Sequential Imaging: Broken Signal

We made this simple comic to make irony on the poor or sometimes even broken signal on campus. It’s kind of suitable for our nyu wifi, but it’s definitely the case in most of the Chinese universities. Students may often have trouble doing certain things with this network.

We got the idea from a joke posted on the Internet, and we discussed for a long time about how to express it through comic. Finally, we brought out this work, Broken Signal.

Our group members are: Zheng Yiran (Cindy), Dai Pengcong (Stella) and Lv Tianshu (Tom).Sequential Imaging: Broken Signal

A comic about a joke that is only relevant if you know the game bejeweled or 连连看



GET IT? The three little chicks formed three in a row and they disappeared.

Our team is Xu Zhijian, Ma Yingmeng and me(Sun Jingyi). We  know that it still needs work and hopefully next time we post there will be a more polished version. =)

It was a tough ride!  First we had to decide what content we wanted to draw, and then we had to actually draw the chicks and the elephant. We also colored them on paper since it was easier.  The background we found on the Internet and  worked on the rest together.  In photoshop, we cropped the images and adjusted the brightness and contrast, added borders and shadows, text and effects. We also played around with a clipping mask. It was only a five panel comic but it took a lot of work to finish.  Bravo, comic artists everywhere, bravo.

comics–a satisfying eating experience in Madrid

Comic 1comic 2comic 3comic 4
This is our first work of comics!!!
We cut out the figures of different comic pictures and put them into Madrid backgroud.
The litte girl is a hungry tourist in Madrid, she wanted to find some food and was finally rather satisfied with the food she had.
We used different background color to reveal her change of mood: from black and white to coloful. We also used wind to show that she was running really fast.We added words to tell what she was thinking.
Hope you will like it!

You know what people call Chinese comics in China? …Comics

That was my attempt at referencing the “What do they call Chinese food in China” joke…

ANYWAY, I thought I’d just share some comics and anime I try to follow since we were talking about these things in class. Also, correct me if I say something wrong.

THIS and THIS are by the same author. The first one is set in the Tang Dynasty. A young girl is on the path of avenging her parents’ death. The second one takes place in a small town that a girl just moved to. Strange things begin to happen and spirits and monsters appear. It’s great.

Note: I’m pretty sure they don’t have English versions, but if you scroll down a bit on the links until you come to this

屏幕快照 2013-09-24 下午10.56.53

then you can click on any chapter and appreciate the art.  The website( that both of these comics are on is great. They host a lot of original content. A LOT.

THIS is a collection of short anime previews. Click on 屏幕快照 2013-09-24 下午11.09.37

at the top to view the different videos. The thing about this website is that it lets people comment on the videos and the comments will scroll by while you’re watching. If you don’t want to see them, click this button 屏幕快照 2013-09-24 下午11.07.59next to the volume adjustment thing to turn it off.

THIS is another awesome video.I think some of these are finished works and others are works in progress.  I’m just to lazy to find the full length video.

Also, this is a comic that got turned into an anime. It’s super short and super hilarious and the voices are great.

I would have so much more stuff to show  you if it weren’t for the fact that I’m always doing homework. Ah life, it gets in the way of blogging.

Recreation or Duplication

Plagiarism, without any doubt, is a serious crime especially when it comes to art. Such is human nature, that we all want our work to be recognized and unique. But the definition of plagiarism seems ambiguous, as it did the case of Molotov man, who took someone else’s idea subconsciously and ended up in a law sue.

The line, between recreation and duplication, is unclear. A person may have similar or even the same artistic inspiration without looking at the picture someone else published a long time ago. Such coincidence exists, and when it does, how do we define them into, recreation or duplication?

The answer remains a mystery, and it quite depends on the case itself. But one thing is for sure, that you never steal others’ work intentionally.

Be careful

I believe most of us have a feeling, though vague, that something will goes terribly wrong if we do not take things seriously, especially when those things are created by others rather than ourselves.

We human beings are all like sponges, ready to absorb everything from our daily life in the society. This kind of natural action leads to both good and bad consequences. One of the possible consequences is that we regard this as normal thus ignore the resources of the information we get, which will eventually raise intense controversy.

Nobody will understand the precise meaning of one piece of information without talking to the people who provide it, and it’s exactly the same thing when we talk about a work of art, for example, a photograph. We download a photograph from the Internet, spread it to others if we think it is amazing and recreate it if it does inspire us. We enjoy all this without noticing that the photograph does not actually belong to us and technically, we know nothing about it. It could be really dangerous because when we recreate the photo, we put our own feelings, which formed only by the image we saw and may have nothing to do with its actual mean, in it. So, in short, what we actually do in this whole procedure is that we steal things from others, distort it and spread new ideas which could be far from the initial one. We show no respect to the original producer and the photograph itself.

It is definitely true that the purpose of a documentary photograph is “to provide the public with a record of events of social and historical value”. However, it is also true that the original producer has good reasons to sue anyone who do anything to the photo without letting him/her know. Be careful with every single piece of work we deal with, because we will never know how huge the potential crisis buried in it will be.

Reading On the Rights of the Molotov Man and a random cat picture =)

It was really interesting to see both Joy and Susan’s perspectives. What intrigued me the most was how one of them decontextualized the image and the other contextualized the image. I think its always interesting to learn about the story behind the photo, whether it is the photographer’s or the subject’s. I look at a photo of a person and I immediately wonder what that person is trying to tell me through his/her facial expressions and body placement.

Usually I would say that the image belongs to the photographer and recreation should only happen with permission, but in this case I don’t think the photo belongs to either Joy or Susan. It should belong to the Molotov Man because it has impacted him more than it has impacted them. Whether Pablo Arauz likes it or not, his face has appeared and will appear on many things and in many places without consent. I feel strongly about what Susan said in the end. Pablo Arauz shouldn’t have had his context stripped away from him,  turning his face into a tool anybody could use to advocate what they thought he stood for, instead of what he really stood for.

But expanding a bit on the thought about recreation. Who really owns anything these days? Recreation is something that gets a lot of attention in fandom. Some authors don’t approve of people writing fan fiction about the characters they created. Some do. Despite everything, people are still writing quality fan fiction and making amazing fan art and brilliant fan videos that make me cry. Personally, I have had a wonderful experience (read: tumblr) seeing people make their own interpretations of movies and television, and it has made my overall experience watching movies and television more enjoyable.

But as always, it is about consent and respect. If someone does not mind you recreating their work, go crazy. If they have guidelines they want you to follow, follow them. If they don’t want you doing anything, don’t.

Here’s a link to George R. R. Martin’s livejournal post if you want to read a bit more about his position on fan fiction.

Also another link that mentions Joss Whedon’s position on fan fiction.

It’s been a long post, thank you for reading. Here’s a picture of a majestic cat.

Follow The Soul

It has often been said that every work of art has its soul. When people come up to a piece of art, they will always feel a sense of resonance with it because their own souls are in communion with the soul of the art. On the day the art was produced, its soul came into being. The soul of art is sometimes difficult to comprehend but it always exists and stays constant. Every work of art through its soul keeps conveying its original substance and idea as its unchangeable will. As Bejamin mentioned in his The Work Of Art In The Mechanical Age Of Reproduction that “The presence of the original is the prerequisite to the concept of authenticity.”(Bejamin4), when someone is trying to reproduce or appropriate a work of art without maintaining its original idea, it is just like depriving the art of its unique place “in the time and space”(Bejamin4) . Art is a thing that deserves not only our adoration but also respect. Following the soul of art through all its appropriations will be the best way to keep the art alive.

Great Lemon

1、 Select the picture of Chancellor Yu and Professor Lehman and mouse.
2、 Cut the head of ‘Chancellor Yu’ and put it in the mouth of Sharks.
3、 Combine the different parts of ‘Professor Lehman’ together.
4、 Put the waves in the sea and the mouse on the beach.
5、 Place the Chancellor Yu and the sharks with Professor Lehman in the sea and make Lehman catch the tail of shark.
6、 Adjust the picture and add some words.

Although we were not very skilled in the operation, learned a lot from the process. We found the suitable methods little by little through our fumble, and created fantastic pictures with a sense of accomplishment.

Group Member: Ang ran(Elaine)\ Yang xi(Yvonne)\ Xu Zhijian(Jane)

Photoshop Collage Blog Post

So our team is Tracy, Hunter and me (Jingyi).

This is what we started out with:Chernobyl

Hunter found this picture on the one place that has all the treasures in the world: The Internet. She sent it to me, and I had way too much fun playing with the adjustments, which caused our .psd file to be 53mb. But this is what it looked like after I finished tinkering.


I passed it along to Tracy and she added this cool shadow effect which can be seen below and also took out some of my redundant adjustments:

Save File-ComLabHW First Time(1)

Hunter already posted her process in another post so you can read more about it there!

Then it went back to Tracy who did a really good job of making the girl and the dog look like they were actually in the picture:

NEW Chernobyl HJ edit

And it finally came back to me and I made an attempt to add a 3D effect. I made 2 versions and I couldn’t decide which one to post so here’s both:


2And there you have it! I hope everyone also had fun working on this! It was really interesting to see how everyone made changes and how our (semi) final image turned out.


Digital Imaging: Walking in the Clock

Walking in the Clock

Our first piece, “Walking in the Clock” is finished! After finishing our first piece, we want to say first that using photoshop is a lot of fun and the experience of working hard to approach the final goal is wonderful. Now it’s time to say something about our process. Firstly, we picked up two photos of traditional Chinese alleyway. We cut it and put one on the left and the other one right. We also changed the color of the background to make it older. Then we put a woman in ancient times on the left and a western woman on the right. Our topic is about China. China is not only a combination of ancient and modern culture, but also a country with people all over the world gathering together. We also put a lovely cat on the left photo. Finally, we put two clocks in the middle to symbolize the change of time. One of the clock is reflected vertically. The two clocks means going back and forth in time. After the whole process, we know that it’s really hard to make a perfect piece of art because it will be a hard process even just to make some slight changes. But we certainly enjoyed every minute of it!


Our group members: Jiang Yuze (Olivia), Liao Wenxin (Winsley), Lv Tianshu (Tom)

On the Trials and Tribulations of a Photoshop Newbie

So, today was the day that I was forced to put myself to the test.  To strain my intellect and my emotions in ways that I had never even considered before.  To go the ultimate distance.  To slightly modify an image using Adobe Photoshop.

It was a bumpy ride, to put it in layman’s terms.  My fingers danced with great trepidation over the silky surface of my laptop’s touchpad, wantonly erasing fields of red in Quick Mask Mode, to uncover the truth.  All of the magnetic lassoes in the world could not have helped me in my hour of need, as I desperately attempted to convince the computer that yes, I KNOW that yellow contrasts against grey but will you PLEASE just pick it up.  Pick. It.  UP.  Then there came the question of how to transport a photo from one tab to another.  A fate worse than death, I say!  (It was Ctrl C and Ctrl V, I know.  I know.)  Eventually, after much deliberation and careful planning I was able to deduce the one true way of resizing and rotating an image:  Edit, then Transform.  It was a brilliant discovery, I assure you.  I refined many an edge, truth be told.  But would it have been moral of me to allow these photos to continue in a world without the constraints of society to forewarn– ah, I apologize.  Wrong class.

In essence, today I learned just how difficult it can be to even make the slightest change to an image, if one wants to make it look “professional.”  But hey, I’m proud of my little UFOs.  Even if mutant housecats are the only creatures that they’ll ever abduct.Chernobyl HJ edit

What is ownership and who should have the ownership?

Joy Garnett, as a painter and the arts editor, once used Susan Meiselas’s photography as a material to make a wonderful masterpiece, which is put into different kind of uses later.

The key point of this case is the ”ownership”. What ownership is? And who should have the ownership of the Molotov man?

In my opinion, if we say that someone has the ownership of something, then he must have put something in it and have proofs to prove his ownership. For example, if one paid money to buy a house, then we say he has the ownership of the house because he has worked hard to save money and has a house proprietary certificate. Based on my personal comprehension, I think that both Joy and Susan have ownership, but the targets that they own are different. Susan has the ownership of the photo and Joy has the ownership of the painting. I say that Joy should have a ownership is because in this case, Joy did something that is more a recreation than a reproduction because she chose a part of Susan’s picture and make it be artistic in a different way.

Joy is not just taking Susan’s photo away and pretend that she took the picture. The painting she drew is just based on the material of Susan’s photo and I think her work becomes a new thing that has its own value.

If there’s someone just taking others works and put it into various uses just as those people who are mentioned in the context did, then I have to say that they cannot have any kind of ownership of no matter the photo or the painting.




Copying, modification and spread

Several details in this article are very dramatic and thought-provoking. First, the picture which grabbed Joy’s attention is different from the photograph of Susan. Second, when Joy decided to delete the image only to find it has been changed creatively and spread more widely.
I couldn’t agree more with Susan, because if others can’t be in my situation and from my view to taste the emotion which I expressed in my work and misunderstand it with their imagination casually, I will be very angry. Nevertheless, I can understand them. After all, it is impossible to demand everyone has absolute unified view and opinion with you. For the same piece of work, everyone will have their own understanding. However, Susan’s displeasure is reasonable, for her work is based on the battlefield with the complex and intense political fight. Individual historic work for entertainment and business, for anyone, is an outrageous thing.
However, Joy himself is an artist with the professional habits of being skilled in discovering, modifying and creating. This image gave him the inspiration or the thing he wanted to express but didn’t know how to express, so he added the deceptive art or the emotional context. Other artists or advertising producers also have the similar ideas of using some distinctive features of the picture, such as the exaggerated expressions and actions, to show the contents of publicity which they want to deliver better. Obviously, those pictures for business and entertainment have been very different from the photograph which Susan took in the battlefield.
In fact, I respect Susan, but it doesn’t mean I am against Joy and others. After all, they didn’t copy, but had their own understanding no matter from the art form or the inner expression. The original photograph is their material, or the framework they expressed their specific things. It is precisely because of this kind of change, various kinds of “Molotov Man” began to spread and get popular. Furthermore, this kind of popularity makes more and more people pay attention to its origin and the photograph of Susan and the original meaning and spirit beyond the photo.
Plagiarism is meaningless because it is at most the reproduction without context. In return, although modification makes the work break away from the original meaning, it may have more new connotation and be widely spread according to the participation of numerous people. In this kind of spread, people have deepened the understanding of the original works.

responce to “on the rights of Molotov man”

The article “On the rights of Molotov man” describes a contradiction between the original author and the person who reforms the work and make an innovation.


Susan and Joy have completely different opinions toward their art products. What is in Susan’s mind is that she wants to record the facts and shows respect to the people she photograph. While, Joy uses more abstract pictures and make the hero of the picture out of the context, which means change the picture to her own mind. The different opinions of art make a contradiction between Joy and Susan. Joy changes Susan’s picture and make Susan think she infringed her copyright so that she want to sue her.


But I think that, once your composition is showed to the public, then you cannot protect it from people’s judgements, nor people’s transformation and changes towards it. I believe the people who provide the public with a record of events of social and historical value shouldn’t control the documents all the time. Besides what Joy did was not use Susan’s work straightly to make money, she did not steal Susan’s product. Instead of that, she innovate a new work.



On the Rights of the Molotov Man: Copyright Infringement or Freedom of Expression?

The article “On the Rights of the Molotov Man” was a thought-provoking piece that raised a question at once straightforward and at once quite nuanced: should a documentary photograph boast the same level of copyright protection as does a painting, essay, or other work of art? This one ethical dilemma gave rise to several related inquiries, such as: does the author of a documentary photograph have the right to control; the content of his or her document for all time? What role should the idea of public domain play in the case, if any? Would the situation change based on whether or not the image generated cashflow? And perhaps most importantly: what say does the Molotov Man himself have in this argument?

The article itself presented two arguments regarding the case of the Molotov Man. The first was written by a woman named Joy Garnett, painter and arts editor of the journal Cultural Politics. It was Garnett whose actions led to the copyrighting controversy: using a photo of the oft-mentioned Molotov Man that she found on the internet as inspiration, Joy painted the likeness of what she saw as a rebel of an unknown riot. It was not until after an exhibition in New York that she was contacted and charged with theft of intellectual property.

The woman doing the charging went by the name Susan Meiselas, and she claimed that Joy Garnett had infringed upon her rights as an artist by using the photograph of a Nicaraguan rebel without receiving permission prior. Meiselas’s argument revolves around the idea that the actions of subject of the photograph, one Pablo Arauz, were being diminished and used out of context by Garnett. Meiselas expressed her displeasure at the idea that Arauz would be associated with a nameless riot, and would not want to undercut the importance of his act of defiance by allowing Garnett’s image to continue being circulated.

Garnett, conversely, argued that because the photo in question was being used for documentary purposes and therefore principally belonged to the people, it should be considered public domain and her own image should not be condemned. She also went on to say that she agreed wholeheartedly with a blogger’s post, which posed the question: who owns the rights to this man’s struggle?

In the end, I am of the belief that the subject of this case should not have been left out of the conversation as he was. The Molotov Man exists, after all, and perhaps would object to his image being used in the ways that it was.  If the Molotov Man (Arrauz) was aware that his image was going to be used as it was and agreed to grant Meiselas total control over the image, then I would agree with the copyright infringement argument.

The First Photoshop Homework – Superman and Supercat!






Superman Final


It’s SUPER FUN to work on photoshop and get our Superman and Supercat done!!!

Followings are our steps on photoshop: the cat and copy the cat to the superman picture.

2.Add shadow and highlight.

3.Cut the top part of the original picture.

4.Remove the words at the bottom of the picture.

5.Add the words at the bottom.

6.Giving the words some artistic effects.

Then comes our final piece!!! I think it’s super cool, what about you?


Group members: Ma Yingmeng (Anthia), Li Yue (Lee), Yin Shengjia (Joy)

ALWAYS protecting your work

It’s not surprising that such a thing has happened in our real life.

I’ve seen so many examples that people are unaware of the ownership of the photos they put on their website, or wei-bo, or Facebook, until someone grabbed the photo to do something harmful or for commercial use. As a supporter for the compensation for the use of online resources, how I look at the moments in we-chat or photo wall in renren is that they are not only lack of responsibility on keeping people’s privacy, but also harmful to the protection of intellectual property rights.

In my opinion, nobody should download a photo online without permission. However, it’s really a big task to apply this idea to the administration of today’s social network sites or software. So what we should do is find the private setting before you upload a photo and add watermark to every piece of your work. Then, ask all the people do the same thing with you. These are only small changes, and not so effective, but still better than none.

A Discussion on the Copyright in the Digital Era

One reason for the conflict between Joy and Susan may be their standing in different positions. Joy is a journalist whose job is to reflect the truth behind the photograph, while Susan is an artist, to whom the painting based on the photograph is a way of artistic recreation. Hence, to Joy, what Walter Benjamin called ‘aura’ is ruined.

What the article gets me thinking is the copyright of the sources in the digital era. It seems that Joy found the modified picture on the internet and used it as the source of her painting without Susan’s permission. Well, It is still true that we need certain morality and laws to protect the intellectual property, yet we have to admit that things have changed to some extent. The internet is filled with open resources nowadays, and these resources are making most people better off. For example, such lectures as public classes, ted talk are benefiting thousands of people, thus advocating academic freedom; opening source code makes science and technology grow in rapid speed, relying on the wisdom of the society, instead of the individual. As for the Molotov man, the artists doing recreation didn’t mean to distort the facts behind the photograph, but they did bring us more inspiration and appreciation of art.

Furthermore, the speech of David Li has given me more space to think. I appreciate his great support towards non-profit, open-sourced organization. I have to point out that open source is an inevitable trend with the rise of the internet, which enabled a self-enhancing diversity of production models, communication paths, and interactive communities. Only when people’s wisdom is gathered together, will we gain the best idea.

It is the best of the times; it is the worst of the times. Facing the unprecedented opportunities, we must strengthen our self-discipline and thus make the right choice.

Genuine with art, genuine with history

Response to “On the rights of Molotov Man”:

be genuine to history, be genuine to art


Joy Garnett and Susan Meiselas state in “On the rights of Molotov Man” that “There is no doubt in this digital age that images are increasingly dislocated and far more easily decontextualized. ” Undoubtedly, with the rapid development of science and technology, our means of choosing art and creating art is becoming more and more variable. Various art forms and various art pieces however, are more likely to lead to plagiarism because of similar contexts or even same art pieces. Thus, what I think of most important as creating a piece of art is to be genuine. Be genuine to the creator of the original art; be genuine to one’s own thoughts and conscience; be genuine to history; be genuine to the objects; be genuine to truth! All artists shoulder the responsibility of expressing sincereness.



Art or History?

The copyright of the Molotov Man caused huge problems over the world. In my view, neither Joy nor Susan was wrong. They were just in different positions.

As for Joy, She’s an artist. What she emphasizes is just the artistic appeal of an art piece. She considered the photo of the Molotov Man not as something she copied from but something gave her inspiration. What she did to the Molotov Man is not like what was described in Walter Benjamin’s article as “mechanical reproduction”. What she did was recreation to the photo. She added something new and of her own to this art piece. She even didn’t attempt to find the story behind the photo because she had already taken her painting as a whole new work. Therefore, it is natural for her not to consider the copyright problem of the Molotov Man.

As for Susan, she’s a journalist and a professional photographer. She lays huge emphasis on the history background of the photograph because it is her responsibility to deliver the true stories behind photos to the readers. So there’s no wonder that Susan would be so angry about the more and more absurd reproduction of the Molotov Man because it has already changed the original historical meaning of the photo.

This is a war on copyrights. This is also a war between art and history. The issue on to what degree can art works record the history completely and correctly is an eternal debate. Also, when it is easier and easier for any person to view and download pictures and articles from the web, the problem on copyrights will be fiercer and fiercer in the contemporary world.

Who owns photos?

“The Molotov Man” caused  the debate between Susan and Joy which drew people`s attention.Should Susan own the copyright of the photo?Or the “Molotov Man”?Or should this photo belongs to everyone and do whatever they want?

    We live in the digital age and the modern world where social network or Internet connected us.After a photo has been posted on the Internet,people can share it ,download it or copy it.I do that all the time.Sometimes I downloaded pictures from her renren to make her birthday presents,sometimes I commented on the photos and showed them to another friend.We,do that for recreation,yet, when it comes to press or pretigious people,it turns out to be an issue.People who watched this are no longer what we knowed well,so there are great chances that it may cause misunderstanding.As a result , asking permissions from the photographers a re more necessary in those cases

     “Does the author of a documentary photographa document whose mission is, in part, to provide the public with a record of events of social and historical value have the right to control the content of this document for all time? Should artists be allowed to decide who can comment on their work and how? Can copyright law, as it stands, function in any way except as a gag order? ”Those questions Joy raised at the end of passage still remained unsolved till now.Though more people chose to stand by Joy`s side,I would say different  issues have different ways to solve.When it comes to a popular platform ,people should pay attention to what they are posting and ask photographers` permission in the first place.

Something About the Copyright

Copyright is still a global problem. Like in America, people may be put into jail by downloading music, which has copyright, but not purchasing. However, in China, there is still a large amount people consider that it is ridiculous to pay for some resource.

In this case, Joy Garneit and Susan were both victims, Joy downloaded the picture from a website, not knowing the one who posted the photo was not the owner of it. Susan’s photo was used without her provision, and made her feel uncomfortable.

Though professor  Marianne said that it was interesting that most America students support Susan, however, most Chinese students went to Joy,I still approve of Susan’s reaction.

In the first place, it was Susan’s photo, so she had the copyright of the photo, and she could do whatever she like to the picture.  In the second place, it was a portrait, so Susan should be responsible for the person she photoed. And what Joy did twisted the photo’s true meaning, letting the world ignore Pablo Arauz ‘s act of defiance, but focusing on the emotion in the picture and the copyright issue. Last but not least, Susan never did sue Joy in the end, nor did she collect any licensing fees. She was so kind.

All in all, I think if this is just a landscape photo, I will support Joy. While this is portraiture, which involved the privacy of many people, so it must be treated seriously and defend the copyright. And above all, all who spread or use others’ photo, music or video should at least esteem original author and the story behind the works.


Contextualizing and Decontextualizing

—– “But I still feel strongly, as I watch Pablo Arauz’s context being stripped away—as I watch him being converted into the emblem of an abstract riot—that it would be a betrayal of him if I did not at least protest the diminishment of his act of defiance.”

Even if I don’t quite agree with her charge against Joy of having infringed her copyright, what Susan said at the very end of this article assures me that she is a great photographer who shows great sense of responsibility, and that the case of Molotov indicates something more that copyright. I tend to call it the context of art.

What Susan, a professional photographer, tried to do was to record the history. She caught the image of the man throwing his bomb at a Somoza national guard garrison, one of the last such garrisons remaining in Somaza’s hands. It was a great work. That motionless photo seemed to convey everything, anger, ambition, fear, anguish…It made that instant forever. Like she said: “I do what I can to respect the individuality of people I photograph, all of whom exist in specific times and places.” Indeed, she did a perfect job contextualizing art.

What Joy did, however, is a whole different thing. I regard her as a true artist who was able to detach herself away from the photo itself and to create work of art with the guide of her own heart. In her work, I see not only the emotion of Molotov man but also her own emotion. The way she delivered it was so delicate that I totally got struck, so were many others, I guess.

Such being the case, the conflict between two artists shouldn’t have existed. Art is not controllable, but unearned. The diversity in the form of art should be promoted, but not confined. As long as the original photo is treated properly (By properly I mean legally, respectfully, not at the purpose of making money or purely out of self-interest), Susan definitely has good reason to allow the recreation of art. She probably should be aware that making Molotov Man a symbol is a good thing, good enough to spread a kind of positive spirit and that she herself, is one of the heroes that creates this phenomenon.

Copyright matters, but there is always something beyond it.

How should photographers own copyright?

In the article “On The Rights of Molotov Man”, Joy Garnett was informed that he had infringed upon Susan Meiselas’s copyright. Since then, this event turned into a huge debate and the coming situation is, Joy’s copyright of this gorgeous painting being infringed upon again and again, under the title of “copyright” agitprop. Then here comes the question, how should photographers own copyright?

Photographers are given with two identities: both reporters and artists. As a reporter, they photograph scenes people seldom pay attention to, showing people the truth they may be blind to. In order to do this, their photographs are expected to spread out as widely as possible. Also, as a artist, they treasure their works and aren’t willing to be infringed upon copyright, which is a human nature.

So citizens should be encouraged to do the following. To begin with, in a gesture to get people the truth they deserve, photographs can be used for nonprofit activities with author’s name on. In addition, if they are needed for profit business activities, users should pay a onetime licensing fee for the future use. And citizens should remark that none of the photograph with author’s name attached on, which is always related to copyright, can be used for an exit for anger or politics.

The Issues of Copyright and the Context of Art

In the Molotov Man case, in my opinion, neither Joy Garnett nor Susan Meiselas did something wrong. Joy just got a picture from the Internet and changed something in it to make it another piece of art. I think he did nothing wrong with downloading because the photo was published on the Internet and everyone could see it and download it freely. For Susan, what she complaint about was also quite true. The result just came out that the context of her photography has changed a lot. The image was originally made to remember an important moment in the history of Nicaragua, but it ended up being a symbol of riots, which made Susan very angry.

I think that two issues are included in this case, one is copyright and the other is context of art. Firstly, in the current society where people can get access to pictures easily on the Internet, people pay less attention to copyright. In real life, when people use photographs directly in the computers, the issue of copyright can probably be solved by adding watermarks to the photographs. But if someone wants to use the figure by drawing it like Joy, the issue is much more complicated. Now a question comes out, “Who owns the photograph when it is taken and posted on the Internet?” I don’t know what the answer to this question is. In my opinion, the issue of copyright remains a difficult problem for everyone to solve in current society. But I also think it’s an urgent problem and the authorities should work out a law of copyright as soon as possible.

When it comes to the context of art, I think decontextualizing do happen when the photo is appropriated. However I don’t think that it is a very serious problem. Because the original photo which contains both the figure and the background is the one that reflects the context of this piece of art. When the background is changed and some changes have been made on the photo, it becomes another piece of art. What the new author is trying to explain is his new context of art. It may look like the original one but the difference is also significant. So in my opinion, the original artists don’t need to be that angry with this issue.

Is It Imperative to Label for The Sake of Copyright ?

On our contemporary society, it’s hard to define under which circumstances and degrees that makes up a violation of one’s rights. Most of time it is ambiguous with no start and end to investigate, since in the age of mechanical reproduction duplication is no more difficult and complicated, even the public can replicate whatever they want and appreciate.

As for me, I think it is not such a bad thing for present duplication cases as long as they utilize the images with respect and kindness. One of the reasons I think there is no need to label the artist’s name every time is that it is impossible to clarify every pieces of works diffused online during this high-speed spread era. The second reason is for the sake of the positive impacts it brings, that is, owing to its indifference of copyright, thousands of images, both original and embellished, can be known to the public efficiently and probably can arouse awareness of nationalism, democracy and human rights, etc. just like the image of Molotov Man. The third reason is to avoid oblivion occurring to some great events and influential work of art. As the Molotov Man illustrated, it became an emblem of the revolution of Nicaragua, encouraging numbers of people dare to show their resentments and fight for their own rights. Only carry on recreating and reproducing these images can keep the historical event in people’s mind. Though there are some cases where these images are dislocated and far more easily decontextualized, as long as they are put into good use they can keep distance with being condemned and sued because it is unimagined that people will be charged for every images they repost or utilize.

Uniqueness and Popularity

“Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be. ” Uniqueness, what makes an old, dusty and even fragmented masterpiece invaluable, is invariably and inevitably contrary to being popular, due to its restriction in “time and space.”

  In times where there’s no mechanical reproduction, art is a form of entertainment only for a small group of people, royalties and the rich alike, which limits its development in quantities or qualities.

  With the presence of reproduction such as printing and recording, art spreads. More civilians can appreciate it and even start to create new forms of art, so it grows, like evolution.

  Though reproduction may not be exactly the same as the authentic piece, it stills conveys, to our surprise, exactly the same what the creator is trying to express, the “aura”. And thanks to reproduction’s being not exactly the same, the value and uniqueness of the authentic remains.

  In other words, it’s mechanical reproduction that combines uniqueness and popularity, two seemingly opposite attributions, together into one, art.

Some thoughts about the mechanical reproduction of arts

What impressed deeply on me is not the amazing change and development in the field of art, but the word of ‘mechanical reproduction’. Obviously, differing from the simple copy, mechanical production means the wholesale duplication without thought and presence in time and space. Nevertheless, it can make the number increase dramatically.

The most prominent feature of art is uniqueness. The difference of time, place, background and the author interweaves together to make art specific and unique. I couldn’t agree more with ‘The Greeks knew only two procedures of technically reproducing works of art: founding and stamping.’There is no denying that mechanical reproduction has irreplaceable positive effect for the progress of human beings in the capitalist society. It puts products into the market and enables prominent art
Influence everyday life.

After all, the definite distance exists between arts and viewers. Exactly, this distance renders art possess the worship, the appreciation and reverence which people aspire to look forward to. Meanwhile, worship adds the value of arts in return. However, the large quantities of products from machines are merely commodities. People notice them and may have a sense of appreciation or belittle, but they don’t have the interaction with the arts and the state of mind for the arts. As the difference between movie actors and stage actors, stage actors perform for the audience in person with a kind of interaction while film actors are confronted with machines. The same play can be shown with different effect. Conversely,film stars are unable to adjust themselves according to the reaction of the audience.SO, it is not as vivid as plays.

In short, the mechanical reproduction has neglected the original value of art. When substantive replicas were duplicated, the uniqueness and the holy of arts and the awe which people hold of arts would be wiped out.

The power of Mechanical Reproduction

The power of Mechanical Reproduction

     “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”  was written in a special period. Fascism “expects war to supply the artistic gratification of a sense perception that has been changed by technology. “By against the opinion of making politics “aesthetic”,Walter Benjamin encouraged people use art as a weapon to fight back.

    With the development of art and people`s impression about fine art,the function of art has greatly changed.Man emphasised more on how to represent than the subject`s existence which leads to the rapid development of film ,photo and ect.I fully agreed that people tends to record what was happening.Plus, films and movies played an significant role for people to express their feelings which stress on another function of film other than recreation.An 120 minutes film is the essence of director`s ideas which can shock or influence audience greatly.As we can see, films in the history have already caused a revolution.

  To sum up,as  far as I`m concerned, this passage kind of confirmed my determination to take the course concerning interactive media.The films and photos can also serve as a powerful weapons that recreates the human history.


The aura that never withers

In modern society, lots of people tend to enjoy a film while only a small group of people will chose a stage show. This happens not only because of the relatively less cost for a film but also because the exquisite scene and the whole perspective can hardly be presented by a stage show. Walter Benjamin believes that film, unlike the stage show, makes “the aura that envelops the actor vanishes, and with it the aura of the figure he portrays.” This point of view, however, doesn’t work well for me because what I saw and experienced is different.

Film, as the most amazing product of mechanical reproduction, can show the audience more about one character through the camera intervention like lowering and lifting, interruptions and isolations. The full-angle presentation of all the characters helps the people in front of a camera get to know the soul of a film, which, I think, actually create the aura of both the actor and the figure he portrays. Anyway, the whole point of any form of art, if film could be one, is to convey information to every single normal audience who is willing to enjoy it. It’s always being a little hard for me to find an actor surrounded by the aura especially in a complicated stage show, but a film which can be viewed repeatedly solve the problem for me perfectly.

As for the presence of the work of art which the author regards indispensible, I totally agree with the quotation in the passage that “the film has not yet realized its true meaning, its real possibilities… these consist in its unique faculty to express by natural means and with incomparable persuasiveness all that is fairylike, marvelous, supernatural.” Film presents art in a unique way and this is exactly its own presence.

An interesting fact is that lots of people admire those who go to a stage show even though they themselves never go to one in their entire life.

My Opinions About The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

In The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, it describes the history of mechanical reproduction. From the production of Bronzes, terra cottas, and coins to print to photography, and then to the sound film.The mechanical reproduction never stopped, and developed very quickly.I am really amazed at the writer’s deep thoughts.

In my opinion, on the one hand,a work of art connects with the age,the culture, the faith and so on.when we are enjoying it, we need devote ourselves into that period, that background and that atmosphere. So we should respect the genuine. If we just reproduce it as much as we like, that will lose the soul of the art.

But on the other hand, something may be different. For example, one photo. We should take much more attention on the information from this photo, and there is no sense considering whether it is the first one or the reproduction.

Time goes by, but the argument about the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction will never stop.









Something lost, something gained: Response to “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”

In this piece of writing, author Walter Benjamin examines the consequences of living in a world in which all forms of art have been ‘revolutionized’ by new media– and how that revolution has impacted the way we as modern citizens experience visual culture.

Throughout the article, it is clear that Benjamin has a clear distaste for many aspects of the modernization of art and media.  The two most prominent examples he gives of ‘the downfall of  traditional art forms’ are those of paintings versus photography and those of live theatrical performances versus film.  Benjamin’s primary complaint was that the two newer forms of media lacked the capacity to convey all of the sentimental or emotionally-charged details that can come through via original paintings and live plays.  Authenticity is a detail that cannot be replaced with anything else, he said.  In the realms of filmmaking, Benjamin noted that by making the transition to the silver screen often limited the actors ability to truly showcase their abilities, as much of what they do ends up being cut.

On the other hand, Benjamin notes that such technological advances have been consistently happening throughout human cultural history as it stands anyway (woodcarving, lithography), so perhaps modernization is not as damning as it can seem.

On a personal level, my opinions can find favor in both groups.  I enjoy viewing the originals of great works of art, and part of the reason that I find it so enjoyable is that one’s connection with the artist is so much more well-developed there than it would be with a $30 replica bought at a museum gift shop.  The same holds true for live plays and live music– the energy of the event, the atmosphere, the improvisation– none of these things escape unscathed when transcribed onto discs or DVDs.

Conversely, the one thing that this long cycle of mechanical reproduction has done for the benefit of society is that it has made culture much more available to every type of individual with enough of an interest.  Before the printing press, illiteracy was the norm.  Before public theaters, none of the ‘common folk’ got to experience a well-done performance.  Prized paintings never saw the outside of their palace walls, and thus everyone on the outside could nought but wonder what they were like.  For all of its flaws, one cannot deny that without mechanical reproduction our society would likely still be feudal in nature: with cultural education being an exclusive privilege of the upper-class.

The final and most important point that was made in this article was the idea that mechanical reproduction allowed various parties to politicize art.  This is something that I agree with wholeheartedly.  Art certainly had been used to make political statements before the advent of Xerox Mona Lisas (think of all of the hidden jabs at priests made by Michelangelo on the frescos of the Sistine Chapel), but never before had it been possible to distribute incendiary political statements via art before the age of reproduction.  The example that springs most readily to mind is that of Picasso’s Guernica, a piece done in response to a German attack on (and subsequent annihilation of) a Spanish city to the north of the country.  Before the modern age, the most famous such a painting could have aspired to become would have been local fame at best.  Now, it is an extraordinarily well-known piece that has come to symbolize the horrors of war waged on civilians.  All because of the fact that someone came up with an idea that handwriting things was overrated.

My reviews about the mechanical reproduction

Art is something that is very unique.It is said in the context that”Even the most perfect reproduction of a work art is lacking in one element:its presence in time and space,its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.”

People can repoduct the art as a sort of inheritting I guess.But traditional reproductions and mechanical reproductions  can not be the same.Then here comes a word”Aura”in Benjamin’s description.

Based on his definition,”aura” is like a soul of a art work.Traditional reproductions as ancient Greece’s founding and stamping do not really change things from the original one although they can not be absolute the same,so in this case,the “aura” of the work doesn’t be ruined.But “aura” can be withered in the age of mechanical reproduction.

In my view,in some occasions,mechanical reproduction adds new branches to the original art work,in which there may be something that is against the work’s ambition.In this way,the aura is ruinned.But I also believe that the mechanical reproduction have its own advantages.

Let set Movies as an example.Movies are regarded as a represetative of the modern mechanical reproduction.Because of some political reasons or the desire to make movies more attractive,movies may not show us the original arts and even show us something that is totally nonsense.But what I am thinking about is that mechanical reproduction helps to spread art in some way.Beacuse things like movies are more attractive and encourage people to watch more as the instance in the article about Chaplin’s movies.It makes art more easier for ordinary people to admire,not just something for a small group of people.And I also think,movies are not just a reproduction of past art,they can also be a new advanced art.

With high technology developing rapidly,it seems the appearance of mechanical reproduction is  inevitable.How we use these technology to make most values without destroying beauty of nature and metal treasures become a serious question for us to seriously consider about.

Response to The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Considering the the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction, I want to first discuss the cause of mechanical reproduction. The cause is that people want to bring things they really like closer to them. The desire is increasing consistently and then when the technology make their dream come true, the mechanical reproduction just begins. Mechanical reproduction, as a whole, has both advantages and disadvantages. The reproduction can be more independent of the original, which means that it can bring out something that we are unable to see when looking at the original. Then it can also let the original enter some situation that is out of reach. However, it also has disadvantages. Firstly, every piece of art has its unique presence in time and space. But for all the reproduction, the quality of its presence is depreciated. Secondly, something called “aura” is no longer in the work of art when it’s reproduced. Reproduction just destroys its unique existence which has an unique impact on the viewers.

Then the writer focuses on the movie particularly. For the movie where audience is replaced by cameras and the actors just perform in small parts separately instead of acting the story as a whole. It’s quite hard for them to really be in the story. Furthermore, the aura of the actors and the figure they portray which I think is the most precious vanishes. Like other mechanical reproduction, movie is also two sided. For its advantages, first of all, it brings together the identity of the artistic and scientific uses of photography. Then with the technologies used in making a movie, the makers can provide the audience with something new and exciting that will never be seen in daily life. Also, nowadays people kind of like to appreciate art with a large group of people because when they watch a piece of art by themselves, they actually are not appreciate it and they just think of all kinds of criticism. So movie just meet their demands and the quickly changing scenes of a movie prevents them from thinking about criticism. Finally, people can’t watch pieces of art very seriously all the time. Movies just offer them an opportunity to be absent-minded examiner of art.

In conclusion, mechanical reproduction has two-sided effects on the works of art. It can make works easier for viewers to approach and appreciate. But it also destroys something valuable which includes the presence and aura of the original work. So in my opinion, for us who have already been in the age of mechanical reproduction, we should enjoy the convenience of taking reproduction of things back home as well as go to the museums or exhibitions frequently to experience the glamour of the original.

Response to The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Walter Bejamin indicated that the aura of art was destroyed by the desire of the contemporary masses to bring things “closer” spatially, humanly. Reproducible art is the outcome of the mixture of psychology and the market.

Because of an innate quality inside human beings, they cannot avoid being attracted to inaccesible things, the “forbidden fruit” . In the ancient times, the works of art most valued were those associated as mysterious, such as those kept hidden in temples, etc., as they triggered esteem and curiosity among the common men. Strong desires to minimize distance between the valued arts and the public resulted in imitations of the works to get reproductions, gradually turning the cult value into the exhibitional value. This was also done in an attempt to feel true emotions from the arts. However, pursuing people’s desires is an effective way of pushing society forward. To satisfy people’s desires, mass productino has to be an inevitable tendency of the market. The reproduction of the arts made them lose most of their aura, but a few retained theirs, which in the long run became the source of the aura of arts in the following centuries.

The Collapse of Aura–Response to ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’

The author attributes the collapse of art in the age of mechanical reproduction to the collapse of aura. Aura, as defined as the most important part of a piece of art work, was finally destroyed by mechanical reproduction. According to Benjamin’s words, ‘Aura’ has three deeper meanings – – Echtheit, cult value and a sense of distance in appreciation of beauty. When the development of science and technology broke the three things, the existence of traditional art was wiped off as well.

However, what interested me most was not Benjamin’s discussion about the collapse of old art, but his deeper thoughts on how mechanical reproduction affected the development of art. Instead of just criticizing mechanical reproduction as other writers usually do, he can see the positive side of the volume production and portable art. As one of the beneficiaries of the new type of art, I really appreciate his dialectical thinking. When most of the critics were still regarding film as a way to show supernatural things in order to spread the cult of beauty, his accurate prediction of film’s influence on the development of art was absolutely advanced to the whole time.

Benjamin’s idea reminds me of many phenomena about modern art. After the technology revolution in the mechanical age, art, to some extent, has begun to chance into a more and more loose and easy-to-accept form. For instance, film turns into microfilm, structure are more and more simple and shallow. You can say that it’s the way that the art tries to meet the demand of people who are under a quick pace of life. However, you can also regard it as a kind of going backwards, for the deep meaning, the spiritual symbolism and the ‘Aura’ of a piece of art work no longer exist.

Response to The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Before penetrating into the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction or, say, going deep into its fundamental causes and potential impact, I’d first like to give a definition of art. Art as a social ideology constantly acclimatizes to society for development. Great works of art are the common wealth of human beings. Such being the case, the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction serves as a major medium to make art accessible to the masses and thus should be reevaluated.

I consider mechanical reproduction an inevitable trend. When a society shifts from feudal to highly industrialized and technology experiences a booming era, we cannot expect the forms of art to stay still. Photography, a frequently mentioned example in the article, best explains this transition of art. It is commonly viewed as the rising star in the field of mechanical reproduction. This mechanically reproduced art is gradually obtaining popularity and approval doesn’t diminish the importance of traditional works of art. People, as always, worship the authenticity of them and are able to appreciate their sanctity. It can be optimistically predicted that both the two forms of art are stepping forward without interfering each other.

Benjamin pointed out that “even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.” While I agree that uniqueness is what makes a work of art stand out, I’ve never denied that work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction can be, and should be the recreation of art, the re cognition after analysis. When we take a photo we highlight the part that most attracts us; when we act we integrate emotions and make acting more like an expression of everyday life rather than an actual performance. The loss of aura is admitted, but the progress it makes should not be neglected.

The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction pries the traditional art from its shell and has the impact on art itself. The tremendous revolution it makes, though long argued, may finally lead to the advance of mankind.


On How Wars Promoting Social Development

Walter Benjamin said, “If the natural utilization of productive forces is impeded by the property system, the increase in technical devices, in speed, and in the sources of energy will press for an unnatural utilization, and this is found in war.” Saying that wars do help promoting social development doesn’t mean I am for Fascism, but to confirm the positive effect wars may exert on the world.

War is an unchangeable force of society, because people starting war shows the fact that the property system no longer a match with the social tide. As the same in the animal world, stronger countries defeat the weaker countries, so that each country is reduced to keep pacing forward. Since World War Two, high technology, IT based in particular, has played a more and more important role in wars. So in this case, how can stagnant countries survive?

Wars can bring us much more than just pain. For instance, when Napoleon crushed into countries in Europe, he also brought democracy in. Also, in 1961, GPS was first used in American Airlines for military needs. Thirty years later, GPS started to become a necessity of daily life. What’s more, during wars, people tend to focus more on themselves. Now all these have been filmed and edited into movies, which gives people a more clear understanding about their campaign.

But art is at the top of technique. Only after wars promoting social production, can people come devoting themselves into art.