Monday, November 14, 2011

The Well of Originality Will Run Dry

After reading about all of the caveats of “fair use” in regards to artistic expression, I began to think closely about all of the artworks I have learned about in art history classes and how they built off of each other directly or indirectly throughout the entirety of history. 

                   Titian - Venus of Urbino, 1538                 Manet - Olympia, 1863              Yasumasa Morimura - Portrait (Twins), 1988

Also brought to mind was the amount of sampling that musical artists use today in their work.

 And finally I was hit with the idea that, some day, maybe far down the road still, but some day every possible form of artistic expression will inevitably have already been performed, and therefore the ability of an artist to be completely original will be a lost endeavor. So why is this idea of “sampling” another’s work such a prominent problem only within the recent past? The ease of access and acquiring of another’s work thanks to the Internet (as well as other technologies), coupled with the capitalist society in which we live today have greatly contributed to the present day situation of the “parasitic middle men of culture” suffocating our supposed artistic freedoms.

After creating my video "This Little Piggy" using 100% found video and sound, I am even more convinced that the ability of artists to modify and reuse previously existing material is crucial to the effectiveness of their work and concepts. 


  1. I had actually been wondering for years, a long time from now will everything have been preformed or shown. I feel building work off artists is a good way to get started and that is often how most artists do. I wasn't really sure where that line was. You get people making parody videos of other people's videos online, just as you do with the pictures shown above. It seems as if the quote "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" ~Charles Caleb Colton has been disregarded as of late. This seems to prompt the question of where to draw the line.

  2. The obsession with originality and novelty is something unique to the 20th century. Repeating or remixing cultural objects will always be different because the time, circumstances, human being doing it, cultural context all will have changed. It's the flow of time that forever changes making and viewing art.