Versions: The Purpose and Repurposing of Images
Originality, recycling, and why everyone is stealing from Disney.
By Maria Popova
The evolution of remix culture is something we’re quite fascinated by — from the notion of originality in creation (how similar is too similar?) to the moral tensions of sampling and borrowing. That’s exactly what occupies artist Oliver Laric in Versions, a visual essay about the re-appropriation of images, the borrowing of intellectual property and the manipulation of visual media.
Narrated with a no doubt intentionally robotic voiceover, the essay is as much an eye-opening exposé on the unabashed visual recycling in popular culture as it is a bold defense of the importance of creatively borrowing from greats of yore. From Greco-Roman sculpture to quantum physics, the essay explores the multifaceted dialogue about visual culture and the nature of authorship.
I express unlimited thanks to all the authors that have in the past, by compiling from remarkable instances of skill, provided us with abundant materials of different kinds. Drawing from them as it were water from springs and converting them to our own purposes, we find our own powers of writing rendered more fluent and easy, and relying upon such authorities we venture to release new systems of instruction.” ~ Oliver Laric
As remix culture continues to thrive in the grey areas of art and legislature, it’s fascinating to observe how different creators grapple with its complexities and interpret its blend of opprtunities and challenges.
Published July 5, 2010