Author: Thomas Dreher  
Posted: 16.12.2002; 21:37:52
Topic: Question 6
Msg #: 628 (in response to 428)
Prev/Next: 627/629
Reads: 68248

To John and his answer 6/20:
1.) The terms "authenticity" and "copyright" are not the same but there are interferences between their semantic fields. The copyright problems of the series "Homes from Homes" will be problematized with the concept for an installation (see answer 7/5, point 3.) in a much more interesting way than with endless studio variations of elder concepts because it will allow proceedings/operations by everyone in the exhibition and in the website . But this is only a step further from exhibitions with presentations of self plagiarism whose copyright stays the same as in the `authentic´ works.
The "Homes from Homes" block with their sometimes very primitive variations of elder works (and concepts) any expectation concerning "authenticity". Maybe, Mel Ramsden and Michael Baldwin think they need endless variations of groups with little `bad´ looking particles and their accumulation in groups and swarms on walls to transport their `inauthenticity´.
But do they have any concept concerning the relation of (in-)authenticity and copyright/copyleft? Until now they turn their back to the rest of the world, walk into their studio and produce a lot of paintings which try to look as if everyone could have done it. But these "inauthentic" self plagiarisms were exhibited in exhibition rooms in the same manner as so called "authentic" works and they stay unique or "authentic" as copyrighted and sellable works.
The relations between these procedures, earlier neoistic plagiarisms and plagiaristic strategies on the internet, f. e. Amy Alexander, and Florian Cramer (for the background: ,, are not defined or conceptualized in the works themselves nor in verbal explications. Baldwin and Ramsden neither reflect the plagiaristic predecessors nor the activistic background. Net activists against the efforts of Microsoft and Hollywood try to preserve the rights of users to produce copies. Microsoft and copyright owners of big corporations in the film and music industry try to forbid the private copy and they don´t want any free distribution of any kind of audio files via peer-to-peer file sharing. They want to change the net architecture until they can sell keys for copies and control any move of the normal user on his private computer: They want to be able to sell every copy procedure meanwhile they can´t control private copies now.
Copyright is the basis of their strategies meanwhile plagiarism as mirroring websites was and is a strategy to open closed or censored informations and to pluralize the copies until it is nonsense to forbid them. Artistic questions of in- or authenticity are irrelevant here: The first conceptual strategy is to preserve the right of free copies and the free distribution of informations on the net. But every copyright (combined with electronic payment procedures) constructs borders and blocks free data distribution.
The american and european legal structures concerning copyright and the net will be changed next year either in the direction of Microsoft/Hollywood or Apple/Linux. Microsoft and the corporations of the music and film industries need stable combinations of hard- and software for audio and video media. Apple conceptualizes the computer as an allround instrument. The software for different (f. e. audio and video) media presents a transitional digital state of media. The Open Source Software of Linux allows everyone to transform and to expand it. An example for the contrary: DVD with CSS presents a fixed state of media with an encryption code which allows different prizes for different countries and forbids european users to look and to listen at american DVDs. DeCSS cracks the encryption code but its distribution is forbidden in USA: It violates the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. The activists of the Electronic Frontier Foundation were not succesful until now in their efforts to force "the courts to recognize that freedom of speach was at stake." (Cindy Cohn)
The transitional state of the internet provokes a lot of causes for engagement for users with different professions and different net practices. The Copyright problem is relevant for all users and it doesn´t matter if they prefer artistic or other forms of (self) presentation: It is a basic problem in which technical, legal, economic and social problems interfere. It is a conceptual problem: Which kind of net architecture is the precondition for the kind of uses/projects we want to able to plan and realize in the future. "Free link" means that possibly everything can be connected with everything. "Free link" and "Free copy" are procedures of Digital Commons.
The basic advantages of the net in relation to other (mass) media are that informations from different sources can be connected/linked and that public interaction on different levels are possible. The net became a collective written database. Copyleft Attitudes preserve these exchanges of datas. Some of these datas transport informations of a character which may be called "authentic" (or "traces of authenticity") and, maybe, the net allows a new kind of "authenticity" because the economic structures of the interactive media cannot undermine "authenticity" via their dealings with "copyrights" in the manners which use the mass media and the relevant corporations to undermine "authenticity".
The contemporary net architecture is in danger. The dangers are caused first by large corporations and second by the planned changes in legal structures. These dangers provoked and provoke engagement from different sides, artists included. Now the digital possibilities for a new and - via interaction and further activistic and net specific strategies - engaged public are in danger via the global strategies of corporations. These strategies defined and define the world on a legal level as they can use it for the corporation´s profit. A studio mix in colours on an amount of planes doesn´t help here. Engagement was relevant for Art & Language in the seventies. A sheer demonstration of un-/disengagement is to sit down in a studio and paint long chains of material plagiarism at this moment. Then artistic activities can follow the flow of money as they did it in the eighties meanwhile the possibilities for alternatives are blocked via realizations of the planned changes in the net architecture: There will be no medias which allow a free and unregulated dataflow, neither "free links" nor "free copies". The dataflow will be centralized, controlled and observed by corporations.
2.) Webpages and "museumization": I am only able to differentiate on a pragmatic level between netspecific pages on net projects and reiterations of museumization on the net. An example: my answer to Michael Hofstetter´s critique of the context of "Blurting In A & L online" within the context of ZKM (the institution with their website, school and museums) in question 4: see answer 4/4 and 4/5. Thomas Dreher (

  • Answer 6/23, John Abbate, 12/19/02; 6:56:24 AM


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