Tuesday, 14 September 2010
EXIT THROUGH THE PLAGIARISM SHOP.....
I WATCHED THE BANKSY FILM THIS WEEKEND, IT TURNED OUT TO BE ALOT BETTER THAN I EXPECTED. IN TRUE STYLE HE GRABS YOU BY THE ART BALLS, TURNS YOU ROUND AND MAKES YOU THINK. THIS IS A FUNNY AND INTELLIGENT FILM THAT MAKES YOU WANT TO GO OUT AND DO WORK, BUT ALSO WANT TO SCREAM AT ALL THE SHALLOW IDIOT... WONT GIVE TO MUCH AWAY AS I WILL SHOW THIS SOON.....
BUT EVEN THOUGH MR BRAINWASH IS NOT OBVIOUSLY WHAT HE SEEMS... OR IS HE IT GOT ME THINKING...
AND THAT BROUGHT ME TO THIS LIL ARTICLE.......
when does inspiration become plagiarism?
for tutors and students, industry... alllllllll
Tuesday January 23, 2007
If Damien Hirst is hurt by accusations of plagiarism, then he makes a good fist of not appearing to be bothered. Seven years ago, he paid an undisclosed sum to a toy designer for copying a Humbrol Young Scientist anatomy set for his sculpture Hymn. In 2003, another artist, Robert Dixon, claimed Hirst had copied his design, True Daisy, for a children's drawing book. He has since made a second claim against Hirst for basing his work Valium, a series of multicoloured spots in a circular pattern, on the same design.
Not that there's much reason for Hirst to care one way or the other. Art critics are only interested if he is in or out of fashion - whether his work is heartbreakingly hip or tiresomely last year. A Hirst is a Hirst is a Hirst, even if it looks almost identical to something else. Either way, his bank balance gives him the only reality check he needs. The Humbrol anatomy kit retailed for less than £15; Hymn was valued at about £1m. Dixon made next to nothing for True Daisy; the 500 prints of Valium sold for up to £10,000 each.
In text-based academic disciplines, plagiarism has been one of the hottest topics on campus for some years. The growth of online resources has made cut and paste a favourite keystroke for many students, and academics have had to wise up fast in the game of intellectual cat and mouse. All universities now run suspect essays through software programmes that can identify precisely what percentage of the text has been lifted from elsewhere; and if the guidelines to staff and students are still a little fuzzy on the exact distinction between proper attribution and ripping off, then at least no one is any doubt that there is a distinction to be made and that it is important.
Not so in the visual arts, says Dr Margo Blythman, academic director of teaching and learning at the University of the Arts London, who is collaborating with Susan Orr at York St John University College and Joan Mullin at the University of Texas in Austin on ways to address the subject. "I'm not sure it will be possible to come up with a definitive set of guidelines," she says, "but at least people will be forced to discuss plagiarism. At present, nobody in the arts really seems to want to even think about it. It's not that people are deliberately avoiding it; it's just a non-issue.
"In some ways, this has a positive knock-on effect. Whereas many students in text-based disciplines seem now to be almost paralysed by the possibility of inadvertently copying another person's work, our students operate in a relatively pressure-free environment that allows them to develop their creativity without fear. But having said that, I do think students need to understand there are ethical implications for their work."
Blythman knows it's not going to be easy, because there's little, if anything, that can be genuinely said to be new. "Any time I do something original, I understand I just haven't found the person who did it first," she laughs. Most art forms operate under a herd mentality, a convergence of taste and ideas at a point in time, that lends itself to homogeneity rather than difference. But even allowing for copyright law, the boundaries between creativity and copying are necessarily blurred. Does knocking up Rodin's Thinker in a different substance constitute an original piece of artistic work, or is it nothing more than a crude rip off?
There is also an understandable reluctance to pass judgment because there is a long artistic tradition of works that are inspired by, or are a homage to, another person. "We have all studied art history and been to galleries," says Annette Madsen, a first-year sculpture student at the Camberwell School of Art, "so we're all bound to be influenced by what we've seen - even if only subliminally. I'm not sure how original my own work really is, but I at least try to offer my own interpretation of an idea. I can sense when a piece is working out as I intended because I feel emotionally connected to it. But as a first-year student I am still too young to have developed a proper style of my own. For the moment I am still experimenting with a variety of materials and techniques to get a sense of what works for me."
Some of the problems are of the universities' own making. "When you're writing a catalogue for a large group of students' final show," says Blythman, "you simply don't have the space to list every artist's attributions and influences, so we don't necessarily encourage the rigour we would expect from others."
But other problems are simply a function of the art form itself. "Interior design has no history of acknowledgment," she continues. "You won't find any house that has a little plaque on the wall saying 'inspired by Philippe Starck'."
It is in fashion where plagiarism is a 24/7 industry; laws against it are so easily avoided - just throw in the regulation number of minor differences on any garment - that they appear to have been written with the idea of actively promoting it.
"Copying is something I think about quite a lot," says Celia Robson, a third-year womenswear designer at the London College of Fashion, "and I've become almost phobic about using any new images in my work for fear of accidentally plagiarising something. At the very least, I try to ensure that all my influences are properly attributed so that my tutors can see how my work has been developed from the original.
"But I do worry how I will cope when I start work in the industry. So much of what you see on the high street appears to have been copied directly from the catwalk, that you can only assume everyone just turns a blind eye to it. Certainly some big names haven't been put off from designing for the large retailers and it looks to be a straightforward case of 'if you can't beat them, join them'."
She adds: "I'm not sure how I would feel if I was working for a high-street chain and was asked to make a cheap copy of a designer brand; it doesn't square with my morals, but maybe I'll have no choice if I want to keep working in the fashion industry."
And it's not just the big names that get ripped off.
"We've had instances where industry has lifted ideas from our students' degree shows," says Blythman. "We now ban all cameras and mobile phones from the shows to make it more difficult for people to copy pieces."
It sounds as if Blythman's guidelines can't come soon enough. Or if not guidelines exactly, then guidelines about what the guidelines should be