April 2nd, Art of Appropriation 2: The Copy

Developing the conversation around modalities and technologies of appropriation initiated by the “Art of Appropriation” event organized by the Davis Humanities Institute and the Mellon Digital Culture Initiative, the Center for Science and Innovation Studies invites you to:

THE ART OF APPROPRIATION II: THE COPY

Our workshop focuses specifically on copying and copies in the visual arts — both analog and digital — from the 16th century to the present.

When: Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 3:00-6:15PM

Where: CSIS/STS Room, SSH 1246 (Map: http://tinyurl.com/1246ssh)

Four distinguished speakers will present:

Session I (3:00-4:30PM)

Guido Guerzoni (M9 Museum & Bocconi University, Milan): “Product Imitation, Process Innovation and Social Emulation in Renaissance Italy”

In a letter dated April 6, 1594, the Grand Duke Ferdinando I de’Medici advised Zygmunt Báthory that his agent Cosimo Bottegari, en route to Transylvania, was taking to him “some sables and lynxes, not those real ones that come from other parts, but those that Art imitates in my bailiwick. And these were sent not because of their value, but because of their novelty”. The document dates the european birth of synthetic furs and introduces the theme of my research, which is the relation between product imitation, process innovation and social emulation in Renaissance Italy. In this country, from the late Trecento, the constant refinement of production techniques and the knowledge of materials favored the realisation and diffusion of imitative products replicating the appearances of the more expensive items. I am not speaking of fakes and counterfeits, but of legal surrogates of inferior quality and lesser cost, produced respecting the law and purchased in good faith by members of broader social groups than those that owned the “originals”.

Winnie Wong (UC Berkeley): “In a Van Gogh Workshop: The Craft of Signature Authorship”

In the world’s largest oil painting production center in Shenzhen, China, the works of Vincent van Gogh are considered the easiest to paint and the lowest in price. Hence, from the 1980s-­‐2000s, peasants arriving in the city with no formal training have found Van Gogh painting a welcoming entry-­‐level apprenticeship and a means of making an independent living. Some painters, however, have developed it into a long-­‐term speciality, maintaining modest workshop practices, training, and an artisanal network that produces not forgeries of Van Gogh’s masterpieces, but rather, a craft of his signature style. With what name, however, should they sign such works? My paper introduces the dilemma of these painters working as “Van Gogh On Demand,” touching upon how they negotiate the rhetorics of originality and appropriation in their craft production.

Coffee Break: 4:30-4:40PM

Session II (4:40-6:10PM)

Kriss Ravetto (UC Davis): “Ambiguous Appropriations: Remake, Parody or Contentious Copyright?”

By looking at Man with a Movie Camera: The Global Remake, and Dennis Adam’s 1998 film Outtake (Verschnitt) — a film that consists of Adams distributing photographic copies of 416 separate frames of Ulrike Meinhof’s 1969 film Bambule — I will discuss how the copy and redistribution of the crowd sourced film and the 17 second sequence of Meinhof’s film asks us to think about a rather complex set of relations of the copy to cinema, cinema to the remake, the remake to history, and history to the recognition and repetition images.

Colin Milburn (UC Davis): “Always Modify: Video Games and Techno-Political Change”

In video game culture, practices of media appropriation—mods, hacks, exploits, mashups—often present themselves as ludic interruptions or subversions of existing technopolitical regimes: resisting power, questioning normative discourse, transforming social relations by reconfiguring technical relations. A number of recent video games have made these tactical media practices into core elements of their own narratives, turning the politics of technical subversion into playable format. By examining these games, as well as diverse player-­‐generated modifications of their contents, this talk will suggest that video game culture fashions itself as an active site of technopolitical change, even while foregrounding the structural conditions that limit our capacity to reinvent the future.