The Repertoire of Open Source Art

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The Repertoire of Open Source Art


Open Source is a term coined in 1998 "to describe software distributed in source under licenses guaranteeing anybody rights to freely use, modify, and redistribute, the code" (Open Source, Examples include Linux OS, Firefox browser, Mediawiki wiki software, and office suite.

Open Source, as presented here, represents the idea that all works of creativity inherit raw material (ideas, images, sounds) from an existing source and transform it into something new.

Open Source involves a three step cycle:

  • Appropriation, borrowing, or stealing of source to act as the base materials for a project.
  • Collaboration, modification, or transformation of source to suit particular needs.
  • Redistribution of this modified source product back to the community as raw source.

Some debate the existence of Open Source outside of the software community. Can we apply these principles to government, business, religion? Can an Open Source Culture exist in a world full of copyright laws, intellectual property rights, and the basic assumption of possession? This exhibit asks this question and delves into some possible points where Open Source comes into play in the controversy laden realm of the art world.

The idealistic nature of this Open Source "commons for creativity" easily attracts artists who often use material from other people to develop their own artwork. What play does not reference a previous work in style, character, or plot? What painting presents something not painted before? What song does not include some melody or tune previously explored by another musician? Many artists take to the sense of a production environment uninhibited by the legal systems and hindrances of creativity artificially imposed by society.

Focusing on six Open Source art pieces from the fields of photography, literature, music, theater, and the internet, the total repertoire of Open Source is displayed; however, the inclusion of a piece here does not inherently make it an Open Source art piece, it is only a proposed example that the viewer must qualify to make a conclusion about Open Source in art.

Works discussed in the piece:

"AfterSherrieLevine and AfterWalkerEvans" - Michael Mandiberg

"Documenta X" - Vuk Cosic

"Free Press" - Sal Randolph

"the (re)making project" - Charles Mee

"Rebirth of a Nation" - Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky

All with your loyal curator, Sebastian Gallese:








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