Monday, 4 May 2015

Writing/stealing (as if the past didn't exist)

"There is only one thing which is generally safe from plagiarism – self-denial."
– G.K. Chesterton.


Source: Art News
“A time is marked not so much by ideas that are argued about as by ideas that are taken for granted. The character of an era hangs upon what needs no defense. In this regard, few of us question the contemporary construction of copyright. It is taken as a law, both in the sense of a universally recognizable moral absolute, like the law against murder, and as naturally inherent in our world, like the law of gravity. In fact, it is neither. Rather, copyright is an ongoing social negotiation, tenuously forged, endlessly revised, and imperfect in its every incarnation.”
– Jonathan Lethem.

“Active reading is an impertinent raid on the literary preserve. Readers are like nomads, poaching their way across fields they do not own – artists are no more able to control the imaginations of their audiences than the culture industry is able to control second uses of its artifacts.”
– Jonathan Lethem, via Henry Jenkins, via Michel de Certeau.

"Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal."
– T.S. Eliot.

"Imitation is not only the sincerest form of flattery – it's the sincerest form of learning."
– George Bernard Shaw.

Source: Tom Phillips
“Artists and their surrogates who fall into the trap of seeking recompense for every possible second use end up attacking their own best audience members for the crime of exalting and enshrining their work.”
– Jonathan Lethem.

“I have no copyright restrictions on my work—economically or legally—in perpetuity. I don’t believe that the result of my lifetime’s labor will have any economic ramifications, even long after my death.
I don’t doubt that it will have intellectual ramifications, though, but those consequences are entirely based on the work being made freely available for all. If I were to propose an economic model, the entire premise of my work would be undermined.”
– Kenneth Goldsmith.

“My book ‘Newspaper Blackout’ is a collection of poetry made by redacting newspaper articles with a permanent marker, leaving only a few words behind. (Imagine if the C.I.A. did haiku). Essentially, I destroy someone else’s intellectual property to create something new.”
– Austin Kleon.

"All writing is in fact cut-ups. A collage of words read heard overhead. What else? Use of scissors renders the process explicit and subject to extension and variation. Clear classical prose can be composed entirely of rearranged cut-ups. Cutting and rearranging a page of written words introduces a new dimension into writing enabling the writer to turn images in cinematic variation."
– William S. Burroughs.

“Ours is an economy based on plentitude and abundance; the more copies of our work there are out there and the more readily available they are, the greater the impact our works will have. This is in contrast to economic forms based on scarcity: diamonds, paintings, fine watches.”
– Kenneth Goldsmith.

“Take a page. Like this page. Now cut down the middle and cross the middle. You have four sections: 1 2 3 4 . . . one two three four. Now rearrange the sections placing section four with section one and section two with section three. And you have a new page. Sometimes it says much the same thing. Sometimes something quite different—cutting up political speeches is an interesting exercise—in any case you will find that it says something and something quite definite. Take any poet or writer you fancy. Here, say, or poems you have read over many times. The words have lost meaning and life through years of repetition. Now take the poem and type out selected passages. Fill a page with excerpts. Now cut the page. You have a new poem. As many poems as you like. As many Shakespeare Rimbaud poems as you like.”
– William S. Burroughs.

“Take a newspaper.
Take a pair of scissors.
Choose an article as long as you are planning to make your poem.
Cut out the article.
Then cut out each of the words that make up this article and put them in a bag.
Shake it gently.
Then take out the scraps one after the other in the order in which they left the bag.
Copy conscientiously.
The poem will be like you.
And here you are a writer, infinitely original and endowed with a sensibility that is charming though beyond the understanding of the vulgar.”
– Tristan Tzara.