Class 1 – Readings

Here are a few thoughts below about Jonathan Lethem’s article and  Kirby Ferguson’s video. Overall, I agree with them that artists are best off borrowing and lending their creations within the public commons, rather than overpolicing themselves through capital markets and intellectual property laws.

  • Influences are good – It was great timing as I start ITP to read Jonathan Lethem’s advice that it is actually quite healthy for society when I embed another creator’s ideas in my own work, in that it extends those ideas back into our culture as worthy of more discussion.  Similarly, Kirby Ferguson’s insisted that remixing others’ work is a norm and not an abberation. Nice advice to “relax your shoulders” so you can begin making work right away.
  • What I found missing – I wanted more discussion in Lethem’s article about ways artists might credit other artists, so that connections are seen and acknowledged by others. He leads by example with footnotes at the end, but I wish he had made more room for his opinions on this. And by the time I listened to Kirby Ferguson’s talk, I started to pine for the conflicting advice I often hear, which is to pursue what really interests me and to not look to what other people consider important. This is perhaps the tension between “influence” and “derivation”.
  • Collage – I’m already interested in paper-based collages like these that I created. Therefore, Lethem’s discussion of collage as the main thread between art movements of the 20th and 21st centuries was especially interesting to me! I will keep his thoughts in mind while exploring collage as a medium while at ITP.