Another Shift

Sarah Pearce

Still Image Award

Another Shift, Copyright in the age of the Internet and digital technologies.

In the infancy of societal advances, the impact of their far-reaching consequences is impossible to foresee but much debated.  In the industrial world, life was shifting through scientific and technological advances, as well as political and social change when Manet painted "Peonies in a vase" in 1864.  His paintings reflected the vigorous discussion on contemporary realism in the art of the industrial world.

One technological advance from this industrial era which has had a long and remarkable impact is the invention of the roll-film camera in 1881.  It spawned photographic film and motion picture film, both of which contributed to the mass production of images, something which defines contemporary life.  Although now images are produced through digital photography and videos.  

Today Manet's painting is in the public domain and can be copied freely.  However contemporary artists are having their copyrights strained by the Internet.  While the Internet provides easy access to images of art, there are benefits and drawbacks.  On the plus side, the democratic reach of the Internet unleashes a global sharing of images of art to all who are connected via phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, etc.  On the minus, both traditional and non-traditional art which is published on the Internet, can be grabbed and reproduced without recognition of, or financial compensation for, its creator.  Theft of art on the Internet is difficult to police, nevertheless its criminalization helps this type of theft from losing its gravitas.

The scale of "borrowing" images from artists and the unfettered potential of consciously shared images are forces which stand to shift our ideas of authorship and the value of originality - hopefully not to the detriment of artists.   

Part 1, The Still

Several copies of an ipad painting of Manet's "Peonies in a vase" are shown in a strip of motion picture film.  Both the painting and the motion picture film, once brilliant products of the industrial age, are shown to be fading and ending as naturally happens over time with copyrighted artifacts from this era.

Part 2, The Video

This is the reproduction of Manet's painting which appears in the still.  The ipad app used has a playback feature, or video, which shows all the strokes that create a painting, making the app a descendant of motion picture film.  The technology of the playback capacity furthers sharing as the artist's method can be viewed by others trying to learn to paint.  Also the playback shows if the app painting has been traced from another painting, and this addresses an aspect of originality and reproduction.     

View the video here:

Vimeo passowd - lumen16

Hardware and Software Used:

Ipad App