Seminario Fundación Cisneros 2013 | Promises of the Commons

Seminario Fundación Cisneros 2013

Promises of the Commons: Authorship, copyright and access in contemporary art

November 15, 2013

Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas

Through a dynamic event combining the model of Pecha Kucha and symposium, the Fundación Cisneros Seminar 2013, entitled “Promises of the commons” presents several cases that address copyright, intellectual property and access in contemporary art -positions, quarrels, and reconciliations that have unfolded at an accelerated pace in recent decades due to the internet uses. For this third iteration, the Fundación Cisneros Seminar is held on November 15, 2013 in the Concert Hall at the Cultural Complex Aula Magna in the Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas.

A workshop on copyright, by registration only, will take place prior to the seminar. This workshop is led by Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento, and is co- presented with Universidad Torcuato di Tella in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia.

The array of mechanisms of collaboration, reproduction and uses of the commons that have emerged over the last decades impact the way we conceptualize the idea of ​​the public and the private. Both cultural production and the interpretation of law as a central mechanism in the construction of the social are deeply affected by this reorganization. Therefore, regulatory frameworks and protocols operating in the field of art are open to interpretation and redefinition. The seminar “Promises of the commons” focuses on exploring how the arts are impacted by these processes, while they interrogate and reveal its ambiguities and contradictions.

“Promises of the commons” addresses contemporary artistic practices and cultural projects that challenge the convergences and differences between what is considered private and common property. Today, the Internet allows information – visual, text, and so on –to operate as a vehicle while being an active tool (code), which transforms the traditional paths for negotiation between public and private, self and mutual, singular and participatory.

How does art sublimate or subvert these processes and, at the same time, release and reveal the mechanisms of participation, dialogue and friction inherent to this new public sphere, transforming its democratic capacity? These and other questions are triggered and addressed in the Fundación Cisneros Seminar 2013.


Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, "Promises of the Commons"

In its third edition, the Seminario Fundación Cisneros will reflect on the ways in which notions of intellectual property, and particularly copyright, have been tapped and critically framed in and by contemporary art. While appropriation in art has been a trigger for uprooting and discussing ideas around authorship and property in the field of culture -- and therefore about meaning and value -- there are other instances, as there are fields of production, that can provide a clearer genealogy and framework to understanding copyright, its alternative known as copyleft, and the potential of copy-future.

Terry Fisher, "Copyright, Copyleft, Copyfuture"

"Four theories have been developed to justify and interpret the legal rights enjoyed by artists and authors. The first focuses on fairness, contending that authors are morally entitled to the rights or rewards of their work. The second privileges self-fulfillment, arguing that people should have the legal means they need to fully realize personhood. The third focuses on society’s welfare, advocating the creation of incentives to induce creators to generate works from which all benefit. The fourth considers society’s welfare more capaciously, contending that the law should foster a just and attractive culture.  All four theories have implications for contemporary art.  I will show that the fourth theory is the most illuminating, deriving guidelines from that perspective for the legal treatment of appropriation art."

Watch on Vimeo

Marion von Osten, "Overcoming original and copy"

"'Overcoming original and copy: Commoning and translation as counter practices in the visual arts' will explore James Clifford’s concept of “traveling cultures” that invokes the exchanges that cultures have historically had with other regions’ material and symbolic worlds. Cultural translations are a reminder of the non-originality of any cultural expression. To highlight cultural transfer as an emancipatory force is critical; recent discussions in Western art history tend to revive previous held concepts to analyse contemporary art history. Transnational relations, exchanges of discourses, and multiple practices of sharing, translating and interpreting, enable concepts beyond the horizon of contained culture, a concept developed under European colonialism. This close reading of the cultural Magazine "Souffles" published in Rabat from 1966-1972 ten years after Morocco's Independence, will address that production’s transnational and transcultural dimension."

Watch on Vimeo

Rafael Ortin, "Art and Copyright in Venezuela"

This presentation will make a diagnosis of intellectual property in Venezuela, with special emphasis on copyright in the visual arts. It will address the general limits to the right to use and reuse others’ works, such as the right to quote, use of preexisting works, branding and image in the works. It will analyze the business model, the collective management of the (secondary uses) and "droit de suite," and explore the challenges of copyright and protection of an authors’ work that are faced under a context of new technologies of information and production.

Watch on Vimeo

Pecha Kucha

Gerardo Zavarce, Fabiana Garreta, Lucas Ospina, "Public Domain"

The first Pecha Kucha will address access and the right to information, raising questions around the relation between intellectual property and public domain. How can we balance the property rights of authors with the notions of freedom of expression? Is there rivalry between the recognition of creativity and the public interest? Is social welfare adverse to the interest of the creator? These and other questions will be addressed. Introduction: Nicholas Gerardi

Watch on Vimeo: Gerardo Zavarce, Fabiana Garreta, Lucas Ospina

Willy McKey, Alexander Provan, Maris Bustamente, "The Right to Copy"

The act of copying can help us rethink the idea of ​​subject, object, the alike and the different; it raises questions around copyright and private property in contemporary art, and the practices of reproduction, appropriation and recycling as ubiquitous tools in today’s cultural production. Does an author’s ability to appropriate existing sources undermine the very concept of authorship? At what point does appropriation transcend its derivative tendencies and “transform” into an “original” artwork unto itself? These questions will be addressed by the presenters during the second Pecha Kucha.

Watch on Vimeo: Willy McKey, Alexander Provan, Maris Bustamante

Jill Magid, Yona Backer, Gala Garrido, "Artistic License"

The last Pecha Kucha session explores the relation between ownership and authorship over time, and defines the terms under which the work may be modified, copied, or redistributed once it no longer is under the author’s control. When the public interest superimposes the private interest for legacy? Does the relation between access and the value of the work matter? What is the relation between the public interest in the artwork and its sustainability?

Watch on Vimeo: Jill Magid, Yona Backer, Gala Garrido

For more information, check out the Seminario Fundación Cisneros 2013 microsite.