The Ecstasy of Influence

A plagiarism

“It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”

attributed to Jean-Luc Godard

The misconception or allergy to originality turns working artists as monster who does not respect the original creators and stripped away the original content’s intention. Being an artist and designer, I often needs to refer different artist’s work as inspiration, and to convert the ideas into my own perspectives. Under the pressure of Plagiarism, in a good way, it pushes me to think harder on my artwork, but I cannot resist the subconscious mind to make me think in a directed way.

Plagiarism protects creators like Steve Jobs from Apple Inc., but the creation is caught up by laws and copyrights, and they have to spend a lot of time fighting for their protection and values. Plagiarism in a way not promoting ideas, but rest on its own. Ideas and invention are supposed to “flow freely and having the sufficient incentive to create”, addressed by Thomas Jefferson.

Like what Kirby Ferguson says, creator of Everything is a Remix, we are dependents on each other. We somehow are connections and networks that inspire each other to create, and invention don’t just pop out of nothing or push a button whatever. Invention is being created out of chaos, and it is the stimulation of creating and learning. What we are learning right now is from copying, and I learn that Allergy to Originality video created by Drew Christie’s conversations and information are from Wikipedia. In order to acquire new knowledge, we practice what pioneers left behind and generate a whole new structural formations through the understanding of what they did. Take for example calligraphy, we need to know the rules of the game by copying the letterings, and we make alternations into different fonts, proving that copying plays an important role to invent.

From the readings of The Ecstasy of Influence,  I love how the value of “remixing” is to bring up hidden findings from history and continue to flourish influence. With the Freud’s theories and photographic apparatus mentioned in The Ecstasy of Influence, the concept of “hidden details of familiar objects” is like a guide to find inspiration: we find new meanings from existing object that is familiar and synchronize the communities, and convert into a art piece to allow viewer’s to contemplate, to feel, to experience, to encourage.

We learn from copying, we create with new meanings, but I would be really careful on the original intention and ideas. Through the event of Molotov Man, I cannot agree more that in another perspective of artist, we would not want our original intention being decontextualized, and may disrespect and distorted the subject. Even though it may restrict our boundaries, the boundaries reinforce us to explore and participate in a bigger context. Besides the dilemma of protecting and opening up your resources to community, let’s not forget the meaning of creation — “which moves the heart, or revives the soul, or delights the senses, or offers courage for living, however we choose to describe the experience — is received as a gift is received” from .

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