Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I got nothing

I like posting late because I get pointed to all these great websites.

In response to Allan's post, defining terms is difficult and as Sam said, there is no clear line for differences. Throwing in my own two cents: many artists (some would say all artists) sample, rip off, or mashup other people’s work. Bitter Sweet Symphony was considered too similar to a Rolling Stones song, Linkin Park and Jay-Z collaborated on their work, and then you have people like Vanilla Ice who blatantly rip off others. What’s the difference between someone like Vanilla Ice and someone like Danger Mouse? Each is using material that is not his own but weaving it an artist way that is his own. It’s a slippery slope that our courts are having difficulty defining and we as a society don’t know how to react to. I mean I hate it when bands remix stuff or sample other people’s work. But at the same time, I have a guilty pleasure in NIN’s mash-up with Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters.” What is striking is how NIN’s “The Ghost that Feeds” is much better than the original. So I’m a hypocrite.

As for video mash-ups, or film collages of sorts, I think they serve their purpose as light-hearted satire between two different genres (hopefully) and the defiance of expectations can be sometimes clever. As “high art” or the “wave of the future” I have my doubts. But then again, as someone who tries to be an artist, I find that I detest the artificial in general. By “artificial” I guess I mean something that is not your own, which is taken from someone else. The photoshop things are terrible to me but at the same time all satire owes a great deal to its originator. So again, I’m at an impasse.

I’m curious to see what the class has to say about this. How do we define intellectual property and the rights of the artist? Is a mash-up or mix-up or a collage ever better than the original and therefore deserving of our praise? Is anything actually original?

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