Re: The Politics of the Bootleg

From: Chris Kennedy (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Jun 11 2008 - 10:24:51 PDT

I think Freya summed up the problem with the Hall of Shame nicely. For me,
that one page has made me really disappointed in Ubuweb. It's so petty and
sophomore to attack an artist for not wanting to show their work in such a

It also leads to the question (as does James' post below), why must we have
access to everything? To me, part of the appeal of watching film (probably a
hangover from comic and record collecting) is the slow amassing of
experience. There is always something to look forward to. Watching Out 1:
Noli m Tangere (a holy grail film for me) last summer was a experience not
of just the film, but of a communion with my 20-year old self who was
reading James Monaco's The New Wave. Much like a youthful reading about the
Velvet Underground in my small town library's Rolling Stone, much of my
interest in film was sparked by some fleeting descriptions in magazines or
books, and it has taken me quite a few years to get to see even a portion of
what I wanted to see. And yes, I made job decisions (programming) and
geographic decisions (Toronto/SF) in order to facilitate that. But other
decisions, like not knowing another language or not living on another
continent, will make it harder for me to see many other things... So be it.

In contrast, I've downloaded tons of rare albums from blogs, and I'm not
sure I'm that much richer for it. I have a friend who has thousands of
burned DVDs--amassed, not watched--and he tells me he's tired of movies. Is
it because it has moved from a desire to a storage obligation?

We now seem to have a class of people who demand to have it all, only
because theoretically you can. And when people, like the artists that
created them, try to limit that, they get shamed. Really bizarre.
I haven't seen "the Flicker", yet, although I want to. I do think, however,
that the representations of it I have "seen", ie. some written words in a
book and images in my imagination those words sparked, will suffice until I
see the real thing. And if I never do, there's still something valuable to


> ------------------------------
> Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2008 11:12:20 -0400
> From: James Cole <email suppressed>
> Subject: Re: The Politics of the Bootleg
> The difference between found footage and what ubu is doing is pretty
> clear, I think. One is recontextualizing work and re-presenting it in
> creative ways. Ubu, on the other hand, shows the work in degraded
> form without any regard for the maker. They're not trying to create
> art (which is something that can, I think, fall under the umbrella of
> fair use). They're just showing other people's art, with total
> disregard for the people who made it and with how they present it. It
> seems to me that there is a pretty clear divide from found footage and
> what ubu does. I'm not sure what I can say, really, if we can't
> distinguish between what Bruce Conner, Ken Jacobs, etc., etc. do, and
> what Ubu is doing (with its self righteous hall of shame), then I
> don't really know what to say. But, to me, it doesn't seem especially
> tricky to distinguish between Bruce Conner and Ubu, or between
> Negativeland and The Pirate Bay. If you use a little bit of common
> sense, you should be able to establish what is fair use.
> Furthermore, this idea that "what matters is that people see the
> work," thats very nice, FOR YOU. But if Ken Jacobs and Robert Beavers
> and Nathanial Dorsky want their films to be seen in certain controlled
> enviornments, then that is THIER right. If they did want to lock it
> in a drawer, that would be their right, as well. I get the feeling
> that some people would much rather their work never be seen than it be
> seen in poor light.
> Also, is it really so wrong for people to want to get paid for their
> work? People throw so much money into making this stuff, and we don't
> think they should be able to negotiate the terms for the showing of
> their work? They should spend all of their money to make a film and
> then get a job delivering pizzas to pay for it? There's a letter out
> there somewhere from Frampton to the Moma regarding some of these
> issues. There is an idea that artists should be greatful that anyone
> wants to see their work, but to me that should be up to the artist.
> -James
> On 6/11/08, Jorge Amaro <email suppressed> wrote:
>> Could Bruce Conner made A Movie having that in mind? Could dozens of
>> found footage film makers have done anything at all? The concept of
>> property is somehow confusing for me. The idea of nullify the found
>> footage films I love so much over a concept of property is weird. And
>> no one will think that a videotaped event from some museum or
>> screening will substitute the film, and i think what matters is that
>> people see the work, isnt it for that reason people make them in the
>> first place? If they made it over an idea of property they could close
>> it in drawer and throw away key, that alone is the only option if you
>> dont want to see copies of your work.
>> j.
>> 2008/6/11 James Cole <email suppressed>:
>>>> That's like saying a
>>>> postcard of the Mona Lisa is the intellectual property of Leonardo.
>>> Is that really such an absurd idea? I mean, it seems pretty clear
>>> that, were Leonardo alive, it would be his property. Certainly you
>>> can't be in favor of the postcard manufacturer being able to make
>>> profits off of the Mona Lisa while Da Vinci has no say whatsoever.
>>> If it wasn't ubuweb that was using it (an organization which is
>>> ostensibly in favor of avant-garde film), would people really be so
>>> allowing? If ubu can show a clip recorded off of a monitor, then can
>>> the US Army use the same clip in recruiting videos? Can McDonalds use
>>> it to sell burgers?
>>> __________________________________________________________________
>>> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
>> __________________________________________________________________
>> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
> __________________________________________________________________
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
> ------------------------------
> End of FRAMEWORKS Digest - 11 Jun 2008 - Special issue (#2008-281)
> ******************************************************************

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.