Wildlife Divide Continues in Asheville, North Carolina at the Black Mountain College Museum and Art Center

asheville-wd-poster

Wildlife Divide Asheville

The Wildlife Divide Asheville is an extension of a project that started in Las Vegas, Nevada. The project was to point out the resounding differences and high contrast between the natural and urban habitats and to explore where the two intersect.

Asheville is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited. With its setting in the Appalachian Mountain Range and its long history of artistic creativity, Ashville inspired me to invite two locals in the community to explore the area around the Black Mountain College Museum and Art Center. We were to look for and find places where wildlife thresholds may be found, places where remnants of what once was or could be for our ecological and urban futures could be seen.

Anna Toth and Asia Suler agreed to work on this project with me and I am eternally grateful to be invited to Asheville for a second time and to work with these amazingly talented women.

The Wildlife Divide takes place on Saturday April 9th at noon, we will meet at the Black Mountain College Museum and Art Center and walk through 4 locations in Asheville, while discussing documentation of time, the ecology and natural fabrics and fibers. There will be a collaborative loom activity at the end. To attend please contact interludeavl@gmail.com .

Bring good walking shoes, some water, and an umbrella.

The website for this project can be found here.

This event is organized by the Media Arts Project in conjunction with the Black Mountain College Museum and Art Center

Some new work coming up.

 

issosymetry_i_miss_you_web

A new work  The Issosymetry; I miss you will be exhibited in North Carolina, one night only in Chapel Hill.

The artwork was conceived as a response to the increasing displacement of masses and the refugee crisis as symptoms of global economies and inequality.

Migration, is often coupled with a split from loved ones and familiar environments, many have felt this estrangement to be  difficult and lonely. In experiencing it myself I decided to re-contextualize it with the advent of technology that has made migrations become both less distant and mechanically digitized. The encoded streams are transport systems for feelings, a translation and mechanized version of emotion. Communication systems become elementary tools for the prosperity of global economics and transmitters of an increasingly sophisticated personal messaging system.  The message “I miss you”  belted out by Brian Mcmahon the lead singer of Slint, a seminal rock band of the 90’s,   is a universal message, it relates in a general way to my experiences, and it relates specifically to all those who have left someone behind.

SHIMMER: THE ART OF LIGHT

http://shimmerevent.com
February 12 2016 from 6 to 11pm in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, North Carolina

My exhibit will take place at Light Art + Design

601 W. ROSEMARY ST., Chapel Hill, NC

 
… More news. 
 
NMHU Media Arts students will be highly involved in the design of a museum soundscape, creating IR sensor audio devices, and creating a hologram room for the Fractured Faiths Exhibition at the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, I am very excited for them. 
 
Collaborations on the horizon  with the Hatchery  Cairo and Munich are calling for an online participatory event in April, more news on this will be forthcoming.  
 
A new version of New Citadel will be constructed for the Nevada Museum of Art for Exhibition in August more on New Citadel here.
 
Next release of the Autohypnosis series from Spain by Pedro Bericat will be released this year, one of my audio works will be included in the mix.
 
Always and ever active Checko Salgado has one of my works included in his Basin and Range Exhibit, more on this here
 
Oscillations: 36 37 02 N 114 20 41 W at the site of Michael Hiezer’s Double Negative can be viewed here.
oscillations_shot.jpg
 
 
Hope all is well with you and I wish you the very best new year.
 
David Sanchez Burr

New Exhibit in Chapel Hill North Carolina

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A new work called The Issosymetry; I miss you will be exhibited in North Carolina, one night only in Chapel Hill.

The work was conceived as a response to the increasing displacement of masses and the refugee crisis as symptoms of global economies and inequality.

Migration, is often coupled with a split from loved ones and familiar environments, many have felt this estrangement to be  difficult and lonely. In experiencing it myself I decided to re-contextualize it with the advent of technology that has made migrations become both less distant and mechanically digitized. The encoded streams are transport systems for feelings, a translation and mechanized version of emotion. Communication systems become elementary tools for the prosperity of global economics and transmitters of an increasingly sophisticated personal messaging system.  The message “I miss you”  belted out by Brian Mcmahon the lead singer of Slint, a seminal rock band of the 90’s,   is a universal message, it relates in a general way to my experiences, and it relates specifically to all those who have left someone behind.

SHIMMER: THE ART OF LIGHT

http://shimmerevent.com
February 12 2016 from 6 to 11pm in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, North Carolina

My exhibit will take place at Light Art + Design

601 W. ROSEMARY ST., Chapel Hill, NC

I will be joined by this list of wonderful artists, I am eager to see their work hope that you can make it too:
Amie Oliver
Richmond, VA • www.amieoliver.net

Ann Marie Kennedy
Raleigh, NC • www.annmariekennedy.net

Belinda Haikes
Philadelphia, PA • www.belindahaikes.com

Britt Flood
Durham, NC • www.brittflood.com

Carter Hubbard
Portland, OR • www.carterhubbard.com

Chad Graves
Durham, NC

Cirque de Vol
Raleigh, NC • www.cirquedevol.com

Greg Carter
Raleigh, NC • www.facebook.com/cyberpig

Jaclyn Bowie
Raleigh, NC • www.jaclynbowie.com

Jason Oppliger
Raleigh, NC • jasonoppliger.com

Johanna Evans-Colley
Brooklyn, NY • www.johannaevanscolley.com

Jonathan Davis
Pittsboro, NC • www.locallygrownart.com

Karen Niemczyk
Greensboro, NC • www.interpolations.org

Leigh Suggs
Chapel Hill, NC • www.leighsuggs.com

Louis St Lewis
Chapel Hill • www.louisstlewis.com

Mark Iwinski
Durham, NC • www.markiwinski.com

Medeology Collective
Savannah, GA • www.kelleymcclung.com

Mikyoung Kim
Boston, MA • myk-d.com

Nate Sheaffer
Raleigh, NC • natesheaffer.com

Nicole Herbert
Harrisburg, PA • www.nherbert.com

Nuno Gomes
Chapel Hill, NC • cargocollective.com/ng/nuno-gomes

Symmes Gardner
College Park, MD • www.art.umbc.edu/varts/faculty/gardner.php

Research in art practice, how important is it? The plagiarism debate.

In the recent debate on whether Emily Kennerk plagiarized my work or not. I wanted to add new information that has surfaced from a recent interview with Emily Kennerk on the debate. Emphasizing objectivity and the facts of this debate until now nothing has been published about her research, which is important when questioning the originality of the work.

Here is an excerpt and a link to MLive in Grand Rapids, Michigan that details how she came upon the idea:

Kennerk, whose work often uses everyday objects, said two events sparked her recent interest in sound as a force: working with visually impaired children on an app using sound as a means of mapping and a visit to Death Valley with her dog, who escaped from her.

Kennerk discovered her voice wouldn’t carry when she tried to call her pet.

“The sound doesn’t travel. It fell out of your mouth onto the ground,” she said. “It was the opposite of an amphitheater.”

Citation from M Live By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk
on October 07, 2015 at 4:18 PM, updated October 07, 2015 at 8:13 PM

http://www.mlive.com/artprize/index.ssf/2015/10/artprize_supports_whisper_as_former_student_claims_plagiarism.html

The extent of what is known about Emily’s research and how she came to the idea is thin to say the least and she has perhaps more information that she could share, but I have yet to see it. If a lost dog and a yet to be disclosed level of participation in an audio software application is the best she can offer, given she does not have any previous work on record showing her involvement in sound there needs to be more evidence that my work did not influence her choice in both presentation and process.

Here is a summary of the research I did for my work relating to kinetic object movement with sound, a timeline and important ideas that led to my work as it is today.

Process

The process that is used in both projects is the use of amplified sound to generate movement based on audio input. Her process is described in the recent NUVO article, a local Weekly in Indiana here: “a 70 foot table, covered in white dinnerware, that responds to the sound waves of someone whispering into a microphone.”

My projects listed in the exhibitions below have all incorporated movement generated through sound in the following scenarios: interactively with the audience, direct sound produced via pre- recorded material and via performance with musical and experimental instruments.

Provenance of the Work, Research and History

The provenance of my work is directly related to two important artists and their theoretical work. Jean Tinguely took stances against the production of static art seeing static art as lacking in evolution, his Homage to New York in 1960 at the MOMA underscores the idea of ceaseless change a world in constant struggle between decay/destruction and renewal, his work known as Meta Mechanics is a big inspiration and caused me to title mine Metasonic as an homage to his work. the second artist is Gustav Metzger a German artist well known for his concept of Auto Destructive Art, encouraging work that is in a constant state of disintegration and decay. Excerpts from my thesis published in 2009 are attached to the documents section below.

The use of sound as motivating element to cause movement are a direct attribution to documented work by well known artists, my research and knowledge of the properties of sound allowed me to build and experiment on work in early 2008.

I do not know the provenance of Emily’s work and therefore cannot comment on it other than the quote on the article in Nuvo states: “The kicker is that Kennerk has NEVER worked with sound before.” The capitalization is not editorial on my part it is in fact written in that format.

I have worked with sound in the context of live performance since 1989, I have worked with sound in the visual art context since 1992 a solo exhibition at Virginia Commonwealth University during my undergraduate years.

Another important element of my research is the knowledge of what is known as Chladni patterns. Ernst Chladni discovered that physical material responded to sound and sound frequencies, the response of physical objects to certain sound frequencies is to create patterns. Chladni’s research relegated itself to particulate matter such as sand and salt, I took this experiment further when I used objects where the balance, fragility and weight were taken into account to cause motion in objects with the use of sound.

I do not know the extent of research and familiarity Emily has with these processes or the progenitors of such art, I strictly know that she has never worked with sound prior to her new proposal.

Exhibitions

I am listing the Exhibitions that use the metasonic process here, I am marking the ones that specifically use a dinner table in Bold, the others use the process but do not use a dinner table however the outcome, play and interaction are similar. A short description is added to each:

ISEA2015 Disrupt, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Vancouver, Canada August 2015

I have received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Nevada Arts Council to exhibit Materialism/Antagonism for this conference. The work includes a dinner set made with fragments of crystals, tables and chairs on a platform.

MAS @TAM,Torrance art Museum, Torrance, California (electronic sculpture) July 2014
This work studies the replacement of speaker elements with sound reactive weighted motors that cause effects similar to Chladni patterns

Democracy of Averages at (e)Merge Art Fair, Washington DC.(performance) October 2014 Live performance and deconstruction using sound of architectural elements.

MAS Vegas, Vast Spaces, Henderson Nevada (electronic sculpture) June 2014
This work includes tables chairs and dinnerware the sound used was in collaboration with artist Stephen Hendee in conjunction with live sound produced at the exhibit.

New Citadel, P3 Studio Art Production Fund Cosmopolitan Hotel and Resort Las Vegas, Nevada(installation)(solo) August 2013
This work created and interactive sculpture where the audience was encouraged to create sound by means of electronic consoles to cause movement in the sculptural elements of a city that was also fabricated by the viewer, therefore taking part in the city’s creation and destruction.

Performance Studies International #19, Stanford University, Stanford California. (performance) June 2013
This work included chair, tables and dinnerware and was part of the performance symposium hosted by Stanford University, in this case I played an Organ live to an audience with the structures collapsing while I played.

Beautiful Fields: Memphis Social, an Apex Art Franchise Exhibition Memphis Tennessee Curated by Tom McGlynn(Installation)May 2013
This work included architectural elements made with materials common in Tennessee the process in this case was sound generated by the audience via microphones and instrumentation, to cause the architectural elements to collapse.

Beyond Sunrise Mountain, Clark County Government Center Las Vegas Nevada (sculpture installation)(solo) February 2013
The exhibit work related to the metasonic series was called Disassembling Tributes to Frontier, Dunes and Stardust. three platforms were used to “implode” representations of the three Vegas casinos during a performance using sound as the force to disassemble the work.

metasonic Contemporary Art Center, Las Vegas, Nevada (installation art). May 2009 Architectural elements and audience participation of movement of objects in combination with sound activated movement participants encouraged to manipulate objects manually.

Fragile Loris Contemporary Art, Berlin Germany Curated by Jens Luestraeten (video). May 2009
Video documentation of initial tests of the metasonic process used with architectural like objects in a four channel video and audio presentation of tests done in 2008.

emergency: Thesis Exhibition Donna Beam Gallery University of Nevada, Las Vegas Nevada (installation art) (solo). March 2009
This was the first exhibit of the Metasonic series part of a larger interactive installation where electronics were uses to capture the sounds of the spectators in the exhibit gallery and were electronically translated to both lighting sequences and audio responses. The Work within that installation was Known as Metasonic Gathering in this case a table and chairs were used, the chairs were on top of platforms that would collapse based on sonic frequencies.

Physical Characteristics

The visual and physical character of a work is of paramount importance in the visual arts. Without convocation of time based processes such as sound, motion and interactivity, the shape , dimensions and parts used to create a work are what often remain the most available documentation of a work.
The only documentation I have access to is a picture of Emily’s work in the article on Nuvo based on that alone the materials are different but the formal elements and objects are the same. She intends on making a 70 foot table with dinnerware as a physical manifestation of her work, the scale is full sized. My work has also consisted of a table with dinnerware, the size of my work at the thesis exhibition was full size, the work presented at Stanford included dinnerware and was scaled down.

Interactivity

In the metasonic series of work I have utilized several strategies to create the sound needed to generate movement in my work. These are the most important ones:

  1. Direct sound and feedback by audience using microphones and musical instruments both analog anddigital. (thesis exhibit 2008)
  2. Sound created by performances in which the audio is created live and presented in front of anaudience.
  3. Recorded sound played back via an audio routing of pre-recorded material.
  4. Sound used from an itinerant radio transmission that was routed to the amplification system Thetransmission sounds generated by the audience of the radio station I created moved and shattered a scultpture in a different location via vocal and instrumental devices.

Timeline

2008

My work on the metasonic (kinetic motion of sculptures and objects via sound) process started around the spring of 2008 with experiments on architectural elements.

During the summer of that year I worked exhaustively to perfect the metasonic process. Emily began working at UNLV as Assistant Professor in the fall of 2008 I had one Independent Study with Emily not sure in the Fall of 08 a full concept plan was completed for my thesis exhibit and production was already in place she had access to privileged knowledge of my work on the metasonic series.

2009

I exhibited the metasonic process three times, twice in Las Vegas and once in Berlin.

Emily was on my email list from 2009 to 2015 which she may or may have not read.

2010 through 2012

This period was largely spent on research for subsequent versions of the metasonic series and other works.

2013

A total of four exhibitions used the metasonic process, including the work at Stanford which most closely resembles the work pitched by Emily.

2014

Three exhibitions used this process including the exhibit at Vast Spaces which bears many similarities to Emily’s proposal.

2015

The work done at Stanford and Vast Spaces was rewarded by the Jurors of the International Symposium of Electronic Arts and selected it to be shown in Vancouver as part of the ISEA Disrupt 2015

I do not know when exactly Emily quit her job at UNLV.

Education and Professional Experience

I am a dedicated working artist with an extensive experience in the field of visual arts and audio, with several published audio works and with an extensive visual art exhibition record. I received my Masters from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and my Bachelors at Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond Virginia. In addition to this I was Graduate Program Manager at the San Francisco Art Institute from 1999 to 2006.

Documentation Text

Extract from my thesis written in 2008-2009:

In 1959 Gustav Metzger wrote in his “Auto-Destructive Art Manifesto” that “ Auto- Destructive paintings, sculpture and constructions have a lifetime varying from a few moments to twenty years. When the disintegrated process is complete the work is to be removed from the site and scrapped.”(1) One of the most notable event/exhibitions coming from this strain of conceptualization is Jean Tinguely’s Homage to New York in 1960 at the Museum of Modern Art; this piece radically underscores the concept of destruction as an elemental function of both natural forces and human culture. As Tinguely wrote in his untitled artist statement “ Get used to seeing things, ideas, and works in their state of ceaseless change” he continued “ Today we can no longer believe in permanent laws, defined religions, durable architecture or eternal kingdoms. Immutability does not exist, all is movement. All is static, we are afraid of movement

because it stands for decomposition, because we see our own disintegration in
movement.” (2)Both Metzger and Tinguely took stances against the production of static art, seeing in it a lack of evolution. Yet both artist’s stances are permeated with subtle differences: while both maintain that destruction is an elemental part of a journey, Metzger positions it as the elemental force of change while Tinguely emphasizes that destruction is analogous with creation. Both artists see transformation as a tool to elaborate on their concept of deconstruction and place this concept in relation to a time-based aesthetic that enables time as a subject.

Extract from the published description of the work shown at Stanford University:

“The work I created for Stanford is a scale model of a dinner table that is built explicitly to fall apart. The work speaks of relationships built around the table and starts off with uniformity and symmetry, over the course of the performance we see fractures, separations, disarray. Members of the dinner party disappear, the table is coming apart, silverware and plates scatter all over the floor. In the end all that is left are a few remnants, and fading memory. “ July 2013

Extract from the published description of the work for the exhibit at Vast Spaces 2013

“The work consists of a scale model sized crystal luxury dinner table that is deconstructed in the time span between 8 to 10 minutes. The sculpture kinetically degrades via electronic amplification and dissonant sound frequency emitted from a vintage 70’s organ. The work

critiques the influential class and its relation to the deterioration of democratic process. Antagonism being an instrument to counter this relationship amongst the disaffected.
The sound that accompanies this work is an improvised performance by the artist that uses sound to generate movement and deterioration of the structures. Stephen Hendee friend and colleague will be a collaborator in designing and producing the sound work for Mas Attack at Vast Spaces.”

News articles Mentioning the work:

Las Vegas Takes Center Stage In Large-Scale Art Project at MAS Vegas Huffington Post JK Russ 7-22-2014
Critical Correspondence “New Citadel” Critical Correspondence 9-19-2013
Steve Bornfeld “You Make it You Break It” Las Vegas Seven 9-11-2013

Dawn-Michelle Baude “P3 Resident David Sanchez Burr Speeds up the Vegas Life Cycle” Las Vegas Weekly 8-28-2013
Jay Jones “Las Vegas: Cosmopolitan’s fall artists use sound, sketches, sand” LA Times 8-30-2013 David Hardy “New Citadel at P3 Studio” Arts Vegas 8-23-2013

Critical Correspondence “Beyond Sunrise Mountain” Critical Correspondence 3-20-2013
Andrew Taylor “Sunrise Mountain serves as inspiration for art installation” Las Vegas Review Journal, 2/19/2013
Heidi Keiser “It’s Your Last Chance to Go Beyond Sunrise Mountain” DTLV 3-2-2013

Images Documentation

Emergency Exhibit 2009 Donna Beam Gallery. Metasonic Gathering is a Kinetic and Interactive sculpture of a dinner table in which the chairs slowly disintegrating over the span of the exhibition using sound frequencies to cause physical movement. These two images represent the initial stage and the end stage during my closing reception. Emily Kennerk was present at this exhibit.

008dsanchezwhitney

090306Sanchez _DSC0288

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 10.39.08 AM

This link is a short time lapse of the effect of the work http://www.davidsanchezburr.com/ davidsanchezburr/video-metasonicgathering.html

Exhibit at Stanford University in California for the Performance Studies International in 2013
The kinetic performance and exhibit was a dinner table complete with a dinner set including plates and utensils. The work was de-constructed with the use of an analog organ and amplification system that made the physical elements move and shatter.

IMG_2584

Exhibit at Vast Spaces in Las Vegas 2013, a performance in which over 150 people were in attendance. This work was similar to the work in Stanford but the sound and frequency patterns were more refined, this documentation drew enough interest to be invited to ISEA 2015 in Vancouver. The Images are of before and after.

IMG_4128

6

New Citadel, P3 Studio Art Production Fund Cosmopolitan Hotel and Resort Las Vegas, Nevada(installation)(solo) August 2013
This work created and interactive sculpture where the audience was encouraged to create sound by means of electronic consoles to cause movement in the sculptural elements of a city that was also fabricated by the viewer, therefore taking part in the city’s creation and destruction.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 10.41.41 AM

Beautiful Fields: Memphis Social, an Apex Art Franchise Exhibition Memphis Tennessee Curated by Tom McGlynn(Installation)May 2013
This work included architectural elements made with materials common in Tennessee the process in this case was sound generated by the audience via microphones and instrumentation, to cause the architectural elements to collapse.

IMG_2353

Video Documentation

Using Chairs and Table

Emergency Thesis Exhibit in 2009
This link is a short time lapse of the effect of the work http://www.davidsanchezburr.com/davidsanchezburr/video-metasonicgathering.html

Video of rehearsal for Stanford California 2013 https://youtu.be/SuhO_ZtYwxU

Video of work for MAS at Vast Spaces 2014 https://vimeo.com/96027478

Using other elements

Documentation of New Citadel at P3 Studios in 2013 https://vimeo.com/87907763 shows the process of motion.

Metasonic Unveiled Live at (emerge) art fair in Washington DC 2014 https://vimeo.com/113635074

These Fractures Go Largely Unnoticed and Radio Love and Memphis (time-lapse) in Memphis Tennessee 2013

Documentation of New Citadel https://vimeo.com/115072758

Important Links

Article in Novo Magazine and alternative news magazine in Indiana on Emily Kennerk’s work:

http://m.nuvo.net/ArtsBlog/archives/2015/06/12/local-artist-emily-kennerk-takes-a-win-from-art-prize-pitch- night

Gustav Metzger important figure in the art world and author of the Auto Destructive Manifesto: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustav_Metzger

Jean Tinguely important artist and creator of Metamechanics: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Tinguely

Ernst Chladni Physicist, Musician and Inventor: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Chladni

My response to this debacle: https://dsanchezb.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/what-i-learned-about-being-plagiarized-part-1-get-a-lawyer- or-not/

https://dsanchezb.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/emily-kennerk-plagiarism-debacle/

http://www.mlive.com/artprize/index.ssf/2015/10/artprize_supports_whisper_as_former_student_claims_plagiarism.html

David Sanchez Burr

w: http://www.davidsanchezburr.com e: info@davidsanchezburr.com

What I learned about being plagiarized Part 1 “get a lawyer…or not”

DP143178

A Young Woman Reading

Artist: Imitator of Johannes Vermeer (ca. 1925–27)

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 7 3/4 x 5 3/4 in. (19.7 x 14.6 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: The Jules Bache Collection, 1949

Accession Number: 49.7.40

http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/437882?rpp=30&pg=1&ao=on&ft=counterfeit&pos=3

I must confess that I never thought that I would write an extended editorial about plagiarism. In an era of seemingly out of control production coupled with limitless reproduction it seems futile to think that any efforts could counteract plagiarism, get used to it this is the new norm, says my conscience. At one point I came to the conclusion that plagiarism is an endemic part of the 21st century social structure and that very little in concern with visual art and design could be considered original if it is not first validated through a complex system. One, that includes a selection process based on privilege, access, and wealth. The system that rewards those with money in the bank over intellectual property and ethical concerns is one I perhaps anticipated and accepted a long time ago. I did not foresee a more damaging version of plagiarism, one within an  environment and culture I spent a lifetime building with people I admire and trust. My vision of a world of respect and camaraderie for fellow artists that utilize ethical standards, research and hard work as guiding principles, is an attempt to counterpoint another world paced by less noble principles.

Through a lifetime of confirmations that most government entities are driven by the appeasement of influential classes and that laws are written by and for those with privilege, I am in continuos disbelief of how I don’t hear more stories of heartbreak, depression and perhaps suicide within the small sphere of principled artists beleaguered by an unprincipled world, although even one story is too many for me. Because of a generation x skepticism that continues to be spirited despite all that works agains such instincts, I am driven to seek things that go unnoticed, clues on how to subvert if not change a status quo. I am generally unsurprised to be presented with situations in which ethical considerations become secondary or tertiary to other less admirable traits endemic to art making, selling or marketing.

Along with my skepticism I also remain optimistic that all hasn’t completely melted to air but in fact there are and will always be original things that engage our culture and our practices as artists in new ways.

Rather than being pessimistic about aesthetics often discussed without historical lineage or research, I prefer to think that there are still many of us who’s instinct and drive is to push new boundaries. These are times where production far exceeds our physiological ability to catalog and archive what, when and where new work is being made, by an ever-growing pool of artists worldwide. It has become easy to unglue ones work from its origins, and the hard work of people who pioneered new ideas. There isn’t a re-writing of art reference, there is a current and a growing acceptance that ignorance of arts critical, theoretical and historical background is as good as having a firm grasp of it. This may explain the regurgitation of ideas, the practice of copying well worn stylistic movements and the overwhelming number of artists with an inability to discuss in depth the provenance of ones ideas and practices. These may be troublesome trends but they are more a development in an era of shifting social, ethical and moral priorities within global capitalism than plagiarism with an intent to claim ownership of another ideas. It is highly unlikely that a supposed plagiarist has any understanding of “the ideas” within the originators work, at best we expect a very rudimentary comprehension culled from a lazy set of web queries. Plagiarism is not caused by a deficient understanding of ones own practice, naively copying stylistic movements, or  imperceptible modifications of original ideas. Plagiarism is a much harder punch. In a time when anyone can pin up something online for millions to see, serious artists, (by necessity) have to learn to stop measuring themselves up to the gestalt on the web. The challenge now is to measure up to ethical standards; prepare and be ready to discuss work and research; be capable of self examination and a continuous re-examination of your practice and its measure of originality. These “lofty” goals are poured on top of the exhausting effort to maintain an art practice. People with high standards and even higher goals get hurt more when confronted with plagiarism. The result can cause more harm than any thoughts spent on the dominant naive serial production market in media spaces, or the insipid and seemingly pervasive reduction to a commodity of your life efforts. These situations are embedded in our social fabric since the early days of mass production and are harmless in comparison to a directed attempt at taking hard work from you.

I have been attending exhibitions regularly since 1986, I see new and exciting things today but I have become a tougher and more demanding critic of the work that is presented before me, I ask my peers to do the same. The litmus test for what I feel is original is tough to say the least, what I found out was that my measure for what I consider plagiarism is also complex and stringent.

I write this essay because aside from my skepticism and complete acceptance that we, as artists, get taken most of the time, the plagiarist in my case came really close to home. It became impossible to ignore or dismiss as mere coincidence, this other plagiarism deserved an effort to build a strong blueprint on how to counteract it. The right thing to do, I felt, was to share what I learned about the experience. My hope is that this writing can help artists gauge when they have plagiarized or when they are being plagiarized; and what to do.

This essay is written from an artist perspective, I am not a lawyer. What little I did learn about plagiarism and intellectual property law led me to the conclusion that unless you have a lot of time and money on your hands it is unlikely to win an intellectual property lawsuit. I would not want to discourage anyone from seeking legal counseling as it is a part of the learning process and there are some great resources for artists in this area some of which I will share at the end of the series. I felt that the law left me somewhat stranded. You can intimidate a plagiarist with a well written letter from a lawyer but if you do not see yourself going forward with a lawsuit it may be hard to take that strategy to its end result. Other strategies are useful, and they will be covered here, but you have to be objective, strategic and ethical or they may fail and come back to haunt you.

My main impediment for using legal action as a tactic was time. I found lawyers that would take my case on and I may revisit that option in the future (one lesson in all of this is patience). At a critical moment in my debacle I was offered a tenure track teaching position, something I had earned through the aforementioned hard work, ethical behavior and research. I knew I couldn’t focus on my art practice; a move to a new state; and contend with legal issues that may or may not lead to satisfactory results simultaneously. Law is somewhat mysterious it always has been for me, “get a lawyer”, is something I have heard often. It makes sense when you hear the phrase, but if you cannot afford or can’t find one that will trade for work or do pro bono then what can you do? It turns out you may have already done it.

This is the first part of a series of work that examines plagiarism and the often difficult and emotional decision to take action. The series was written as a reaction and response intended to add to the dialog relating to plagiarism and help others navigate and contend with the issue.

International Symposium for Electronic Arts in Vancouver

Materialism Antagonism

 

A video work of mine will be exhibiting at ISEA 2015 in Vancouver the work titled Materialism Antagonism:

The work consists of a scale model sized crystal luxury dinner table that is deconstructed in the time span between 8 to 10 minutes. The sculpture kinetically degrades via electronic amplification and dissonant sound frequency emitted from a vintage 70’s organ. The work provides a critique of the influential class and its relation to the deterioration of democratic process. Antagonism being an instrument to counter this relationship amongst the disaffected.

The sound that accompanies this work is an improvised performance by the artist that used sound to generate movement and deterioration of the structures. Stephen Hendee friend and colleague will be a collaborator in designing and producing the sound.

http://isea2015.org/schedule/

The video work can be seen here:

https://vimeo.com/96027478

 

naclogo-bw1NEA-logo-small-bw

 

http://nac.nevadaculture.org

The exhibition in Vancouver was made possible by a jackpot grant from the Nevada Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.