Domenico Quaranta on Jon Rafman show, copyright issues

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Recently Jon Rafman removed several images from the Brand New Paint Job website after an artists' licensing organization based in Canada sent cease and desist letters. In an essay for his show at Fabio Paris Art Gallery, Domenico Quaranta, author of Media, New Media, Postmedia (excerpted on Rhizome) explains why the contested images are fair use:

Schwitters Alley, 2011

What makes BNPJ [Brand New Paint Job] a radical project, despite its apparent accessibility, is – on one hand – its not immediate identification as a work of art and – on the other – its referencing of a conception of intellectual property that is not shared by current legislation.

As for the first point, without entering into the legal motivations behind the cease and desist letters, it is interesting to note that neither of them refer to the artistic nature of the project. The first makes a generic mention of “images”, and the second refers to an “online game”. It has to be said that if Rafman had been recognised as an artist, and his work as art, it is highly likely that it would have satisfied the criteria for fair use: the limited use of copyright material for specific purposes, as normally applies to artistic appropriations. So how was it possible that a collective set up to protect the interests of artists did not recognise, or refused to recognise, the artistic nature of a work?

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Required Reading: From the VCR to YouTube: An Interview with Lucas Hilderbrand by Henry Jenkins

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What happened before YouTube?

It's a question we've addressed here many times before. Many different histories lead to our current moment of video sharing and DIY media-making -- some subcultural (the history of fandom and a range of other communities of practice which are generating new content), some economic, some technological. Lucas Hilderbrand, author of Inherent Vice: Bootleg Histories of Videotape and Copyright, holds some critical pieces of the puzzle, writing with historiographical sophistication about the emergence of video as a technology and as set of cultural practices, about the debates it sparked especially around shifts in control over production and distribution, about the communities which formed around the sharing of tapes, and about how all of this looks forward to contemporary digital practices. It is a book which raises vital questions and provides a rich historical context for our current debates.

As someone who lived through the era when the VCR was launched, the book brought back many memories of things I had almost forgotten about the dramatic adjustments which the culture made to this transformative and transgressive technology. Working through the book for an interview, I was struck by the fact that I, like many other instructors, have had very little to say about videotape in my current course on new media and culture, something I will work on the next time I teach it.

Given my enthusiasm for this book, I was delighted to be able to interview Hilderbrand and share with you his own reflections on the ways the history of video can help us to understand some contemporary media developments.

-- FROM THE INTRODUCTION TO "FROM THE VCR TO YOUTUBE: AN INTERVIEW WITH LUCAS HILDERBRAND" BY HENRY JENKINS

[READ PART ONE]

[READ PART TWO]

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40 gigs to Freedom -or- Hot Shit (2011) - Jesse Hulcher

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USB-harddrive, 1.82 gigabytes of illegally downloaded media

The USB-harddrive hanging on the wall contains a collection of illegally downloaded files, all of which contain the words "Steal This..." within their titles. The accompanying text-file catalogues all of that media and illustrates the files' locations on my computer's harddrive.

-- STATEMENT FROM THE ARTIST

[Note: This work is currently on view through May 1st at SPACE gallery in Pittsburgh in Jesse Hulcher's solo show STRAIGHT OUTTA CompUSA]

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Eula (2007) - Brian Joseph Davis

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Several years ago, forward thinking Sony/BMG created a new form of music by creating CDs with computer viruses and hidden contracts. This is a cover, by a women's chorus, of Sony's best song, End User License Agreement.


Originally via UbuWeb

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Videos from Wikitopia Festival

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Videos of the keynote speeches by scholars Wendy Hui Kyong Chun and Hector Rodriguez from September's Wikitopia Festival at Videotage in Hong Kong have been posted. The event examined the Free Culture movement and its impact on practices of knowledge sharing and networked creativity.

Originally via Networked_Performance



Wendy Hui Kyong Chun "The Possibilities and Limitations of Open Content"

The Possibilities and Limitations of Open Content by Prof. Wendy Hui Kyong Chun from Videotage Unlimited on Vimeo.

New media has made possible new “vernacular” archives of knowledge—from wikipedia to del.icio.us—that are challenging their standard top-down counterparts. These archives are usually either celebrated as democratizing knowledge, or condemned as destroying it. Refusing either of these positions, this talk asks: what does opening up content do? What does the open both make possible and close down? Is open content enough? How, in other words, should the open be the beginning rather than the end of the discussion?



Hector Rodriguez "The Principle of Reciprocity"

The Principle of Reciprocity by Dr. Hector Rodriguez from Videotage Unlimited on Vimeo.

Marcel Mauss’ classic study of The Gift introduced the principle of reciprocity, which has played a fundamental role in the evolution of modern social anthropology and critical theory. Mauss regarded the giving and receiving of gifts as a widespread cultural phenomenon. Although the gift often appears to have been spontaneously and freely offered, it is in fact obligatory. According to Mauss, it consists of “three obligations”: the obligation to receive, to give, and to return. The exchange of gifts thus exemplifies a complex procedure of ritualized exchange.

The principle of reciprocity can be understood in at least two different ways. First of all, the study of gift exchange constitutes a prehistory of the modern contract. Mauss showed that modern market transactions grew ...

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This painting is not available in your country (2010) - Paul Mutant

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Originally via PAINTED,ETC.

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JOGGING COMMEMORATIVE (2010) - JOGGING (Brad Troemel and Lauren Christiansen)

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This project features a full archive of all 743 Jogging posts from 2009-2010. Images of these works are viewable in chronological secession on Youtube videos that feature the Billboard Top 100 tracks for the first week of September 2010. Each image is shown for 10 seconds in the videos. The first 24 Jogging posts are presented with the #1 Billboard song playing. Posts continue to unfold chronologically, moving down the chart and ending at the 31st song on the charts...

The songs in Jogging Commemorative are not intended as musical accompaniments. In this project, Billboard Top 100 tracks are the medium Jogging’s history exists through; the sites at which the Youtube viewer’s consensual desire to listen is paired with an unwitting visual experience. By choosing the most popular songs currently available, the artists intend to make use of this music’s universality as a form of digital public space. Here art is a parasite, assuming the shape of popular culture insidiously while seemingly undergoing minimal alteration in visual content.

Though these songs may be commonly heard due to their advantageous corporate sponsorship, they are not cultural commons. Each video in Jogging Commemorative stands as a display of Youtube users’ contextual helplessness in the face of heavily lobbied copyright law. The array of subsidized advertisements to purchase the songs is a constant reminder of the music industry’s tenuous relationship with freely distributed subject matter. “This is property on loan”, the advertisements figuratively tell viewers, as the RIAA hedges a bet that the more widely distributed the forced advertisements for MP3 purchases on available Youtube videos, the more likely they will recoup the lost profits of music listened to without cost. Jogging’s distributive and aesthetic intentions are nestled within this counterintuitive marketing ploy.

Not all will be able ...

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Untitled (White) (2008) - Scott Short

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Installation view of Untitled (White) at the 2010 Whitney Biennial
(Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins, Source: Christopher Grimes Gallery)

In works such as Untitled (white), Short considers the concepts of authorship and reproduction. He begins by photocopying a blank piece of colored construction paper onto a blank piece of standard copy paper—a method that results in seemingly random black-and-white patterns printed on the copy paper. He then copies that copy, repeating the process multiple times and continuing the random patterning process. Once the artist selects a final permutation, the abstract image is then photographed, formatted as a slide, and projected onto a primed canvas. In the final stage, Short painstakingly recreates this image, taking care to remain true to the particular patterns and shapes generated by the machine. In Short’s process, the painter and the photocopier undergo a role reversal: the copier creates the abstraction and the painter reproduces the copy. By removing the emotive quality of the artist and leaving the authorship to a machine, Short reinvents traditional painterly practice.

-- EXCERPT FROM THE DESCRIPTION FOR THE WHITNEY 2010 BIENNIAL

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Full Throttle (2010) - Artie Vierkant

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Ongoing series presenting formal recordings of films streaming over the Internet at very slow (throttled) connection speed.

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Versions (2010) - Oliver Laric

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