Re: [-empyre-] [empyre] producers and consumers

Students are surrounded by pop culture in which appropriation - from sampling in rap music and Moby to Madonna who has taken on various personnae over the years - is widespread. It is understandable, perhaps predictable, that they would try to emulate this in their own work. What they seem to miss is the fact that pop artists (or fine artists such as Sherrie Levine, who 'appropriated' Edward Weston) have a critical engagement with the work, that the appropriation leads to transformation of the ideas into those of the artists.

I'm saddened to hear Mary's comment that her students feel that commercial works speak over their voices, but it's something I've seen myself. What I'm wondering is what, if any, solution folks see to this passivity in students.

On Monday, December 16, 2002, at 11:15 PM, mary flanagan wrote:

Joseph -
thanks for your thoughts. I call my thoughts utopian because I simultaneously cannot help but see the "megalith of the consumption of popular culture" as a very very large obstacle towards true spontaneous and collective creative acts. As a committed teacher, I am a firm believer in personal creativity. However on occasion I have experienced art and media students, for example, turning in projects created by other artists or by Hollywood as their own -- not as plagiaristic solutions to the assignment, but because the commercial works "said what they wanted to say *for* them" and the students thought this was the same as personal creativity. (Believe me, this has resulted in many many long discussions!) In many circles, at least in the US, we've become a culture where years can pass by before someone might face the challenge of actually *making* anything - food, clothing, gift, etc etc.

But -- I'm optimistic and personally chipping away at this particular megalith. It would thrill me to no end to find out about and download music by Mrs. Ludmilla Borghese of Pavia, for example, instead of Madonna! But right now, for example, the top ten on filesharing systems focused on music tend to be the top ten on the charts, etc.

~ m a r y

Today's Topics:

1. the role of participants as *both* producers and consumers (Joseph Nechvatal)


Message: 1
From: "Joseph Nechvatal" <>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 22:53:38 +0000
Subject: [-empyre-] the role of participants as *both* producers and consumers

Dear Mary

When you say that "the role of participants as *both* producers and consumers
needs to be emphasized" I fully consent. This is very important. Yes, we must look forward to the time when every user is also a server - a time when the upload/download process is complimentary (at least between creative people). This in no way seems utopian to me. Does it to you?

Please let me hear from you on this at your leisure.

Joseph Nechvatal

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