Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ponderings on originality and authenticity

Interesting thoughts on originality, copying, authenticity, sharing, borrowing and creativity in these two linked articles: To live outside the law, you must be honest (Mobylives) and The Work of Art in the Age of Maniacal Appropriation (UTNE). I took the freedom to borrow the image by Jim Jarmusch that goes with them (see below), and hope that is considered creativity and not stealing, as suggested in the articles. I don't condone any plagiarism, but look below - we do share and borrow ideas and images and thoughts and inspiration from books, sunsets, old and new art, knitting patterns, photos, views and landscapes, and just snippets of information anywhere.  These are not easy questions, and to talk about them is to talk ethics, not an easy thing, and maybe something we talk too little about.  Sometimes we want it all for free, sometimes we want to own our own creations, and sometimes we just want to connect it all and take what we want and reuse it in new ways.  Reality is never so black and white as in movies or made-up school examples. The Mobylives article is really worth reading about this topic.


PP said...

"When everything is immediately available and infinitely reproducible, nothing is valuable."
— Charles Frazier

EH said...

What I feel is crucial to originality when it comes to things, a handmade thing have little imperfections and small flaws which make it unique. The maker has set a "fingerprint" on the item. I much rather buy a wooden thing than a plastic if I have the obvious choice.

LS said...

EH, that is also authenticity, right? It proves that the object was made by a human and not a machine, well, you can make mistakes in machines, but usually machine-made parts are more perfect.

Another tradition that is related to imperfection is that on Persian rugs there are always little mistakes made on purpose, because only God can make completely perfect things. Same with the silk embroideries I have at home that were made in Samarkand. Gorgeous, and imperfect. Original and authentic.