The entire definition of “artist” is changing. Appropriation has become the most popular technique. I and my classmates borrow images, music, and sound effects and incorporate them into our videos and layouts. We say, “I’d like original music, but I don’t have the time.” Even if we had the time would we go to the trouble of searching out new material inside of infringing copyright law for every assignment? As we step further into the digital age and increasing amounts of art become data, the rate of appropriation will skyrocket! Music is already stored in a 100 percent digital format. What’s next? Photography moves that way with digital cameras! Sony recently introduced their digital video camera which rivals Betacam quality! Filmmakers talk of scrapping photographic emulsion!

As we borrow from more sources, all of us become artists since there is no one sole creator. The works of Monet or Pollack are uniquely attributed to them; my classmates and I can not say that for much of our work. Appropriation may remove art from the galleries and re integrate it into our daily lives as we all start to consider ourselves as artists.

The whole hierarchy and deification of artists would fall as would the market. The enshrinement of art, like the personalising of problems, is a technique for distracting from the larger problems with social causes and maintaining the status quo. I believe the ruling class will lose this battle because of the inevitability of digital appropriation. Witness the rates of music and software piracy. Many people don’t purchase the software and games that they use or the music they listen to. And so it will go with art. The new artists will produce increasingly less of their source images/sounds in the making of their new digital art.

By Richard Munter

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~ Richard