“Title Goes Here” (Asli Aydin, Allison Burtch, Rafael Gross-Brown and Sergio Majluff) is a short mockumentary, inspired from reality, about a group of people that have to make a short film for a film class but have a tough time doing so.
I believe that nothing is original. We should be free to steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels our imagination. We must devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photos, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Focus only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If we do this, our work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. We shouldn’t bother concealing our thievery‚ we should celebrate it if we feel like it. In any case, we mustn’t forget what Jean-Luc Godard said: It’s not where you take things from it’s where you take them to.
An artist would understand this. A documentary photographer, like Susan Meiselas, would probably challenge such assertion, saying that if people were given such freedom to “remix” and “mashup” copyrighted works, the real story told by, let’s say the picture of the Molotov man, would be lost. Documentarists journalists try to capture true stories and tell them. Artists, try to capture ideas and communicate them in ways they believe are appropriate and that correspond to their art.
Also, how does one even trace the origin of ideas in an age such as ours? Currently, we are experiencing a dilution of reality due to the information flood enabled by new media, most noticeably the internet. Very few works of art actually stand conspicuously on the world stage. The others seem to be more inconspicuous suggestions surrounding us in our everyday lives, kind of like a collective subconscious feeding ideas to us.
Absolute originality does not exist because every creative product derives from some preexisting idea/concept/work. At the same time, artists must protect the economic rights related to their art in order to feed themselves. We need a new legal model that balances these two realities effectively. Unfortunately, the elaboration of such a model will require extreme creativity and empathy with the artist, which could be very difficult for the lawyers that will probably end up in charge of that task.
For humanity’s sake, we need to prioritize the production of art over the individual economic rights of artists. However, they will ultimately need an economic incentive to continue producing, otherwise they’d starve. And yet, the reality that not all artists are born to be succesful commercial artists has to be accepted. In fact, art (like presumably documentary photography) is a winner take all game, were you have a few Spielbergs, Jarmuschs, Kleins, Nicholsons, Madonnas (had to), and a billion artistic voices that will not be heard, and much less so be compensated economically (in a way that they find satisfying).
In conclusion, I believe that my introductory paragraph, which paraphrases a quote by an artist (whom I shall not credit), fully sets what ideally should be the creative zeitgeist of the times to come.
.shooting sounds with Myriam Melki and Colin Narver today—>H20 has never sounded so fresH