Saturday, May 01, 2010

Remix or Rip-off?

Last week, in need of an image of a 2001 painting of mine, I Googled the work's title, "being soon what you have always been becoming." It's a curious turn of phrase, and I rightly assumed that there wouldn't be many exact matches. One of the topmost Google finds read "Jansky Noise - Being Soon What You Have Always Been Becoming." Intrigued, I clicked it. This is what appeared on my screen.

The static image in the YouTube video player is a collage predominantly composed of elements taken from a number of different drawings and paintings made by me. The accompanying video description (located just below the player) by RaXham, the soundscape artist behind Jansky Noise, is a slightly - very slightly - edited version of one of my old artist statements. Nowhere is my art or writing credited.

I'm a proponent of remixing, collage, cut-and-paste, and other forms of creative riffing. I'm an opponent of unrestrained, crippling copyright laws and of selfish artists who prioritize the bottom-line over the creative commons. As such, I appreciate RaXham's description, found on his or her YouTube profile page:
"Creator and sound designer. Pirate of the seas. Plunging into the depths of the treasure trove, diving deeper to un-cover and expose hidden treasures and re-polished jewels!"
Well and good, RaXham, but in cases where the words that the re-mixer draws on are used in an essentially collaborative fashion (for example, RaXham has borrowed my hand and voice to illustrate and describe his or her aural creation), I feel that some acknowledgement is due.

RaXham, if you ever read this, please drop me a line. I'm honored that you made a collage of my works to accompany your soundscape, and that the words I put down to describe my artwork were also applicable to your sound experiments. But you should have asked for my permission. I would have assented...on the condition that you credit my work and provide a link to my portfolio website.

1 comment:

Molly Schafer said...

Whoa, what a weird thing to happen across! Agreed that this is questionable and overly-inspired by your work and words.