Appropriation and Fair Use

My original PhD question, now revised, asked if appropriation, which was ubiquitous as a post-modern methodology of revelation and critique, continues to offer artists a methodology with which to reveal meaning from or apply meaning to popular culture, in an academic context? Is appropriation even visible now, in our post-net culture?

Appropriation of course remains a fundamental methodology in my practice, though I am currently less interested in its usefulness as a tool of critique (as even a cursory glance at the products of contemporary artists, filmmakers and user-generated content websites such as YouTube would appear to show appropriation to be ubiquitous as a methodology of parody, critique, manipulation and revelation). More interesting to me are the real world experiences of how appropriation is being monitored and controlled.

This of course varies according to platform (the net, the gallery, the film festival), genre of video (the parody, the transformation, the critique) and, it would appear, the success of the work or the maker.[1]

The topic of copyright and fair use is discussed frequently by artists, and anecdotal evidence is easy to come by. For instance, when I…

Christoph from IKFF

Stephen Sutcliff at the Tate

Me and Vimeo

What is it? Use

Why is it so necessary right now?


Discussion at IKFF – films are often discussed with reference to an unspoken shorthand relating to genre. Flicker films, found footage, voiceover…

[1] See for instance, the successful recent prosecution of Luc Tuymans. Available here:


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