thought that doesn't involve appropriation or sampling on some level. your painting and the photograph involve both but are different resolutions. Refusing that doesn't have to be a generational thing, as in when you were born or what sort of music you have been exposed to. Being able to accept it may be a bent of mind that is reinforced from being creative with a computer though, i hope so, but unfortunately the person suing you hasn't been bitten by that yet.
    nicholas
  • Lee Wells | Thu Mar 18th 2004 2:14 a.m.
    He said to me once, "to not worry about copyright until you are famous."

    on 3/17/04 11:00, Joy Garnett at joyeria@walrus.com wrote:

    >
    >
    > I just stumbled across this short essay by Leon Golub;
    > here's a quote and the link:
    >
    > "I'm nuts on images. I cut them out of books and newspapers, mostly books
    > and magazines. And this is absolutely crucial to me, because this is one
    > of the ways I tap into the world. It's the way I visualize it. But I see
    > the world not just out of my own obsessive attitude. I see the world
    > because it comes to me through media. Through film, through newspapers,
    > through TV...we're surfeited really. We're over exposed. We're shoved at
    > all the time by media. And I've often said it's kind of a half joke, you
    > know how they say you're sixty or eighty percent water? Well, actually
    > we're made up of twenty-five thousand photographs, eleven thousand films.
    > All of this has moved through us and is affecting us in some way or the
    > other. So we're media creatures. We're living in an extraordinary visual
    > world."
    >
    > full text: http://www.wgbh.org/wgbh/pages/bostonarts/2002/golub.html
    >
    > more on Leon Golub:
    > http://www.culturevulture.net/ArtandArch/Golub.htm
    > http://www.jca-online.com/golub.html
    >
    > various solo shows at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, NYC
    > http://www.feldmangallery.com/pages/artistsrffa/artgol01.html
    >
    >
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
  • joy garnett | Thu Mar 18th 2004 12:22 p.m.
    Lee,
    Leon told me he's never been sued for copyright infringement but he's
    spent his whole life worrying about it -- he said if anyone ever did that
    he'd offer them a painting.

    I'm not famous so I guess he was wrong!

    best,
    J

    On Thu, 18 Mar 2004, Lee Wells wrote:

    > He said to me once, "to not worry about copyright until you are famous."
    >
    > on 3/17/04 11:00, Joy Garnett at joyeria@walrus.com wrote:
    >
    > >
    > >
    > > I just stumbled across this short essay by Leon Golub;
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