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:

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.

[kodak ad]

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.