Reproducible Art

31 08 2007

Now that art has become digital and endlessly reproducible, I don’t think that the value in the art has increased or decreased. I think that as users and consumers of various types art, we have learned to adjust and accept the way these forms of art are produced and reproduced. Seeing as though each reproduced copy of a piece of art most likely looks and sounds the same, how can one determine which is the original and which is the copy? The emotional and mental connection to the art would be the same through the visual or audio of the art.

There are exceptions to my thinking and understanding of reproduced art. I will take a CD album for example. Music artists compose songs to create an album. They put their records out in stores and people who are faithful supporters of the artists’ music will buy an album from the store. These people must feel like they are being true fans to their favorite music artists by purchasing their CD to help increase their record sales and proving the album number one on the charts.

On the other hand, people will download the CD or buy it from a bootlegger with no remorse because either way they get the same quality music for cheap or for free. Just because the “real” CD (store bought), comes with an album insert and pictures, the downloaded or bootlegged copies have the same exact musical qualities. The only big difference is that the copies of these CD’s will not be counted towards the artist’s record sales.

What is the difference? If no one can tell which the actual original copy of the album was, what does it matter? Maybe it isn’t the actual original copy that matters to a person. Perhaps they hold a sentimental value to the object, for example a CD. Maybe they received a certain CD from someone as a gift and it’s really special to them. In this case, a copy of the CD would not suffice.

This argument can be discussed from all angles. Personally, unless a piece of art is sentimental in value to a person, a reproduced version of that art should mean just as much to them as the “original” (and who’s to say which copy the ‘original’ is).



Reproducible Art

30 08 2007

I think there are both positive and negatives to the increasing reproducibility of art. In the past, I have seen paintings that I fell in love with. The fact that I was unable to see it all the time or hang it in my room was, in a way, good. The old saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” comes to mind. Not seeing the painting made me rely more on my own recollections. When I did see the painting again, it seemed to be even more beautiful than before; my memory had dulled its beauty.

On the other hand, I have also bought prints of paintings that I like. One example, The Scream by Edvard Munch, is one of my favorite paintings. I bought the print and put it above my bed. Seeing it every day dulled me to it in one way, but also connected it to me in another way. Whenever I see it outside of my room, I feel like I’m seeing a relative or friend. When people talk about the work, I feel like they are talking about someone I know. I don’t think I could have built that kind of attachment to a work that I only saw a few times, no matter how much I loved it.

As a whole, I think the ability for everyone to make and have art, if they so choose, is great. I don’t think artwork should be restricted from people who don’t have the money, time, natural talent, or training to be experts or professionals. The only caveat I see is that people can very easily steal works, whether for their private enjoyment or personal gain. I think there should be better safeguards for those artists who do want to be credited for their work in whatever way they deem necessary. If an artist wants only those people with whom he or she feels comfortable sharing his work, I don’t think the artist should have to let everyone see and have it. Likewise, if an artist wants to create a masterpiece, turn it into mass-produced refrigerator magnets, and distribute them to everyone with a mail box, that’s just fine. That doesn’t make the artwork any less meaningful (provided it had meaning in the first place).

I don’t think the ability to mass produce and distribute artwork is bad or harmful, it’s just different from the way things were before. The system as it is now is not perfect, but then again, the system as it was before wasn’t either.

-Rose Soorenko

Week One–Reproducible Art

30 08 2007

Once art (visual, textual, musical, etc) becomes digital, it becomes easily and endlessly reproducible. Does such reproducibility add or detract from the value of the art? I don’t mean economic value, but social, cultural, even personal value.

Post your reflections as new posts, not as comments to this one.

–dr t


25 08 2007

Welcome to English / NCLC 343. Each week, you will post your comments, questions, observations, etc about the class and the readings here.

–dr t