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It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In the case of one Richard Prince, the popular visual artist, the previous statement would not sit well with many people. His installation of portraits, composed of blown up photos that were taken from his personal Instagram feed, caused quite a stir at last May’s Frieze Art Fair in New York. Prince deems, along with several legal specialists, that he is basing his art on the notion of ‘appropriation’, and that ‘Fair Use’ in the art world is a common phenomenon. He has repurposed these images, after all, and much of today’s contemporary art is based on historical or now-popular imagery.
In an article published by The Verge last May, ‘Fair Use’ is usually evaluated in courts on a case-to-case basis, and it “requires consideration of the difficult-to-define “purpose” and “nature” of the work, the amount of copyrighted material used, and the effect the appropriation might have on the market value of the original work.” While Prince’s show received much uproar, some featured ‘users’ saw it an honor to be incorporated into the artist’s work. Others believed his work to be genius.
This debate is not unique to the artist above. It is most certainly not new. We discuss originality in almost every aspect of our lives. From the basis of our upcoming business plans to the décor of our homes, we are encouraged to showcase our individuality. However, we can’t deny that the human brain is tricky to say the least, where our subconscious is influenced by endless memories safely stored away, only to appear to us in a mythical reverie or in the form of a genius idea. What happens when you take this co-called genius idea, only to make it better? Should you be punished for your cunning business sense, and isn’t art subjective? We’re all taught the basics, be it the principal theory of supply and demand in Economics, or different artistic eras in your typical art history class. What is done with learned knowledge is completely yours, or is it?
It is this exact debate that has us extremely excited about the upcoming Nuqat Creative Conference. The theme for the conference this year is ‘The Copy/Paste Syndrome’ and the announcement has our offices buzzing with questions. As publishers, we’re constantly wondering how imitation both inspires, and can surely limit the creative production process. …
The conference will help us ask whether copying can be a creative act (and if there is indeed any creative act that is free of plagiarism), how our society measures originality and whether individuality is the highest goal of creative endeavors. Yes, it’s going to be scintillating, and there might be a few ‘original’ ideas, or not. …
Some talks and events of special interest:
Hilmi al-Tuni’s ‘Copy Paste Syndrome, by Yasmine Taan
Friday 13 November 2015, 5.30pm
In his paintings and illustrations, Hilmi Al-tuni repeatedly uses many icons. The icons are mostly products of Al-Tuni’s own visual culture. He copy and pastes them in different contexts to create absurd/surreal compositions and stories.
Visual Storytelling, by Yasmine Taan
November 15, 16 &17
3 days: Time: 9am to 1pm
Location: Al Yarmouk Cultural Center
Following the Hilmi al-Tuni’s ‘Copy + Paste Syndrome’ talk, the participants in this workshop are encouraged to research icons, symbols that are familiar to their own culture, decontextualize them and build up a story around them.
The final product will be a 15 cm x 15 cm visual story of 8 pages. The challenge is to communicate the narrative using copy + paste and cutout forms, playing with positive and negative shapes without text. The story should have a beginning and an end.
Please visit the official site and check our calendar section on this site for the listing of the exciting exhibitions and book signing taking place during the conference.
For detailed information on:
the lectures please click here,
the workshops please click here,
the cultural events please click here.