Final Project Proposal

The arts represent an outlet of human expression, usually influenced by culture, and driven by human creative impulse. [1] Intellectual property (IP) is a legal concept which refers to creations of the mind for which exclusive rights are recognized. [2] A copyright gives the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time. [3]

Through my artistic practice I can express my thoughts and feelings, for me to witness and the community I am part of. Art also works as means for human interaction, a reason to place yourself within society. I have come to believe that intellectual property has nothing to do with the process involved, while the legal concept is based on commodification, the assumption that financial profit should be gained from a creation of the mind.

By recognising exclusive rights to an individual for their creation, you introduce obstacles, essentially building walls around it, that limit the public’s interaction with that creation. From a slightly different point of view, “copyright was created to provide incentive for creators to create without fear of being exploited, thus ensuring a culturally rich society.” [4]

“The computer is the twenty-first century’s culture machine. It’s a dream device, serving as the mode of production, the means of distribution, and the site of reception.” [5] Intellectual property originates three centuries back, where people interacted with unique artefacts, instead of abstract digital objects.

Through an interactive installation I aim to produce and exhibit works of art that their source is questioned, thus my authorship too. It is the aim to challenge established practices and let people participate into an ambiguous activity of copying digital objects, something that is also dubbed as piracy by the IP industry.

Content produced distributed and consumed on digital environments, – by default – can be copied, remixed and shared with no particular skills required by the end-user.

Everything created for this installation will be available, without constraints to the public and be distributed via print and electronic media.

List of References
[1] Wikipedia (2014) The Arts [online] available from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_arts [20 March 2014]

[2] Wikipedia (2014) Intellectual Property [online] available from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_property [20 March 2014]

[3] Wikipedia (2014) Intellectual Property / Copyright [online] available from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_property#Copyright [20 March 2014]

[4] Briz, N. (2011) Piratical Practices [online] available from http://nickbriz.com/files/PiraticalPracticesTheory.pdf [20 March 2014]

[5] Lunenfeld, P. (2011) The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as a Culture Machine. Massachusetts: MIT Press

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List of References / 352MC

List of References

Benjamin, W. (1936) The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. London: Penguin [2008]

Barthes, R. (1977) Death of the Author. London: Fontana

Hall, G. (2008) Digitize This Book: The Politics of New Media or Why We Need Open Access Now. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press

Swartz, A. (2008) Guerilla Open Access Manifesto [online] available from https://archive.org/details/GuerillaOpenAccessManifesto [20 March 2014]

Ritchin, F. (2009) After Photography. New York; London: W.W. Norton

Carson, K. (2009) How “Intellectual Property” Impedes Competition [online] available from http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/how-intellectual-property-impedes-competition [20 March 2014]

Lunenfeld, P. (2011) The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as a Culture Machine. Massachusetts: MIT Press

Manon, H.; Temkin, D. (2011) ‘Notes on Glitch’ in the World Picture Journal, Wrong [6] [online] available from http://www.worldpicturejournal.com/WP_6/Manon.html [20 March 2014]

Briz, N. (2011) Piratical Practices [online] available from http://nickbriz.com/files/PiraticalPracticesTheory.pdf [20 March 2014]

Wikipedia (2014) The Arts [online] available from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_arts [20 March 2014]

Wikipedia (2014) Intellectual Property [online] available from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_property [20 March 2014]

Wikipedia (2014) Intellectual Property / Copyright [online] available from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_property#Copyright [20 March 2014]

Temkin, D. (2014) ‘Glitch && Human/Computer Interaction’ in the NOOART journal [online] available from http://nooart.org/post/73353953758/temkin-glitchhumancomputerinteraction [20 March 2014]

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Appropriation to Abstraction

In the example below I have used a digitized version of famous Leonardo da Vinci painting, The Mona Lisa. The painting is dated somewhere between 1503 and 1506. “The Mona Lisa is one of the most recognizable artistic paintings in the Western world.” (Wikipedia/The_Arts)

Upon digitization the work of art becomes a series of numerical values represented in a two dimensional matrix of picture elements, also known as pixels. This structural element seems rigid, because of it’s absolute values, but it is more malleable than we might think. Each pixel of the 12,159,315 (x: 2835px / y: 4289px) consisting the “original copy” I downloaded from Wikimedia Commons (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mona_Lisa,_by_Leonardo_da_Vinci,_from_C2RMF_retouched.jpg) can become autonomous within the matrix, and also break away of it’s traditional boundaries, the photographic frame.

Kim Asendorf has written and published code in the programming language, Processing that “reads” an image file a series of pixels on the x and y axis and provides provides three different functions to sort those pixels in different order than the initial. It sorts according to brightness, black, and white values. The results can be seen below, where by further experimentation with his code, and a few iterations later, The Mona Lisa, becomes an abstract visual form.

At this point, where the “original” has been deprived of its original form, and the indexical nature of the photograph becomes ambiguous, I want to provoke discussion on the importance of copyright.

Note: The particular file belongs in the public domain, and all the versions produced, I do not wish to copyright. Off course the subject that interests me, is not about public domain, but the concept of ownership, authorship and intellectual property.


For bandwidth purposes I have re-sampled the “original copies” to smaller, hence “lighter” in byte size, versions. Each of these versions consist of 165,000 pixels. (x: 330px / y: 500px) I encourage you to make more copies of these and remix them in the ways you prefer.

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