Digital Prohibition: Piracy and Authorship in New Media Art

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The act of creation requires us to remix existing cultural content and yet recent sweeping changes to copyright laws have criminalized the creative act as a violation of corporate rights in a …

The act of creation requires us to remix existing cultural content and yet recent sweeping changes to copyright laws have criminalized the creative act as a violation of corporate rights in a commodified world. Copyright was originally designed to protect publishers, not authors, and has now gained a stranglehold on our ability to transport, read, write, teach and publish digital materials. Contrasting Western models with issues of piracy as practiced in Asia, Digital Prohibition is the first book to discuss the politics of creative work and emergent models of authorship in a digital age.

It explores the creation of new media forms by artists and groups who use technology to challenge established models and practices. It starts from the premise that creativity is no longer a useful concept in an age of data glut and perfect copies; instead we must now think of creative practice as a kind of creative critique and atactical aesthetics that repurpose existing materials in order to explore the nature of media and how they affect us. It does this through three different aesthetic approaches: interruption (stoppage and repetition), disturbance (critique and event), and capture/leak age (performance and documentation). The book is wide-ranging in its definition of authorship, exploring methods as diverse as sampling, mashups, hacktivism, social media, tactical media, productive mistranslation and digital anthropophagy.

Imprint Continuum
Pub. date: 19 April 2012
ISBN: 9781441131904

More in: Education
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  • 1. Digital  ProhibiFon:  Piracy  and  Authorship  in  New  Media  Art Carolyn  GuerFn University  of  Texas  at  Arlington  &  Transart  InsFtute,  Berlin ABSTRACT THE  TERRAIN    OF  THE  REMIX In the first book to discuss the global politics of creativity in a digital age, Carolyn Guertin takes a uniquely Canadian perspective to explore emergent models of authorship. Her wide-ranging study roams from highbrow conceptual art to vernacular video in a quest to understand the process of the creation of new media forms by international artists who use technology to challenge established modes. These new practices mark the death of creativity and the rebirth of a new self-reflexive creative practice. Redefining authorship within remix culture, the book identifies the potential in the social nature of electronic works to foster a genealogy of new creative practices – from sampling to mashups to digital anthropophagy – on a global scale. After first exploring creative practices by Western artists, the final third of the book explores creative practices in the East that have been unfettered by copyright restrictions. Wildly influenced by boatloads of Western cultural artifacts, the new forms might be born of Western garbage, but are transformed into something entirely new via productive mistranslation and digital anthropophagy. The dominant mode of creative practice in the 21st century is the remix, the act of resituating one or more existing works in a new context. Remixing is a conversation, a critique and a protest all wrapped up in a single package. The remix seeks to explore the social nature of creation through the (sometimes hostile) act of appropriation and re-integration. This book explores a variety of different kinds of remix techniques, including: Sampling Mashups Remakes, adaptations and intertexts Capture, streamed or visualized data Surveillance Art Hacks Data mining Temporal manipulation Creative cannibalism Digital anthropophagy Productive Mistranslation It then establishes a tri-part criteria for understanding how and why those aesthetics or remix techniques work. Eva  and  Franco  MaOes,  Ca# CONTENTS Introduction: Ambivalence and Authorship The Third Space of Authorship The New Prohibition Following the death of creativity, Digital Prohibition maps the rise of three new aesthetic practices in new media in an age of perfect copies. The first is interruption (which includes a process of stoppage and repetition), and marks a shift from the old creative model’s focus on content to a processoriented work of art. It is a work that opens an image or text to create a space for critical engagement. The second, disturbance, which brings together an action with an event, is a new kind of aesthetic activism – artivism or tactical media – for the socially networked age. Looking at the psychic and social consequences of technology and aesthetics, this section explores the importance of performance in an age of consumer culture for the creation of tactical media as an agent of new political practices and events. The third practice is that of capture/leakage, which is a meeting of performance with documentation. In an age of information overload, everything is potentially subject to capture and to surveillance. At the same time, once the data exist they are always already potentially leaky; the more tightly information is controlled, paradoxically, the more likely it is to be released out into the data environment. In the spirit of protocol and data, documentation is coming to the fore as a new art form in its own right. Part One: The Aesthetics of Appropriation Interruption (stoppage + repetition) Disturbance (action + event) Capture/Leakage (performance + documentation) Dynamic Data and Augmented Bodies Part Two: Authorship From Karaoke Culture to Vernacular Video ‘Aberrant Decoding’ and Atactical Aesthetics Google Empire: Smart Art, Intelligent Agents Real Time Part Three: Creative Cannibalism and Digital Anthropophagy Digital Anthropophagy Translation: Performing the In Between ‘Productive Mistranslations’ (China and Pakistan) Conclusion RESEARCH POSTER PRESENTATION DESIGN © 2012 www.PosterPresentations.com Soda_Jerk with Sam Smith EMERGENT  ART  AND  ARTISTS   A selection of the artists and works discussed in the book include: Addictive TV, Beam Up the Bass Christen Bach, Bear Untitled: D.O. Edit Michael Banowitz & Noah Sadona, This Aborted Earth: The Quest Begins Perry Bard, Man With a Movie Camera: The Global Remake Alan Bigelow, Brainstrips Josh Bricker, Post-Newtonianism Jim Campbell, The Library Cao Fei (China Tracy), iMirror Katarina Cisek, Highrise, The Thousandth Tower, & Out My Window Jordan Crandell, Heatseeking Danger Mouse, Grey Album Brendan Dawes, Don’t Look Now Rod Dickinson & Steve Rushton, Who, What Where, When, Why and How Atom Egoyan, 8 ½ Screens Hasan Elahi, Tracking Transience: The Orwell Project Omar Fast, CNN Concatenated Feng Mengbo, Long March: Restart & Q4U Stephen Fry, MyFry Steve Gibson, Grand Theft Bicycle Khaled Hafez, The Video Diaries JODI.org Carmin Karasic, FloodNet Adeena Karasick, All the Lingual Ladies Scott Kildall, Paradise Ahead Raphael Lozano-Hammer, Surface Tension Manu Luksch, Faceless Kevin MacDonald, Life in a Day Dayna McLeod, That’s right, Diana Barry. You needed me. Lev Manovich, Soft Cinema Christian Marclay, The Clock Eva and Franco Mattes, Catt, & Synthetic Performances Mauj Collective Mez Miao Xiaochun, Last Judgment in Cyberspace Movie Bar Code Huma Mulji and Shilpa Gupta, The Aar-Paar Projects Ni Haifeng, Of the Departure and the Arrival Philippe Parreno and Pierre Huyghe, No Ghost Just a Shell Pirates of the Amazon Pratchaya Phinthong, Alone Together Vanessa Ramos-Velasquez, Digital Anthropophagy: A Manifesto Rashid Rana, In The Middle of Nowhere Raqs Media Collective Evan Roth, FAT (Free Art and Technology) Lab Lindsay Scroggins, Wonderland Mafia Soda_Jerk with Sam Smith, Pixel Pirate 2 Cornelia Sollfrank, Female Extension Bill Spinhoven, It’s About Time/The Time Stretcher Florian Thalhofer, Planet Galata Thomson and Craighead, Time Machine in Alphabetical Order Ubermorgan.com, Amazon Noir Camille Utterback, Liquid Time Wang Jianwei, Connection Dan Warren, Son of Strelka, Son of God Noah Wardrip-Fruin et al, The Impermanence Agent CONCLUSIONS:   PRODUCTIVE  MISTRANSLATION More and more, by stepping outside of the venues of commercial culture and mass media, artists and activists around the globe are seizing the materials at hand and repurposing their tools to their own ends. The art that they make or the movements that they start are designed to foster dialog. Mass media culture belongs to no one and is all too easily coopted by powerful forces to be deemed trustworthy any more. The future of culture depends on people translating the materials in their midst into materials that enable them to tell their own stories and to share embodied perspectives. Science fiction author Neil Gaiman says, “We have the right, and the obligation, to tell old stories in our own ways, because they are our stories” (quoted in Jenkins, 2009, 109). Digital media, social media, and the powerful digital tools we have at our fingertips enable us to do just that. Digital prohibition is upon us and, just like those crazy speakeasy times in the early days of the twentieth century, people’s creative expression will not be denied and, for a time at least, we have some of the most powerful distribution tools ever invented at hand and free to use. Activism does not happen in digital spaces, but digital technol- ogies and social media enable people to gather and express themselves, and to share their art. Dutch artist and critic Florian Cramer says in his article “The Fiction of the Creative Industries” (2011), For young people, TV has been killed by YouTube, the music industry by mp3, DVD profits by bittorrent, newspapers by the web. But even more significant than these shifts of consumer technology was the digital revolution of production. Most musicians no longer need a record label, but can master their music on a laptop. Thanks to the last generation of inexpensive digital cameras, cinematic films can now be shot and edited at home by freelancers. Writers no longer need publishers, but often are better off self-publishing via print-on-demand and e-books. In all these areas, “creatives” become allrounders. Division of labor is decreasing, not increasing, with many industries, big agencies and highly staffed bureaus becoming dinosaurs of the past. In those dusty bureaus a whole new mode of creative expression has quickened into life and will not be silenced. Creativity does not care what medium it is expressed in, but the availability of digital tools is fostering a creative renaissance – despite draconian copyright laws – that will not stop. FURTHER  INFORMATION Continuum International Publishers, London and New York Hardcover, Paperback and Kindle Editions 978-1-4411-3190-4 pb April 2012 CONTACT: Carolyn Guertin, PhD Email: carolyn.guertin@gmail.com Website: https://mavspace.uta.edu/guertin/portfolio/