Re: [Frameworks] UbuWeb...HACKED!

From: Richard Sylvarnes (email suppressed)
Date: Thu Oct 14 2010 - 18:29:36 PDT

Finally. Thank you.


On Oct 14, 2010, at 8:32 PM, Anna Biller wrote:

> It may be true that "art and ideas" put into the public are owned
> by the public, but "objects" are owned by the owners of those
> objects. Controlling who owns objects (i.e., paintings, negatives),
> used to be an effective way of regulating things, but the problem
> with the internet is that it does not deal with objects. The
> internet creates a sense of flattened relativism in which
> everything loses its context and sense of scale and history. And to
> insist that every artist has to want or accept that as "the new
> technology" or as "the way things are" is oppressive and coercive.
> And yes, there is such a thing as "creative ownership."
> On Oct 14, 2010, at 4:39 PM, Tom McCormack wrote:
>> There seem to be a number of competing arguments being staged here.
>> To start with, it’s hard to discern what Matt Helme’s argument is,
>> since he seems opposed to writing more than a line or two. But
>> it’s worth pointing out that copyright is not, actually, a “right”
>> and it is not really a kind of “ownership”. The assumption of
>> copyright law - that is, what was assumed by those who originally
>> put it in place and has been upheld repeatedly by the Supreme
>> Court - is that art and ideas put out into the public are owned by
>> the public. The problem copyright is trying to solve is how to
>> encourage the production of public goods – and the solution (which
>> may no longer be working properly) is copyright – a limited
>> monopoly on use, the purpose of which is to, again, encourage the
>> creation of public goods. So the statement “People who did not
>> create a work have no ownership,” is wrong historically, according
>> to the laws of the US. A more accurate statement would be that
>> “People who create a work have no ownership – they have a limited
>> monopoly on use meant to encourage the creation of the work they
>> do not own.” Obviously, corporate interests have, in the past 100
>> or so years, deformed the original purpose of copyright law. One
>> effect of this is that it has limited artists and intellectuals in
>> terms of the materials they can use – another, equally alarming
>> development, is that it has warped the minds of whole generations
>> of people into believing ridiculous and factually incorrect things
>> about “ intellectual ownership.”
>> As far as Ubuweb being good or bad, the question is of course:
>> good or bad for whom? Ubuweb is almost undoubtedly good for the
>> public, good for avant-garde discourse, good for keeping art and
>> ideas mobile and alive. Is it bad for certain artists? It’s
>> possibly bad for certain distribution models, but those models are
>> constantly changing – the coops were for years one model, and an
>> inspiring one, but they may not prove to be the most durable. One
>> possible flaw was that Canyon apparently relied on the rentals of
>> a single filmmaker to a degree where when that filmmaker found
>> alternate modes of distribution Canyon faced closing down. I’m
>> sure no one was suggesting that Criterion should stop releasing
>> DVDs of avant-garde work to protect the Coops, right? Or that
>> Coops should be allowed a monopoly on the works they distribute?
>> I think it’s obvious that Ubu makes mistakes – their wall of shame
>> was tasteless, and I had trouble with the fact that they put of
>> Treasures IV practically the day it was released, which seemed in
>> poor form. But what gets my goat is this attitude – “Places like
>> Ubu are responsible for the economic marginalization of
>> experimental filmmakers. I have trouble paying rent and it’s Ubu’s
>> fault.” This is an absurd case of transference. Overall, I think
>> Ubu helps sustain experimental media. Experimental media makers
>> are certainly going to have to come up with ingenious ways to
>> sustain themselves economically in the next few decades – they
>> always have had to do this, since the market value of experimental
>> media is always precarious – but I imagine that in the final
>> accounting Ubu will be seen as playing a positive role in this.
>> On the issue of poor quality - painters and sculptors have for
>> more than 100 years dealt with the redistribution of their work
>> thru un-ideal media. Now filmmakers have to deal with it. As was
>> pointed out by Beth, for now it seems a good thing that most films
>> are online in poor quality. It would be a lot tougher if
>> everything on Ubu streamed in HD. That will probably be a reality
>> someday, in which case we need newer forms of economic
>> sustainability for alternative media makers. Instead of
>> complaining about Ubu, we should be using this list to think up
>> those forms!
>> -Tom
>> On Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 5:45 PM, Beth Capper
>> <email suppressed> wrote:
>> Some comments:
>> 1. Perhaps DVD sales have affected Canyon, but I see some
>> differences between DVDs and the internet. As someone noted, the
>> quality of the image on the internet is often not too hot, while
>> on DVD, well, the Brakhage films look quite nice if you ask me.
>> The bad image is perhaps more of an incentive to see a pristine
>> print. And, as Jeanne Liotta noted, maybe Ubu helping to keep
>> these things alive is not such a bad idea - isn't it going to
>> become harder and harder to justify constantly keeping up prints
>> etc if all the people that care eventually disappear? I do,
>> however, think that the quality of the image shouldn't be a way of
>> restricting access: sounds like archive anxiety to me.
>> 2. Some of the work we are talking about is more important than
>> just the individual who made it - we're talking about avant-garde
>> work that was often very engaged in the political moment of its
>> time. So there is an importance, over and above the individual
>> author, that this stuff get out there and people continue to
>> engage with it as they make work, and write art/media histories,
>> and think about/discover/learn about the political moment.
>> On Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 4:50 PM, Ret. Irement
>> <email suppressed> wrote:
>> On Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 3:49 PM, Matt Helme
>> <email suppressed> wrote:
>> People who did not create a work have no ownership.
>> Matt
>> Matt Helme, your incoherence consistently enrages me.
>> Donald Johnson
>> On Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 3:43 PM, Joseph Curran
>> <email suppressed> wrote:
>> I'm a student and I use UBU web occasionally to investigate
>> artists I am unfamiliar with and I find it incredibly useful, the
>> problem I suppose is not really to do with the UBU web but whether
>> or not the people using the site are engaged enough with the art
>> work to realize that in most cases what you are getting is at best
>> a preview/incomplete experience. For example I have not had the
>> privilege to be able to see one of Stan Brakhage's films shown
>> projected but I have the digital copy of those films, which I
>> consider to be like seeing photographs of paintings, previews that
>> contain an essence of the actual work but not wholly.
>> This considered it seems more a case of whether or not you are
>> willing to trust a persons understanding of various art works, to
>> understand that it is a resource re-presenting works of art. I
>> don't know, maybe its a dangerous thing to suggest, but I have a
>> sense that there is a fear of indifference, that certain works
>> loose something through being so readily available.
>> We are all creative beings, viewing a work is as creative an act
>> as making a work, and so we do have ownership over that experience
>> and therefore it can be as revelatory or as indifferent as that
>> creative will within us is/isn't, and I would think most artists
>> would not object to their work being involved in that process,
>> isn't that really one of the core elements of why we do what we do?
>> joseph
>> london
>> On 14 Oct 2010, at 22:04, Warren Cockerham wrote:
>>> The person that's created the work, doesn't have any ownership
>>> either. Especially, to work that can be mass-replicated. Again,
>>> they're working in the wrong medium. Maybe live performance is
>>> the thing for them?
>>> Warren
>>> Chicago
>>> On Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 3:49 PM, Matt Helme
>>> <email suppressed> wrote:
>>> People who did not create a work have no ownership.
>>> Matt
>>> From: David Tetzlaff <email suppressed>
>>> To: Experimental Film Discussion List
>>> <email suppressed>
>>> Sent: Thu, October 14, 2010 12:05:18 PM
>>> Subject: Re: [Frameworks] UbuWeb...HACKED!
>>> On Oct 14, 2010, at 1:24 PM, Jason Halprin wrote:
>>> > Do the rights and wants of the creator outweigh those of the
>>> public?
>>> > My answer has always been that will the author of a work is still
>>> > alive, they should maintain as much control as they desire.
>>> I must disagree. Once an artist has presented work to the public,
>>> they
>>> have initiated a conversation. And in any conversation, all parties
>>> should have a certain say in the matter, some degree of co-
>>> ownership.
>>> (Check with Habermas on this if you want to argue the point ;-) I
>>> don't know if it's an issue of 'rights', or just decency. And I'm
>>> not
>>> suggesting that all concerns are equal or anything goes.
>>> Once an artist makes a work public, it goes into the heads of people
>>> who see/read/hear/whatever it. This happens, in effect, at the
>>> creator's invitation. An author should not have "control" over my
>>> head, or any part of it. Most artists take reasonable positions
>>> about
>>> their work, consistent to some degree with the idea that they have
>>> established a kind of trust or relationship by showing it. But not
>>> all. For example, when an artist withdraws work from view
>>> entirely, or
>>> has it destroyed, IMHO this violates the obligation they established
>>> with the public by inviting them in in the first place.
>>> I would also argue that people who present artwork in public have an
>>> obligation not just to the audience, but to the historical
>>> practice of
>>> the form in which they work. They and their work are not isolated
>>> monads, but part of a thread of things that have come before and
>>> things that will come after. The past and the future should have
>>> a say
>>> as well.
>>> On the evidence of what's available in the video section of UbuWeb,
>>> I'd say their present policies strike a reasonable, even fairly
>>> conservative balance between the legitimate claims of both
>>> authors and
>>> audiences. They don't put up just anything, and they take stuff down
>>> if there's a complaint.
>>> Beth Capper noted that the online availability of Cpry Doctorow's
>>> books has not kept them from becoming bestsellers and asks:
>>> > Could it perhaps be a misconception that forcing scarcity (esp. in
>>> > the case of digital works) is a good business model?
>>> There's no perhaps about it. (And I take Beth's use of 'business' to
>>> be figurative, referring not just to financial gain, but to broader
>>> objectives of aesthetic practice). All evidence shows that the
>>> value/
>>> desirability of cultural products in the form of data/information
>>> (as
>>> distinct from the value of discrete physical objects) tends to
>>> INCREASE with it's circulation. The code for Mozilla, for example,
>>> wouldn't have been worth anything if nobody used it. Obviously, this
>>> is not true in all cases, and where it does apply, it is not a
>>> simple
>>> mechanism. It is especially tricky to know where the balance is with
>>> something like an experimental film, which is not cheap to make and
>>> most likely has a relatively limited potential audience (compared
>>> to a
>>> Tom Cruise movie at least).
>>> Unquestionably, UbuWeb generates interest in the artists whose work
>>> appears on their site, interest that would not exists otherwise,
>>> interest that provides a variety of opportunities to artists that
>>> they
>>> would not otherwise have. UbuWeb helps us weave different pieces of
>>> work into meaningful historical threads, and provides a source of
>>> inspiration for artists of the future. For that reason alone, I feel
>>> they are fully justified in nudging art into the digital light,
>>> instead of waiting for volunteers.
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