Originality in illustration is a problem. On a basic level, people get plagiarized a lot, but that discussion is a bit depressing. For the health of teh discipline images and ideas need to be able to move around between people.
Originality is connected to the notion of male geniuses. An example of this:
Edward Young (1795)
An original may be said to be of a vegetable nature, it rises spontaneously from the vital root of genius. It grows, it is not made: Imitation are often a sort of manufacture wrought up by those mechanics, art and labour, out of preexsiting materials not their own.
Van Gogh, CDF are considered geniuses, and their works original. They work as original in two ways:
- Key moment in art history
- Walter Benjamin aura
Karen James uses the idea of aura to set her work apart from people using technology to make 60 pots a day.
When Scarlett Johansson hold the lv bag, she imbues it with contageous magic (which we hope will catch when we buy the bag). See also celebrities wearing fake designer items. (You now can’t find an image of this because Google’s removed them - fashion brands don’t want Rihannas magic to rub off onto fakes)
There are some legitimate reasons to copy - for instance vanishing twins, were the copy allows the original to survive. Triumph Quadriga in venice is an 80s copy Also a fiberglass copy of a french cave
Benjamin: We protect things we think are important now (but we can’t be sure)
for every image of the past that is not recognises by the present as one of its own concerns thr
Also: Google Books. But here a corporation decides what’s valuable enough to keep. Sometimes you get librarians fingers, turning pages etc.
Variation is a condition of imitation. That’s why there can’t really be plagiarism - there’s always some element of transformation.
Copying as a way of learning, studying a text
Bibles would be copied out by monks (british library) Some of these have dots at the bottom that indicate how often the page was read.
Can Gogh, Breton Women and children is a copy of emile bernard, breton women
Art historians often avoid the term “copying” when talking about this kind of thing - it’s a polluting word (recall notion of genius): Imposing recreations rather than copies.
Association of women and reproduction/copying. (generation vs reproduction, mind v matter) recurs all over art history. In particular photocopiers marketed to women.
Recall It’s Problem with photographs: We collapse the object of the photograph with the subject. We do the same with copying - we collapse the act of photocopying with the act of assimilation.
Photocopying takes as it were, without homage. Its fealty is not..
CDF Winter Landscape (1811): One in the national gallery, one in frankfurt. The national gallery spent ages trying to prove that theirs was the original. Ultimately, the guy probably copied it himself.
Forery is but the extreme of copying, teh extreme of fair copying…
IN the case of LV bags, both the original and the copy have value because they look like (give us the idea of) a LV bag. Both the original and the fake have this narrative around them to give them value (we found the best manufacturers etc). There are even cases of bag factories making originals by day and copies at night - all that separates them is a scaffold of idea.
Wicked bible: All of the copies were ordered to be destroyed, the 4 remaining are now massively valuable.
Goldsmith: Uncreative Writing
The world is full texts, more or less interesting. I do not wish to add any more
Perloff: Unoriginal Genius gives a new definition of genius - a mastery of information and its dissemination.
Goldsmith: Day: In order for me to simpy appropriate the newspaper and turn it into a work of literature involved dozens of authorial decisions
Kent Johson: Day
Handwriting Ulysses (2014)
Sherrie Levine: After Walker Evans: Appropriation as a feminist art. Went into a Walker Evans show, photographed the photographs and showe them herself.
Copying gtrough mechanical reproduction: Warhol Brollo Boxes
James Harvey with a Brillo Box and one of his own paintings. There’s a hierarchy here: It’s okay for Warhol to copy Harvey, not the other way around.
(Benjamin is maybe better to read in German)
Pepe the Frog (Matt Furie Boys club 2005)
4Chan -> Instagram -> Breitbart -> Donald Trump’s Twitter
Ideas of originality and autenticity are irrelevant here - the original author doesn’t really matter for the image to work, have an effect online.
It’s not easy being green in the atlantic
Once an image is detached from the genius author, it gains mobility. Our idea of its value also changes - there’s no monetary value (other than ad revenue). There is no sense of an original in need of protection.
Poor images are thus popular images… reedit or upload them
LV limited edition prints: The idea of a valuable art object crasing into the idea of a valueable fashion object. A different set of narratives has to exist for each to be valuable - basque craftsmen don’t make the artwork valuable.
Goldsmith: THe body of Michael Brown
Appropriating the body (not just the text) and also editing it for dramatic effect. Only one group of people (white men) get to be invisible as authors - for everyone else, identity bears on the work.
All of this is difficult - often who gets to own an idea is whoever has the most money.
LV appropriating street sellers of fake handbags: The powerful copying the powerless.