Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What We Find

Since the dawn of the industrial age, artists have used the cut/paste action to digest material ranging from newspaper clippings to tape loops or digital audio/video tracks. In Remix: Making Art  & Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy (Penguin, 2008), Harvard Law Professor Larry Lessig argues for avoiding a "permission culture" as he calls for a revamp of copyright law so: "More people can use a wider set of tools to express ideas and emotions differently." According to Lessig, artists could reference the "aura" of cultural objects through their remixes to create new meaning and perhaps help us all sort out the sheer volume of cultural production over the past century. Negativland has called for  "mass culture" to be returned to the masses through rethinking intellectual property law. They wrote in a missive on Fair Use: "We now exist in a society so choked and inhibited by cultural property and copyright protections that the very idea of mass culture is now primarily propelled by economic gain and the rewards of ownership." Web 2.0 platforms such as YouTube combined with digital video editing software have made critiquing moving images as easy as making a photocopied zine was in the 1970s.

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