Sunday, January 22, 2006

High art wants to be free

Previous post on this blog Lucas spins on an videoblogaudio installation:

This makes me think about the criteria for what makes a sample source legal, and about the place of creative commons in all this.

My very limited observation is that "high" and "avant garde" art has been on a different plane when it comes to legality. One can get away with a lot more if one's output self-identifies as this sort of art, intended for museums rather than everyday consumption. Who cares about legality? As an ARTIST the world is my canvas, brush, and paint and no artificial restraints are possible.

Copyright, and thus CC, should be irrelevant in such a world. My guess is that copyright paranoia is shrinking this world and more ARTISTS will be paying attention, for good and ill.

Some of this first struck me upon listening to Ben Walker's Creative Remix audio documentary on sampling, well worth checking out.


Marco Raaphorst said...

so true. sometimes I miss Zappa being around. I am sure he would use CC for his music.

... at least for the leftovers, the stuff which was bootlegged ;)

Lucas Gonze said...

His family/estate is about as suspicious of the internet as you can be, though. They make the Beatles Committee look loose by comparison.

A related point to what Mike's saying here -- Lolita could easily be illegal if it weren't generall recognized as high art.

teru said...

Thanks Mike. : )

fourstones said...

I don't know about Zappa, he never struck me as a "man on the commons" kind of guy. He was pretty heavily packaged and marketed when alive.

wrt to Mike's point, I don't know of a "high art" exception to copyright law.

Instead what I think is happening is that there is a continuum of reaction to digital proliferation from the various industries (book publishing, video/movie, music, graphic arts, newspapers, etc.) in which music happens to be most draconian and gallery art being the most lax. Lawsuits DO happen in gallery art (Campbell vs. Warhol) but usually only when the image has been commiditized out somehow. like on t-shirts and mugs. afaik no single artist/gallery owner/collector has been sued over a single image that changed hands that contained copyrighted graphic material.

Mike Linksvayer said...

There's no exception for "high art" in copyright law, but in practice "high art" can get away with more ... until and unless it becomes commoditized.

Marco Raaphorst said...

seems to be an excellent link. I don't have the focus right now to really dig into it, but I probably do it soon.