Dialogue between Anthony Hayden-Guest, Macu Moran and Don Foresta reflecting on appropiation in art history and What Makes a Piece of Art a Masterpiece.
Reinterpretation of works has been a common practice in art history, which refer to the original story, while reinventing, reimagining and conferring new meaning to the masterpiece which inspired it.
With the digital irruption in the artistic praxis, making very easy the appropriation of other authors imagery, the question of what are the boundaries that separate the culturally healthy exercise of re-intellectualization of earlier productions, with the straight appropriation of imagery, which infringes the intellectual property rights of authors.
Evolving throughout a history based over and over upon earlier advancements, ideas, inventions and discoveries, and employing inspirations, sceneries and materials often created by nature itself, one can easily argue that appropriation is the very essence of human creation, in a perspective in which nothing is original and human creation is in fact the act of co-creating.
However, the incremental emergence of relative perspectives raising from the postmodernist mindset, together with the worldwide propagation of digital imagery throughout the internet in the digital era, has brought us back to the question what is the act of creation (or co-creation) and when an artwork can be considered as a original work by itself, able to transcend the elements borrowed from earlier productions.
In fact, masterpieces in the art history have obtained that precise definition of "teaching works", by being acknowledged by disciples from all over the world, often copied, transformed and reinterpreted, disseminating specific jumps on the evolution of techniques in the art of reality representation and creation.
This basic perspective in which contemporary art theory and criticism validates the practice of appropriation, is relevant in the development of intellectual property laws that can apply to other disciplines in an era of fast development. The main goal in the arts is the evolution of the stream of thought itself, and the common sharing of ideas and inputs that is required to pursue this goal.
This philosophical context can be of inspiration to establish appropriate boundaries in which patents and market protection cannot constraint the evolution of the species, turning into infertile creations, or unproductive road ends, counterproductive to the development of our civilization.
Anthony Haden-Guest is a British-American writer, reporter, cartoonist, art critic, actor, poet, and socialite who lives in New York City and London. He is a frequent contributor to major magazines and has had several books published.
Don Foresta is a research artist and theoretician in art. He has pioneered the use of new technologies as creative tools with recent attention to online creation and archiving. He has contributed to many publications on the interface between art and science and philosophical parallels between the two in a period of profound change
Macu Moran is a cultural researcher and artivist, interested in identifying art with life, intervening from the perspective in which consciousness is the creator of reality, which implies that co-creators and creations are counterparts of consciousness itself, and indistinguishable in essence.