Response to Embrace the Remix

“Everything is a remix, and I think it’s a better way to conceive creativity”. With this bold assertion, Kirby Ferguson elaborates that copying is an essential step before we can actually create something innovative, either in arts, technology or social science. The procedure of “copy – transform – combine” is the very process all people must experience in order to create their own voice. Creative laps don’t come from nowhere; instead, big innovations (Ford Model T, World-Wide-Web, Mactonish, etc.) are all natural, inevitable results after the small components are invented. The proper transformation and combination, or remix can also be titled creation.

Hollywood movie can be a typical example of this kind of remix. As Ferguson claimed, “transforming the old into the new is Hollywood’s greatest talent”. Every genre of film has its common practices the origin of which is immemorial. The success of a film largely depends on the way that these common practices are combined rather than the creation of some brand new scenarios. Star Wars is a milestone in sci-fi genre, but even the most classical scenes in it benefits from the preceding movies. In fact, the majority of us are so “creation-averse” that we merely appreciate the products that move only a small step forward. Those truly revolutionary, epoch-marking inventions, however, are usually not recognized as awesome creations by the time. Then, we will find that those so-called creations that belong to our own time are almost all remix, for that the genuine innovations are left for the next epoch to acknowledge and praise. The case of Bruno is a good illustration. Compared to the remedy to the geocentric theory that was considered as excellent creation in his time, the heliocentric theory proposed by Bruno was regarded as nonsense and never seriously treated by the scholars at that time. Hundreds years passed when his theory was finally proved to be truly extraordinary. Rare as genuine innovations are, they indeed exist in some obscure corners of our time. Innovation entails two steps to be accomplished: first is to be created, and the second is to be conceived. We feel that all creations in our age are only remixes exactly because remix is the only form of creation that we can conceive.

 

 

Larissa’s response on TED talk

I watched the TED talk about “everything is a remix” and there were several doubts. The speaker gave some examples of previous famous artists stealing others’ work. But even if artists like Bob Dylan stole others’ rhythms and lyrics, then where do the stole creativities come from? There must be people who really created and we can’t draw the conclusion that everything is stole from others. And the speaker said we couldn’t be too dependent on ourselves and don’t expect too much, does it mean we jut give up and loose our control on stealing? What’s more, is the patent law system still necessary to exist if stealing can not be prevented by it? I think the answer yes. By asking all those questions what I want to express is that there is always a boundary between creation and stealing, and we can’t ignore them because sometimes it is not obvious and say everything is essentially stealing. I think that the boundary subtly lies in our own mind because it is hard to totally claiming some ideas as theirs. Each industry has their developing process and ideas are tightly connected. Also, patent law system has limited effect because people can totally claim a stole patent as theirs then nobody can justify their ownership again. Essentially, we need to do the self-control of stealing, for example not steal too much and do some new creation based on others’ ideas. And try to lower the hurt to others’ benefits. Steve Jobs said that “Great artists steal”, but in fact people still respect people with brilliant creativities. So we need to “steal” in a way that within the moral tolerance in our heart and within industry morals, and always try to create as much as we can.

Xiaoyue’s Response to Embrace the Remix

Remix is everywhere in our lives now. Especially if you look on Youtube, you’ll be amazed by the number of remixes, many of which people actually like better than the original works.

Embrace the Remix reminds me of the discussion we had earlier about the modification of other people’s images. When people take other people’s images and photoshop them and claim the images as their own, there is the problem of infringement on intellectual property. Just as well, when remixing different sounds to create a new hearing experience, there is also the similar problem of infringement on intellectual property.

The original authors may feel offended that their hard-earned work are being manipulated and interpreted in a different way than they intended to. But sound is somehow a even greyer area than images. Because the modification of sound can make it almost irrecognizable.

My stand on this issue is that remix is cool as long as the original authors are given due credits. The remix artist must make it clear what sources of sound he is taking from. In the case of The Grey Album, it is made extremely clear, even from its name, that this album is a remix of the Black Album and the White Album.

Then here comes the problem: if the original author is not okay with the remix artist remixing his/her work with someone else’s, does the original author have the right to terminate the production of the remix?

I am conflicting very much on this issue. However, I am thinking that as long as the remix artist clearly gives credit to the original author and acknowledge their contribution (unless the original author does not want to be recognized), he/her should have the right to use the whatever previous work other artists have done to create a new piece of work. The Grey Album sounds really good and is true genius. We would hate having to miss genius like this. Also, the Grey Album, to some extent, enlarged the influence of the original The Black Album and The White Album. Otherwise, I might not hear about them for my life. I am not suggesting that this is what every author desired for themselves. However, these are accomplishments in the history of arts for human. We should hinder such accomplishment to the minimum degree while protecting individual intellectual property rights.

 

Comic Book Analysis

Sorry About The Resolution

 

Sorry About the Resolution was a comic strip concept founded on the idea of “why not?”  And while I thought it would initially be an interesting concept, I’m afraid that we allowed the concept to cloud the meaining of our work.  Surrealism and anthropomorphic oddity is supposed to juxtapose the deadpan humor and bland conversations that our characters express mindlessly as they cycle through their days.  Rather, the lack of character consistancy between panels, as well as poor use of speech boxes leads to a confusing strip that loses its true intentions, unfortunately.  That being said, I do believe that creating this work with a team and receiving great feedback from the class and professor was a constructive experience that I will use to create better art in the future.  Thanks everyone!

Yea, Everything is a Remix. So what?

The idea that ideas are taken, transformed and built upon is by no means new, so reading (watching) these pieces was a tad boring. At this point we take it for granted that nothing is new, the idea certainly didn’t warrant an hour-long video sequence. I’d even go so far as to say Kirby exaggerated a bit in his discussion. He assumed every film element or song element that resembled another that came before it was the direct result of copying another person’s work. For music this assumption is absolutely ridiculous. People often hear several songs throughout the day going about their daily business. They may know nothing about the song and may never hear it again, but the melody will stay with them. Later, the melody will return to those who create music and they might add it into their pieces. Moreover, each culture has its own range of “acceptable” sound. In western culture, we work in octaves (8 notes, a-f, and the half tones in between). There are also specific rules as to how those notes are supposed to be arranged. Anything outside of that we perceive as noise (the same goes for other cultures that use pentatonic and other tonal arrangements). Because there are only so many ways people can combine 13 notes (8 notes+ the half tones), there will inevitably be repeats. Some combinations are more popular than others, therefore those will be repeated more.

As far as the movies go, once something has become popular and iconic, it automatically gets integrated in to the things that come after it. The scenes he described as being rip-offs of other movies are scenes that became the industry standard. Fighter pilot-like shootout scenes have grown increasingly popular over the decades. Star Wars just happened to be one of the first to incorporate it into itself after the first movie did it. This pattern will continue until somebody comes up with a new “big idea.” It just might take a while for that “big idea” to actually new.

The thing the authors failed to explain, however, is the significance of this remixing. They repeatedly mentioned the fact that nothing is new, but they didn’t explain the implications of the remixing; they didn’t give the audience incentive to create. This, to me, implies that there is nothing wrong with the remixing. As I have mentioned before, the remixing has become an institution that has enriched our culture. If it was detrimental, Kirby and Lethem should have mentioned it.

Xiaoyue, Dongning and Helen’s Sequential Imaging Assignment and Reflection

Growing up Fast

Growing up Fast

 

Xiaoyue:

After deciding the basics of the story with my group members, I started trying to draw out the figures with a tablet. Drawing with a tablet is really very hard and time-consuming because it takes time to get used to it. But it was also very interesting for me, especially because I have long been passionate about drawing and sketching.

My work and Helen’s overlapped a little. I adjusted the images in the panels and wrote the words in the speech bubbles and titles. I also applied the stroke to one of the panels. I cleaned up the images and erased some unneeded edges.

After the class discussion, I took the many pieces of advice we acquired from our fellow students and Professor.

I increased the distance between the vertical panels and decreased the distance between the horizontal pieces to better indicate the sequence in which the readers should read the comics. I adjusted the size of the speech bubbles and made the bubbles in the first panel extend a little out of the first panel towards the second one so as to create a natural instinct for the reader to continue reading the second panel. I changed the font size so that the words are not squeezed together.

I cleaned out some waste layers and clearly separated the different objects. I made sure no two objects are on the same layer.

I added in the standing Daddy Shark who marked the height of his son and colored him.

I made the coral reefs blend in more with the ground in the first panel. I made the coral reefs in the last panel exceed the height of the panel to add to the contrast and make it easier for readers to understand the logic of the story.

I dramatized a little the growth of the size of the Baby Shark and make him swim a little outward from his Daddy as he grow up to symbolize the process of growing up and becoming independent.

I also changed the color of the speech bubbles and made them consistent with one another and not transparent.

The main take-away from this project, apart from all the fun we had, is that it is important to understand that the readers may not comprehend the comics in the same way as the authors do. We need to give more hints to point to the reader where we would like them to go next. But just as “Understanding Comics” the guy said, “But I can only point the way. I can’t take you anywhere you don’t want to go”. We need to take the readers’ many different sets of minds into consideration.

Dongning:

It is pretty interesting for me, a manga fan, to create a comic with others. The assignment reminded me of a series of comics called “Father and Son” created by a German cartoonist. In each of this series, he uses four slices to tell a funny story that happened between a father and a son, talking about something on education. Xiaoyue and Helen agreed with my idea and decided to make a story between a shark father and a shark son. I think this just shows our improvement based on a “remix” of ideas. This is why after watching the video “Everything is a remix”, I feel familiar with the idea the video brings to us.

Besides, I was responsible for looking for backgrounds and adding color to the shark and coral as well. I used to believe that backgrounds should be beautiful pictures. Not until Helen added the sharks and corals to the pictures did I realize that the backgrounds with too much content might cover the main characters of the picture. It is quite easy to add color when I selected the sharks and use the paint bucket. Though at first I tried to fill everywhere in the shark with grey color, I finally stopped doing that as I feel some blue in it didn’t look bad.

 

Helen:

Basically I chose half of the background pictures, blurred them and added adjustment layers of level, hue and photo filter. Then I designed the layout and made every panel into the same size and applied stroke. Then the hardest part came. I put the drawings into panels, a lot of command+T, and added shape ( talk1 and starburst ). I set blending options of the headline and “WHY?!”. I found a pattern as a background and also pattern overlay of “FAST”. After critique I resized the baby shark in the third panel to highlight the contrast and erased something that shouldn’t be appearing.

Thanks to the joint effort, we’ve managed to carry out our conception smoothly. It’s really wonderful to see the real scene combined with 2D paintings without any awkwardness. Every one has done a significant part. I trust my group members more.

Something I learnt from class is that, most importantly, we should make ourselves clear and understood, in other words, not confuse readers. So the connections between each panel and the picture itself really matter. In last class many students commented that they couldn’t understand the story, which should definitely be avoided. Second, bubbles and fonts can directly affect the emotion and reaction of readers. Third, the size of the panel should be arranged accordingly. Last, colors usually have stronger impact.

A response to Embrace the Remix

Kirby Ferguson’s Embrace the Remix series presents a lofty call to arms:  He is declaring a revolution on ourselves, seeking to return to the original intent of copyright and patent law in order to “better the lives of everyone, incentivizing creativity and producing a rich public domain.”

The four part series chronicles the history of remixes in the past century, highlighting everything from musical to technological and cinematic references, reappropriating, and copying.  And while I agree with his general goal, I believe that his creative utopia easier said than done.  For example, I believe the idea of loss aversion which Ferguson mentions several times is only one part of the big picture.  Opposing remixing is not just about losing money, but also a more spiritual and emotional loss.  When works are remixed, one could argue that the remix has meticulously deconstructed the integrity of the original.  For example, in the creative field (and I’m sure this applies to our fields as well) there is a sort of defensiveness and purity to one’s creation.  When an artist creates his or her “masterpiece” the idea of another person having the gall to take, change, and call it their own is scarring.  “How dare they alter my art!”  That being said, Ferguson’s entire point is that, “Everything is a Remix.”  There is no “original masterpiece” because every creation is the accumulation of thoughts, experiences, past works, discussions, popular culture, and other factors that cause whatever is next to inherently reference the past.  It might not be a new concept, but it’s definitely a difficult concept to accept.  I want to take on Ferguson’s challenge and call to open myself to a world of Remix.  His series was entertaining, thoughtful, and full of rich historical examples that furthered his point.

If I were to pick a few of my favorite examples, I would have to choose Quentin Tarantino’s love of movies which manifests itself into his reference-ridden works such as Kill Bill.  In this example, the director shameless and expertly remixes the past to make a wonderful new present.  On the otherhand, one such remix-example that was not received quite as openly was Steve Jobs and Apple.  It was amazing to see the reversal in viewpoint from a young cheeky Steve Jobs who, “shameless steals” other’s ideas, while in 2010 he wanted to obliterate the competition, Android, for stealing.

Undoubedtly, the world surrounding copyright, patents, remixing, memes and referencing are incredible relevant and contemporary topics of discussion.  In the future it is difficult to say how each industry will vear.  For the sake of creativity and cultural growth I can only cross my finger’s that Ferguson’s call may near a closer reality.

 

IAN BECKMAN REAGAN

 

How much can we remix?

It is quite true that “everything is a remix”. As in Isaac Newton’s famous remark, we are standing on the shoulder of a giant. Everything we know now are originally based on the facts found by our ancestors. Therefore, no matter what we “created”, it is an improvement depending on a remix of different ideas and knowledge.

“Remix” does not simply mean to put different ideas together. Something new should be created during such process. When people borrow some ideas from other’s works, it is often called “reference”. Like “Avatar” and “Transformers”, the movies mentioned in the video, they shows a lot of brand new ideas of the directors, telling a new story with unique ways, like using a special language created only for the movie. However, at the same time, some parts of the movies are kind of familiar to people who watch the movies because the movies are using similar plots that have already been used in other works. As the directors are not simply “copying” the plots, such behavior is acceptable. However, someone like Yu Zheng, a director in China famous for his plagiarism, should not be forgiven. He simply takes ideas from many writers’ works, putting them together as well as few ideas from his own, and calls the “copy” work his “art”. If this happens everywhere, how can we get new ideas?

Nevertheless, there should be a constrain on how large the pieces of things that are remixed, that is, from each piece of idea, how much we can take from it. I once heard about a law indicating that if a new work has a specific percentage of similarity to an old work, it is called plagiarism. Thus even if we admit that everything is just a remix of existing things, how much it stands on an old work should be limited.

Embrace the Remix Response

Whilst I agree with Kirby Ferguson’s overall idea that “Everything is a Remix”, there are some specifics that he goes into that I’m not sure about. He talks about films, for example, being concocted with the use of various other mediums as inspiration, and it brings about the question of what art is. Where do we draw the line between original work and “covers” of other people’s work? I feel like this is a huge grey area, which might take more than a paragraph to discuss. On another note, when Ferguson talks about Steve Jobs’ comment about Picasso’s saying, “Good artists copy. Great artists steal” in 1996, then his changed comment in 2010 that he’s “going to destroy Android because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this”, and also talks about Obama – “In 2011 ACTA was signed by President Obama, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, currently being written in secret, aims to spread even stronger US-style protections around the world,” and “Of course, when the United States itself was a developing economy, it refused to sign treaties and had no protection for foreign authors” – I wonder what Ferguson is really trying to relay: What exactly is he trying to convey by pointing out the hypocrisy of others? And then, on yet another note, the time period between both of Steve Jobs’ comments is 14 years. 14 years of changing generations and technology and progress. Times change. And so do people’s opinions; we evolve as a whole. So how credible is it to use these comments side by side?

Helen’s Response to The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism and Embrace the Remix

Strictly saying, nothing is created on our own.

All sci-fi movies are just a combination of certain elements. I was very impressed by dozens of movies scenes the second video demonstrates. Some of them are so similar. But isn’t that a plagiarism? And why are they still Hollywood blockbuster?

All inventions are based on former discovery. Newton stood on the shoulders of giants (which I know is a sarcasm toward Hooke, but, anyway). Lifetime is too short to accomplish something until someone has got some groundwork or fundament. But thinking of intellectual property, is it true that the final scientist possess all? Or somehow he should thank to pioneers of that field?

All literatures are discussing one ultimate topic. Some may even have the same story. In the case of Lolita in the reading, does it really matter that [whether Dabokov adopt Lichberg’s tale consciously? Or whether the earlier tale exists for Nabokov as a hidden, unacknowledged memory? Or whether Nabokov, knowing Lichberg’s tale well perfectly, had set himself to that art of quotation that Thomas Mann, himself a master of it, called “higher cribbing”]?

I would say no. By copying, transformation and combination, we remixed a better new piece. Perhaps we changed our thesis or focus; perhaps we changed our way of depiction; perhaps we changed all but the structure. So much evidence has proved the claim that everything is a remix.

But I would like to talk more about our attitude and the degree, or how far is too far. One couldn’t just adopt something without understanding its original purpose and ideas regardless of that whether he is to further the main idea or to make it seen through a totally different lens. This answers the second set of questions I raised. A Nobel Prize for Chemistry winner can’t neglect others’ help and effort despite that they are not on the list. Anyone who has contributed to his idea and thought should be remembered. That’s the reason why the society and the technology advance.

The degree problem is rather complicated. First, we ought to admit that a similar movie scene is not a serious problem. There’re no more scenes in real life. And they may even be the source materials that every director major student will learn in class. Then, is Bob Dylan’s music allowed? I don’t think it’s a totally new song piece but it’s a totally new and successful remix. He merges his own thought and emotion in it, paying enough respect. People enjoy it. It’s good enough for a song and a folk singer. But it did affect the sales volume of his rivalry. I hold neutral views because someone is loyal to origin version while others prefer innovation. So, where to draw the line? (Jacko has mentioned the question in response to the Molotov Man.) As far as I’m concerned, if the piece exceeds the old one or find another value, it is fine to adopt something. By contrast, if someone, especially small company, just wants to make use of the fame of the original one and borrow some features and create a really annoying and meaningless copy, it is absolutely wrong. There’s a very silly TV series in China called Love Apartment, in which I can see every hilarious plot are copied from popular American TV sitcom.

Another interesting thing I noticed is the loss aversion. It seems natural for human that even Steve Jobs cannot escape from this. He first claims that “good artists copy great artists steal”, but after Android has taken up the market for a little bit, he is angry and he wants to destroy Android because “it’s a stolen product”. Human are selfish and seldom realize their wrong opinions. Therefore we should be willing to give as well as take.

Another even more interesting thing I found is that three materials have covered so many examples in common! Bob Dylan, Steve Jobs, intellectual property, all of which further prove their assumption- admit it that everything, even every passage aiming to persuade readers same idea, is a remix!

Everything is a remix

In modern times intellectual property right is becoming more and more important issue, we saw it in the “On the Rights of Molotov Man” and we saw it in the “Everything is a Remix”. Although in the first one question was just posted, but in the second one we were given with answer, with a straight-forward perspective.

Kirby Ferguson states that every creation is a cory of previous things. I’m kinda agree with his point, and I have already mentioned it in my reflection on Molotov Man. I think every single human is under society’s influence and it is essential part of his life. Our ideas, art, morals cannot exist in the way there are without a special process of “copying” (I would prefer to use another word) it means collecting ancestors’s ideas, exchanging thoughts with other people, learning from parents and building your own moral system, but after all these processes human comes up with his own, unique idea, music or whatever, and this result is not a “copy” (I really don’ like this word). The result is a unique thing which is made with a help of others.

It is about helping each other and not being greedy, like in every helping process, people should appreciate what other person has done for them, and be ready to help in exchange. I found a Steve Jobs example interesting. He was okay with “copying” when he was the one who was doing it, but as soon as it came to “copying” from him, he has realized that it was not right. This is just a selfish attitude that I cannot understand.

Erin’s response

Creation requires influence. We get ideas from pieces created by others working in similar fields previously. Just as Isaac Newton said “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulder of giants.” We learn from predecessors first, and then can we get a good idea about a certain subject, eventually “create” our own work. However, another question comes out: how do we learn?

“Copying is how we learn.” When first starting to play piano, we try to play the notes of famous pieces written by early composers, then we begin to put in more emotions into playing, eventually we gain our own understanding to it, and create our own interpretation of the work. In advance, we may think of writing our own piece of music. However, drawing may come from copying real life rather than artwork of others. When I was small, I did not particularly learn to draw, but I imitated images of flowers in the garden, and houses across the door. Therefore, the word “copying” has a broad meaning. No matter from nature, from other people, we learn how to imitate things through this process.

The contrast of Steve Jobs is very interesting, but often very true. We accept ourselves copying other people, but do not allow other people to copy us. If we admit that the world achieves and works out to begin with copying, we should accept others copying our work to some certain degree.

Everything is remix. Blind Willie McTell has stated that “I jump ’em from other writers but I have arrange ’em my own way.” The basic elements of creativity: copy, transform and combine.

Therefore, we can say, creating is about learning how to appreciate the work of the previous and then copying them to get influence and inspiration, them remixing and creating something “new”.

 

Cindy’s Reflection on the Ecstasy of Influence and Embrace the Remix

As these days people are putting more and more emphasis on intellectual property right, we are more aware of the negative impacts and the severe consequences of plagiarism than any previous times.

However, from the videos and the article, I found out something beneficial about remixing (in other words, copying). According to the video, Kirby Ferguson defines the basic elements of creativity as copying, transforming and combining. His idea of everything is remix implies that every creation requires copying first. I totally agree with the point since there’s no way one can achieve such a high level of knowledge without copying ancestors’ works. No matter what it is that we are learning, the first step is always to copy.

In the piece the Ecstasy of Influence, there’ s also a chapter called the beauty of second use which tells us about the positive side of the action. The author, Jonathan Lethem argues that our primary motivation for participating in the world of culture in the first place is to make the world larger. While  banning any second creation is doing the opposite thing.

Then what is the purpose of creating a new form of art based on an existing one by the means of remixing? I really like the response of Kirby himself. He says, the purpose is to encourage learning, to promote the progress of useful Arts and to bring better life for everyone. If performed in a reasonable way, remixing and recreating can lead to social evolution. So by no means should we deny the precious value of remixing and recreating.

Jack’s Exercise 6: Reflection on Everything is a Remix

Reflection on Everything is a Remix

At first appearance, Ferguson seems to be a guy that wants to abolish patent laws and take advantage of others’ intellectual properties. But when I keep watching, I found I started to agree with him more and more.

It is quite true that “everything is a remix” (Ferguson). All lifes on the earth began with one single cell, according to evolution. The cell was “copied, transformed and combined” (Ferguson) so that there turned out to be a variety of creatures on the earth. Humans are doing the same thing intellectually. Music, paintings and films are basically “copied, transformed and combined” (Ferguson) from the previous ones. There is nothing that is created. What we are doing everyday is just remixing what we have learned.

As Newton said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Basically, we are making all these achievements because we learn from our ancestors without making the mistakes that they have made. The reason why we study at school is that we do not want to remake everything on our own, we want to learn those shortcuts and how the pioneers made them. After learning all these, we came up with our own ideas and, hopefully, make better methods. But our new methods are actually based on what we have learned, which are other methods. That is why “everything is a remix” (Ferguson).

In terms of patent laws, I think we still have good reasons to keep them. We may improve them. As we see, there are a lot of open source programs like Linux, Arduino, etc. So those original “owners” were generous enough to make it open source to the public, which contributes a lot to the public. So I think for things like these, even if someone make some changes based on them, they should not been patented. But if the original author did want to patent it, it is still reasonable to patent, as long as that is really his/her own work. By his/her own work, I mean, most of the creation is created by him instead of basing on someone else’s open creation.

Generally, I do agree what Ferguson’s idea, but I still think patent laws need to be reserved but revised.

Response to the reading and videos

Chen Zhenyu, Bill zc676

The videos offer some examples on how famous movies copy other movies. I didn’t know so many movies and other art works are the combination of other’s work. We have to admit that every creation comes from other’s work. The video mentioned the three basic elements of creativity: copy, transform and combine. Again, the copyright issue is something we can’t get rid of. However, in the videos, the author don’t think copying is a bad thing. Copying others is the way we learn from each other. We copy first and then we create something based on that.

Sometimes people don’t really care about the copyright as long as the copier’s work is good and create something new. Tencent, the Chinese company which developed QQ and Wechat, its products in former years all came from other company’s products. But everytime it copied a software, the company would develop it and make it better than the original one. Although copying other company’s work is not a good action at all, we have to say Tencent learned really fast. When the company introduced Wechat to the public, what we could find are lots of original ideas. So it is important to have the right attitude towards copying.

Response to the reading and “Embrace the Remix”

“Everything is a remix”, Kirby Ferguson said in his series of “Embrace the Remix”. I had never thought of such idea before until his creative point was introduced to me. Actually I am totally convinced by his speech and I really appreciate it. However, adapting this idea to the current society is hardly possible because we mentally justify it but physically resist it.

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.” This is the most impressive sentence for me in his speech. We always create new things from the old ones because no one can create a completely new idea out of nowhere. Even those giants who seemed to be the original authors actually didn’t only depend on themselves to make creations. Either from nature or life, they obtained the raw materials for their creations. Can these also be called plagiarism? If yes, how could our society develop? Development of society always seems to be an inverse of patent, originality and authenticity.

Then why we, in front of social development and prosperity, would rather choose to protect the originality and insist that a piece of idea is indeed a property? Because humans are mostly selfish. In our minds, personal interests are always more important than collective interests. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing. Instead, it’s just a universal and common human nature. Like the example of Steve Jobs in the video, people will justify plagiarism only when they are not the victims caused by it. That’s the reason why we, though seeing clearly the benefits for sharing information and creations, would not apply it in daily life. Protection for one’s own benefit will remain an obstacle in the society for a pretty long time, and it’s inevitable.

Reading & Video response (wt474)

Both materials are about copyrights. Music, movies, literature, every single piece of human work include other’s ideas. Just like what was said in the video: “everything is a remix”, the world we know, the knowledge we recognize are all based on others’ ideas and works. If we review how we learnt to know the world, copying, reciting was process that we can’t get rid of. Thus, till what extent can we bear the mind of copying and till what extent shall we  notify the patent? On one hand we believe ideas are properties and should be separate, while on the other hand we shall be opening ideas to public for common good. This is a paradox as far as I see because we may never figure out a absolute solution: we want the motivation of creating to be kept as well as not losing the public transparency in order to keep the social inspirations towards all its member.

It is just like walking on the  thin wire, the plagiarism is always listed with highest priority during our own creation: academic essays, art projects, research programs and etc. Referring to the reading, signal, sign, abstract ideas one author transformed to others when get copied, surrounds our daily life. We see them, recognize them without even think about what we have recognized. Actually it would be to hard for one to remember everything’s origin, and maybe that is one of the important reason why people nowadays tend to combine art with business mode to create a new system for creation.

As a bystander, we always justify our copy and vilify other’s copy when we get copied. But this is how society works. We copy, we transform, and we combine.

Sarabi, Xiaoyu, Larissa Comic

final-version

 

Larissa:

Honestly, I felt that I have no clue to create my first comic when the assignment came out. But it turns out that our group really realized our ideas and cooperated well. Basically our working process was coming up with ideas, divided work and drawing layers separately, and integrating.

By drawing this short comic series, I’ve got a basic sense of comics’ property of sequence and simplification. We adopted simple style of drawing by mainly using lines to telling the story, which made it concise and clean. And we conceived a story in our mind in the whole process of drawing, but it seems in the comics the continuous changing in background made them less connected and perhaps make it hard for readers to follow up. Comics is an art based on sequence, our effort on this emphasized the concept after all. We also learnt the importance to share our PS techniques while doing integrations. There are many possible ways to realize certain effects in PS, and communicating enabled us to use the most effective techniques that we know.

In terms of the problems we ran into, I think some can still be promoted if we do similar work the next time. First, as we can see the pictures are not expressive and impressive enough because color didn’t help. We only used white and black, but adding more colors will tell the stories in those comics’ scenes more clearly. Colorful pictures will also make pictures lively and attractive. Second, we didn’t make the sense of space good enough since the pictures were integrated together with layers from 3 of us. For example in the 4th picture, we distorted the unicorn and the girl on the right to make the effect that the unicorn ran out of the room while the girl fainted. But obviously the shape became weird because we didn’t mean to draw them in that three-dimensional way. So more specific communication before everybody begins to draw is necessary. The third is that drawing by hand took a little bit much time, and using tablet will probably make it easier and time saving.

Xiaoyu:

For comics, we decided to draw the story of unicorn. My part is to draw the characters for 5 panels. I received Sarabi’s unicorn and drew my characters’ facial expression and relative position according to the location and motion of her unicorn. I drew in the paper with a pen and then scanned it. In fact, it’s better to draw in the tablet since it’s easier to add the color and coordinate with the existing parts of our comics. After I got the TIFF pictures with Marianne’s help, I adjust the line and make transparent PNG pictures. I tried to put the unicorn and characters together, but it turned out to be useless without background. Then I worked with Larissa together adjust the background and put all figures together. Larissa is really good at drawing; thanks to her we can have the wonderful background. I learned how to scan hand sketching into TIFF pictures and the most convenient way to make a picture with colored characters and transparent background, and some techniques to adjust images, too.

Sarabi:

My main job in the making of the comic was to draw the unicorn. I used a Wacom Intuos tablet to draw the unicorn, then used basic computer functions to adapt the unicorn for different situations. I used a template for the pegasus. After all the pieces of the comic were done, my partners and I each took one panel and put it together (we had to share some, because there are three of us and five panels). In the end I added some brief text to the panels. I kept it brief because I felt long explanations were unnecessary.

I used to draw comics as a kid, but I never integrated technology int he process. Using the tablet was a pretty easy and natural thing for me, though apparently people have trouble adjusting. I suppose my history as a piano player and pc gamer have helped. The use of technology felt a little inorganic to me, but the technology made the process a lot faster. Computers can erase, duplicate, and fabricate information faster than the human eye can detect. I only had the draw the unicorn once then copy and paste it into different files. Once it was in the different files, I could change the details of each unicorn so it better suited its situation. I’ll most likely continue to use devices while making comics in the future.

 

Sapphire, Bill and Cindy’s Comic Project

Sapphire, Bill and Cindy's Comic Project

Reflections

Cindy Hu:

When browsing Weibo, I saw a collection of photos about old couples doing lovely things together, which gave me the idea of making a comic about a lifelong love story. We all agreed on this topic and divided the work so that we can cooperate and make the best use of time. Everyone of us was assigned to find pictures of a boy and a girl at different phases of their lives. Then, on Tuesday’s class, we discussed about how we should make the comic and we finally decided to make it in the form of a scrapbook, which help to tell our simple story in a cute and interesting way. Also, we came up the idea of turning the backgrounds into cartoon style so that the characters could stand out. After we photoshoped one sample picture in the class, we processed the other pictures separately according to the similar pattern. Finally, I put all the pictures together and added some words on it to narrate the story. I’m so glad that our group managed to reach our original goal successfully.

Sapphire Chen:

In the comics we made, basically we are going to create a healing story of one’s whole life in order to show how simple our life is but how fortunate for us to be humans who can fantasize, love, appreciate and accompany. We use the form of “paperman” in the virtual and comic backgrounds to make it cuter and to emphasize more on the people and their actions. In this way, there is more possibility that it’s the “paper people” who are catching the eyes of the readers instead of the settings.

Bill Chen:

Since our story is simple and romantic, we don’t want to make too many effects on our pictures. We cut couples from real pictures and put them onto white “papers”. Also, we used filters in photoshop in order to turn real backgrounds into comic style.  This two strategies help our pictures simple enough so that people can concentrate on the couples and their story.

Understanding how to love comics

While reading “Understanding comics”  by Scott McCloud I realized that if every textbook would be like this one the learning process would become much more fun and would go faster. I’ve never red comics before, oops, actually I have red some, for example Egyptian pictures in museums, but I have never considered them as comics, only after reading this book I realized that comics is much broader thing than most people think. But I have never red the comics, that most of the people usually consider as comics, I mean a book. This one was my first and the best so far, I even realized that I would like to draw a comics book one day myself. Now I believe that comics is not just an art, but something more than this.

It was also nice to get to know comics from the inside. It turned out to be a whole language, with its own rules, punctuation and spelling. There are any techniques, for example one with simplifying a main character, and many schools, for example asian and western one. There are also 5 different methods of organizing comics, in other words transitions: moment-to-moment, action-to-action, subject-to-subject, scene-to-scene, aspect-to-aspect , non-sequitur.  Even though I didn’t read comics before, but I was fascinated how powerful could be a 5th transition, aspect-to-aspect, it became my favorite, so now I want to read some asian comics where it’s used more often.

 

Larissa’s response on 1-3 chapter of comic book

I found a really interesting point in the introduction of comics that simplifying things can actually means amplifying. I noticed a series of different head photo that are more and more simplified. I can get the emotion of the figure as soon as I see the last and most simplified face. However, I also feel it less shocking and attractive compared to the first and most detailed one. Then it occurred to me that if simplifying is actually amplifying, why people don’t make film characters as simple as they can? Conversely, each huge and delicate scene that shows up on the screen is a big shock to the audience. I think it depend on the function of different art forms. Films need to focus on visual effect besides story telling, but comics maybe need to focus on story telling as a “sequential art”. The visual effect is enough as long as it tells readers its environmental setting. So simplifying means amplifying but it also has its scope that can be applied.

Closure: Fragile Reality

Reading Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art has been an entertaining and informative experience. Very rarely do textbooks so clearly and relate complicated concepts. The chapter that most resonated with me was chapter 3, “Blood in the Gutters” becauses I relate to the scenario introduced in the beginning pages of the section. As a child, McCloud often wondered whether his world continued to exist if his senses did not perceive it. Though he never gave a definite answer as to whether the world exists when we cannot see it, he acknowledged that we, as human beings, automatically fill in the missing pieces based on past experiences and bit of information we glean from others. McCloud calls this concept closure, and it is a very large part of our lives. Human senses are limited, they can only take in so much information at the same time (and that amount of information is only .0001% of all the information available to take in) so it is impossible for us to know whether everything exists at all times.

This idea led me to question our reality. Because each human being perceives the world differently, each reality is different. The definition of reality, however, assumes there is one true state and all other versions are fantasy or idealistic. Yes, there are certain things (like tables and trees) human beings agree on, but our perceptions and understandings of these things all differ. If each human experiences a “reality” and these “realities” are different then can we even call it reality? Scott McCloud’s piece, of course, if not designed to answer these sorts of questions, but that does not render them any less interesting. 

response to Understanding Comics

The first four chapters of Understanding comics talk about the history of comics, look into its future and introduce some technical skills such as the masking effect, closure and the shape of panels. For me, chapter two the vocabulary of comics is the most intriguing one. In this chapter the author explains why comics are so popular: humans, as a self-centered species, can always see themselves in the adventure of the simplified characters. Readers tend to feel more engaged in the hero’s adventure when the background is as rich as possible and when the character is simplified. This rule, also known as the “masking effect” which has been widely adopted in many comics, becomes a key element for the success of comics.

I like his theory a lot. I kind of see the future of comics following his premise that comics should be a kind of art and the significance of “audience involvement” . Like any variety of art, no matter it is literature, painting or music, the sense of audience involvement is emphasized a lot. As time passes and this form of presentation is gradually acknowledged as a kind of art, the creative expression of the author’s feeling will be more important and audience involvement becomes more passive. Just think about the change from classical oil painting to modern abstract painting and the change from realistic novel to post-modern fiction. At present stage, audience involvement, as McCloud endorses, is probably the most important thing that a cartoonist must consider. But later the narration will be less intuitive and more flexible, and the audience will have to read it seriously in order to understand. There will also remain lots of “easy” comics of relaxation, though.

The Molotov Man

What made me most curious whilst reading “On the Rights of the Molotov Man” was Pablo Arauz, or Bareta, as a person himself. Did Susan Meiselas have his permission to take the photograph in the first place? In her response, it appeared as though she did not know who he was until she went back to Nicaragua in 1990, which gives me the impression that she had not talked to him before taking the picture in the moment. While I think that although someone, like Susan in this case, may have copyrighted something, in this case, the picture of the Molotov Man, so that they have permission to use the subject, I don’t think Susan has any more rights over the subject, Pablo, himself. And in such a case, if someone else were to reproduce her image, I think that they should also contact the subject, if possible, because nobody owns Pablo. Is it fair, to him, to have his image reproduced in different contexts without permission all over the place? In this aspect, I agree with Susan – we should try to preserve the context. However, if, for example in Joy’s case, the image had already begun to be reproduced, I think that someone like Joy, just another person adding to the numbers, should be allowed to reproduce it – but, I might feel more comfortable about it if Pablo was, at the least, aware of all the reproduction going on – but, on the other hand, it might be easier, or better, for him to be unaware. Nowadays, it’s common to go on the internet and find the same picture in myriad other places; as if we sign a permission form upon having a photograph taken of us, saying that it’s okay for people to reproduce it as they desire. But, I think that this depends on the context of the photograph and what is in it – here’s another example of why context is important. Some might not want their image to be reproduced, maybe because it’s personal to them/private. In recent news, people have been outraged at the leaking of Jennifer Lawrence’s nude photos by a hacker. Already, I’m sure, people will have put the pictures up elsewhere on the internet, saved them, and whatnot – I’m also sure she’s not the only one who’s ever had her property hacked, but people talk more when it’s about someone famous – and after all, at least it’s an opportunity to raise awareness and discuss what should or should not be done about these things. In this case, is it considered “okay” to reproduce these pictures? According to many people’s reactions, it’s not, but there are always multiple opinions – some say it’s unfortunate, but she should have known better than to put them on the cloud anyway, while others are appalled at the breach of privacy, and so on. So, how do we define what makes the reproduction of images “okay”? The express permission of the subject?

Retrogression – “The Machine Stops”

I found “The Machine Stops” a very interesting read, and it reminded me of books such as “Divergent” by Veronica Roth, and “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley; all three show very different ideas of what the world could be. “The Machine Stops” had me thinking over how humans are so dependent on technology nowadays – that in a way, machines could consume our lives and humanity as time progresses – as “the Machine” progresses. The connection between the thinking of ideas, the concept of religion, and the Machine itself was also interesting, and the decrease of human intelligence – and strength – was somewhat striking. In daily life, we hardly think about whether humans are retrogressing, but in “The Machine Stops” it was very clear, although there was hope at the end that the few people living outside of the underground system, would eventually create a new world. As I read about the “lectures” the people were keen on attending or giving, as well as the constant asking of others about whether they had had any new ideas recently, made me question what kind of ‘ideas’ they really seem to value. It seemed as if the people were simply recycling old thoughts – and as a result, making them more obscure and less credible. What benefit was there to this practice? And despite their refusal to dub their beliefs ‘religion’, it seemed apparent that, for example, when people prayed to the book, they viewed some aspect of the Machine, or the book, or the way of living it has all implemented, as divine. I feel that in each of the books – “The Machine Stops”, “Divergent”, and “Brave New World” – the characters are always intent upon believing in their social norms; they are so ingrained in what appears to be a narrow-minded way of life, that they stop imagining what things could be like. However, there also seems to be at least one person who is not so devotedly conforming to social norms, such as the Savage in “Brave New World”, Tris in “Divergent”, and in “The Machine Stops”‘ case, Kuno. Kuno represents a bit of free thinking, which gives a little hope that not everybody is a slave to the Machine, all though he ultimately fails to make it outside, above the underground. A question I wonder about is how the way of life in “The Machine Stops” came to be as it was in the first place. Nowadays, the average person is very reliant on technology to get through an average day. As this reliance increases… Would we, perhaps, retrogress into people like Vashti? Or would we evolve and improve our circumstances? People frequently talk about ‘faith in humanity’: Will this faith be enough to keep us from a potential downfall?

Understanding Comics Response

“Thus when you look at a photo or realistic drawing of a face, you see it as the face of another. But when you enter the world of the cartoon, you see yourself. I believe this is the primary cause of our childhood fascination with cartoons, though other factors such as universal identificationsimplicity and the childlike features of many cartoon characters also play a part. The cartoon is a vacuum into which our identity and awareness are pulled … an empty shell that we inhabit which enables us to travel in another realm. We don’t just observe the cartoon, we become it!” – Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics.

This is a rather long quote from Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, but I felt it’s necessary to point it out, because, to some degree, I disagree with this statement. I’m well aware of the fascination with cartoons, childhood or not, but here’s one part I can’t relate to: Becoming the cartoon. Perhaps it’s just me, but I’ve never taken the place of my favourite characters from my favourite shows or comics – maybe a side character, and a new/original one at that, but I generally don’t ‘become’ anyone, that, in my mind, already exists. To clarify, of course any character from a comic or show created from the imagination doesn’t truly exist in the tangible sense, but well so in the mind. “We humans are a self-centered race. We see ourselves in everything. We assign identities and emotions where none exist. And we make the world over in our image.” This, here, is a statement by Scott that I do agree with. We humans do exist, so to speak, in our own little world, in which we are most significant, it’s true. But that is why, I think, that I’m unable to believe that we can become these cartoon characters we’re talking about; sure, we can imagine ourselves in the cartoon-universe in question and partake in it – I do this all the time – but we cannot truly become characters … We might just be too self-centered for that.

Xiaoyue’s Response to Understanding Comics Chapter 1-4

I have had experience reading quite a few Japanese comics in my childhood. Understanding Comics is very different from the Japanese comics that I have read: first, it is drawn in the American style, which has many differences as well as similarities with the Japanese style; second, it is a very academic book spiced with cartoon images.

It is particularly interesting to read comics about comics, as you can examine the points brought up in the book right away, just by looking at the book.

There are several points that are really thought-provoking for me.

1.”When two people interact, they usually look directly at one another, seeing their partner’s features in vivid detail” “Each one also sustains a constant awareness of his or her own face, but this mind-picture is not nearly so vivid; just a sketchy arrangement…A sense of shape… a sense of general placement.” I have never thought of it that way. I didn’t realize I was always looking at myself. But I do actually look at myself. I have a sense of the presence of me, an estimation of how I appear to the outer world.

2.”The cartoon is a vacuum into which our identity and awareness are pulled.” Whenever I read Japanese comics, I always put myself into one of the characters. It is not a conscious choice of mine, but it always ends up that way. However, I notice that I wasn’t able to identify with the lecturing character in Understanding Comics. I suppose it is because besides the fact that we are of different genders, he surprises me with his comments about comics so much that I cannot not objectify him.

3.”Our identitites and awareness are invested in many inanimate objects.” “And in every case our constant awareness of self flows outward to include the object of our extended identity.” This is another thing I didn’t think about, but now I feel it makes a lot of sense. There have been two questions on my mind for a long time: one, when one loses part of his/her arm, at the beginning he/she still gets the illusion that his/her arm is still there. This could be explained by the awareness of ourselves and our body parts, which is not dependent on nerves. Even when the nerves are gone, the awareness doesn’t disappear right away. The second is how do people become so adroit with their artificial limps. I guess it is the same mechanism for how we ride a bike and use chopsticks.

4.”And just as our awareness of our biological selves are simplified conceptualized images so too is our awareness of these extensions greatly simplified.” This is interesting to know.

5.”By de-emphasizing the appearance of the physical world in favor of the idea of form, the cartoon places itself in the world of concepts.” This explains the flexibility of cartoons and why so many people can accept it so quickly.

6.The Masking Effect”This combination allows readers to mask themselves in a charaacter and safely enter a sensually stimulating world. One sent of lines to see. Another set of lines to be.”

The Masking Effect is very useful. It is an improvement for people who complain that comics have too simplified scenes, while remaining welcoming for people to put themselves in the character.

6.”Other characters were drawn ore realistically in order to objectify them, emphasizing their ‘otherness’ from the reader.” This is pure psychology. When we think about it, kids usually like the characters that don’t look overly complicated. It is perhaps because it is easier for them to put themselves in the character.

7.”Meaning retained, resemblance gone, words are the ultimate abstraction.” This is just pretty.

8. Closure “Comics panels fracture both time and space, offering a jagged, staccato thythm of unconnected moments. But closure allows us to connect these moments and mentally construct a continuous, unified reality.”

Closure is a very fascinating thing. It is said that due to the characteristics of the languages, Chinese people are better at closure than westerners. Chinese as a language is more meaningful when scattered while in English and many other western languages emphasize on structure very much. That could be contributing to the way people think and also to the different styles of comics.

I also like the idea that the magic only comics can create, which is the free interpretation by the readers. The author can point the way by use of the space between panels, word balloons, sound effects and many others. But the story is actually told by the reader him/herself, depending on his/her frame of mind.

Cindy’s Response to Understanding Comics

This is unlike any of my previous experience of reading a comic book. Although I don’t often read comics, but in my mind, there’s a stereotype that comics are for fun, not for academic purposes. However, this very comic book proves it to me that I was completely wrong.

I was really surprised when I found out there’s a system of lore inside comics. What I knew about comics was simply the fact that they have different characters and use a graphic way to tell different stories. It is easy for people, even children to read and understand comics. But making a satisfying comic is way harder than I thought.

Here are some concepts about the constitution of comics which left a deep impression on my mind.

First of all, the idea of thinking your face as a mask and seeing yourself through the eyes of the mask is truly amazing. Scott’s observation about people’s interaction with each other is interesting and innovative.

Secondly, I was really impressed by Scott’s theory that we don’t just observe the cartoon, we become it. The words the character’s saying is not what we actually hear but a little voice inside our head, a concept. When we read comics, we are used to think that it is the characters who are telling us the story. In fact, the information conveyed by the pictures is limited. Everyone of us understand comics in our own way because we fill the blank of transitions in light of our imagination. And this can differ from man to man.

Also, the triangle illustrating the relationship between the picture plane, reality and language is brilliant. Scott’s idea of categorizing the drawing styles of characters and putting them into the chart does a great job on helping me to understand the idea and keep this in mind.

By reading this comics, I find out that it is more likely for people (well, probably just me) to understand and memorize through the means of comics. So if we take advantage of this, it would be such a great move to use the tool of comics to spread meaningful and brilliant ideas as well as useful knowledge to more and more people around the world.

Helen’s Response to Understanding Comics

First of all I just find how dedicated McCloud is to his book. All the illustrations, as are part of the content, are drawn by himself. A subtle thing I noticed is that the word description is hand written-Every letter is different and not a type of font!

I have never read a textbook in the form of comics. It’s not boring at all and it truly helps me better understand the author’s points. I burst out laughing at the last picture on page 36 where he finely draws his portrait and says no one would listen to him compared to a simplified one. The latter figure is more abstract thus more kind and friendly. I don’t feel like I was being preached.

On top of that, I am totally amazed at his thorough involvement in the book. He sits on the edge of the word balloon; he leans against the panel; he appears in the every scene where he introduces new notion and adoption of comics, which suggests that he is creative and still got childlike innocence, and he works really hard! Besides, in some introductory chapters like the first, he creates different forms in order to avoid monotony. When he tries to give comics a definition, he is giving a presentation on the stage, holding a board, and interacting with audience, or readers. Through conversation he adjusts and supplements it again and again. I am as if an audience who were fully engaged in the address.

Apart from some structural things, I learn a lot from the book, especially the last chapter. There should exist so many ways to make a pause longer! By adding more same panels, by widening the space between panels, or by lengthening the panel itself, he is doing a magic trick to us. I’ve never paid attention to the technical things when I read comics. Now McCloud makes me to focus on not only the plot but also the skills. A change of a single panel could change the entire idea of presentation to readers.

Now I start to be curious about whether there’s a book like “understanding films”. It’s important to know about techniques in various art forms rather than merely content or purpose. McCloud just inspired me so much.

Helen, Sarabi and Shawn’s Digital Imaging Assignment and Reflection

after

after

before

before

Helen:

I cut out the panther’s head and put two of them on men using eraser tool with 0% hardness(a lot!) and command+T, and enlarge and redden the other using adjustment layer. I also used blending mode and opacity in certain layers and applied burn tool to the area under the sofa. Finally I created new adjustment layer of level and added texts.

It’s hard to put three totally different elements of panthers(Sarabi’s idea), universe(mine) and Star Wars(Shawn’s) into one image but we did it. Although the theme and information of the image is still not that clear but it’s not as messy as the first edition! Let’s assume panthers dominating the world. I tried diagonal composition and hid a layer in a volunteer extra round but it reappeared anyway~

I really appreciate the group effort. Shawn added some interesting elements; Sarabi solved a huge technical problem. This is how communication and cooperation work. Some other things I’ve learnt in class is that first, there should be a focus (or center) in an image. Second, the image must follow the law of physics, for example, the rule of perspective. Last, although I do photoshop since I was in junior high, it was the first time I had learnt how to use pen tool! It was magic.

Sarabi:

This project was my first experience with Photoshop. My limited experience made it difficult to make meaningful edits to the group photo, but I was still able to do a few things here and there like add an outer glow to the panther head and add drop shadows to the words. As our group passed the project around, we kept adding more and more things. It occurred to me several times throughout the process to take away pieces of the image (especially as the image got busier) but every time I tried to delete Darth Vader or one of the pictures, the image as a whole seemed empty. Now I understand the picture seemed empty because it wasn’t balanced when I hid those layers. All we had to do was more things around to take away the loneliness.

During the second phase of the editing process, I’d gone through two more classes of Photoshop and was able to do more with the image. I was slow to start the process because at that point, I was starting to detest Photoshop, because it has such a steep learning curve. Modern technology is so easy to use now that I’ve grown to dislike anything technology that is difficult to learn. I got over my distaste for the sake of the project and made the edits. I burned the credit panther so the light was only coming from one direction and I changed the blend type of Darth Vader Panther, as well as redrew his light saber. It was almost like magic, and I was quite proud of how quickly I’d learned to use the program. I don’t have any doubt that I’ll be able to use the program pretty proficiently in the future.

Shawn:

This assignment is really unforgetable because it is my first time using photoshop.

For the techenology part, I learned a lot. I realize that it is not that difficult to use all the tools. What really matters is how to choose the best way to achieve the goal. I practiced a lot of pen tools this time which is fun but time consuming. For the most difficult part I met is about light and shadow. Due to the black-ish space background, I feel it very hard to light the exact part and make it not feeling awkward. Later my partner did a good job of that and I learned more skills of layers.

For the team work part, I feel it is interesting that none of us delet or remove the things that the last person added. I think it because we appreciate each others work and do not want to waste anyone’s effort. Instead of redesign and deleting, we just put things on and edit it to be more good looking. This cuases the problem that we can not tell a whole story of our work finally. I realize that as a team work of photoshop, we need to discuss more about the story telling of our work. In another word, think it in a whole picture.

Anyhow, I believe our group did a good job and I appreciate thier work and coorperation a lot.

Response to Understanding Comics

Understanding Comics is really a nice and unique book, which helps people deeply understand the form and the spirit of comics via comics itself. I especially appreciate chapter two in which the author believes that the comics which simplifies the image help people, especially children, to connect themselves to the story the comics conveys. The images turns into signs with which people can have a general idea of what it is, and fully use their own imagination to make their own connection to the comic. They know the comics better as if they are just characters in the comics. Via the way of simplifying the image, it only leaves the most important part of the image, making people just feel familiar with the characters or stuff in the comic, but can also have their own understanding of the comics.

I feel like this is why I used to love reading comics when I was a child. I know what the comics is telling by getting a general feeling from the characters drawing with several lines, but I create my own story, or more specifically, my own details of the story depending on the things I read on the book. It is easy for children to understand the comics, as mentioned in the book. However, I think more importantly, children can improve their skill of generalize information created by their own to make it make sense. This can help them a lot in their future life of understanding literature and other pieces of arts.

Photoshop Project final edits

For our photoshop “ping pong” edit, we used a photo of my friend Jimmy setting on a curb. The picture was changed and changed again until it became basically unrecognizable.

At first, Jimmy’s head was cut off and placed on top of Christian Bale’s on the cover of American psycho. Then, he was place in front of a kitchen table with various foods. After that, I put Jimmy in space, orbiting the Earth. Then, the words in front of him were edited, more food was added, and he was given a space suit. You can find the final copy of the picture and the entire blog post, which described the origin of the “Jimmy Pics,” here. The actual final picture is below.

After, I was instructed to clean up the photo, making it look a bit more realistic — as realistic as a photo of someone cooking in space can be. So, I took off the space suit, and edited the foods and shadows thoroughly. The final product, while still unrealistic, leans a bit closer to realism. Enjoy!

Jimmy-final

Photoshop Project

For our project, Ian, DongNing and I played on a running joke within the NYU Shanghai community. There’s a student in our class named Jimmy who is often the subject of humorous photoshop edits, the most notable currently being the cover photo of the NYU Shanghai Class of 2017 Facebook page.

Jimmy Dogsledding

This picture led to a surge in popularity in “Jimmy pics,” with various students from our class editing his photos for a laugh. Jimmy himself had a good time with it and laughed it off like a good sport. But when we were assigned this project, my mind immediately turned to bringing “Jimmy pics” back.

Ian started off with a picture of Jimmy that we put on Christian Bale’s body, on the cover of American Psycho. Then, Dongning hilariously put Jimmy in front of a kitchen table, cutting up vegetables, but keeping the same now-comical glare. Now that the scene was set, I got rid of the background around Jimmy and put him in space over the Earth.

For the second round of edits, Ian edited the “American Psycho” logo and replaced it with “Jimmy learns to cook in space,” while keeping the font the same, resulting in a really cool effect, while also adding shading. Then Dongning added another flurry of foods around Jimmy. I finished by giving him a spaceman suit and a chef’s hat on top of it. Here’s the final product!

Jimmy cooking in space

Molotov Man: Reflection

The interesting situation regarding ownership and use of the famed “molotov man,” proved to be a remarkable example of how ownership of content has changed. Two women used this photo in nearly opposite ways. One, to decontextualize him, emphasizing his emotion, his vigor. While the other, the photographer, actually experienced what the man himself is going through, and thus wanted to bring attention more to his cause than his feelings.

The image was used without the photographer’s consent, and started to get used in popular culture as almost a meme-like image. This developed to the point where no one was the image’s true owner anymore, as it belonged to the beast of the internet, wherein one could simply download the image, and repost it.

This situation proved a landmark example of the rapidly shifting definition of ownership, especially regarding something digital. In a world intertwined with technology, does anyone really own what ends up on the internet, even if they never posted it themselves?

The Machine Stops Reflection: Jacko Walz

Reading The Machine Stops, I quickly noticed parallels to Orwell’s classic 1984 of the same genre. In both novels, the other precociously warns the reader about the treacherously quick pace of advancing technology. In 1984, Big Brother is the all-knowing entity that omnipotently watches over everything. In Forsters short story, this god-like beast is dubbed “The Machine,” and is revered blindly throughout the novel. The religious devotion to “The Machine,” who takes care of all life on (or below) Earth, because palpable near the end of the novel, when it – or, maybe, he – becomes a religious entity. As time winds on, love and devotion towards The Machine grows more and more blind, to the point where he is loved simply because he should be loved, rather than because the people appreciate him. Near the end of the story, as hinted by the title, “The Machine stops,” and people are unsure how to act. They have become sufficiently blind to the utility of the beast, and have fallen in love with the idea of it. This negative conclusion is exacerbated by the fact that The Machine takes care of all the humans living below Earth completely and fully. So when it actually goes down, chaos ensues.

I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, and actually drew a parallel towards another short story, The Last Question, by Isaac Asimov. In case you haven’t read it, it is also a pseudo-dystopian novel wherein technology has essentially reached its maximum potential.

The idea of technology reaching its peak is a peculiar one. Is the peak when we can no longer take any more steps further, like the The Last Question? Maybe technology reaches its peak when we as people are totally satisfied with life at its current state, which ultimately leads to our demise, as was apparent in The Machine Stops?  Perhaps the peak of technology is not a physical boundary, but merely a point that we should not pass, as it would cause more harm than good. In 1984, privacy was nonexistent because of the omnipresence of Big Brother.

Maybe we are not ready to ask these questions. But for certain, the answer is more pressing today than it was yesterday.

Understanding Comics: the link between virtual and real world

Understanding comics is a really useful book. By reading the first 4 charter, something popped up in my mind: never before had I ever think of why children(as well as adults) love comics so much! It is said that we will subconsciously gain a higher sense of identity if the character is built vaguely and the background is clear. People will automatically replace themselves onto the story line on some aspect. As we know understand how comics works, its rule can be applied to many other stuffs, including arts, public speech, and so on. When we are now creating comics by ourselves, we tried to have a clear definition and declare the audience by the first place. And for the story we choose the most recent, most common things happened around us. By these technique we are more likely to create what audience may recognize and approve.

Response to “Understanding Comics” by Bill

Before reading this book I had already known that there were some Japanese comic “text books”. I tried to read some but I found out that they are not so good, because Japanese comic text books mainly talked about serious science questions, such as quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity. It turned out that we still couldn’t understand them easily even if we tried to explain them in a relax way.

However, use comic to explain comic is a great idea. Comic is not so serious as the theory of relativity, comic itself is fun. Using a fun way to explain serious problem may lead to confusion, but using fun way to explain funny problem can be interesting. Although this book can be regarded as a “text book”, we can still read it as a comic. Every pictures are creative, well organized and well designed.

In the first chapter the author talks about the definition of comic. He gives us a quite long and special definition: “juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence”. By reading these words, we can see the author has a really deep understand of comic, and his understanding forms a complete system. This make the author has enough confident to draw such a good comic book.

Bill (Chen Zhenyu)

Response to “Understanding Comics”

I used to be a mania for Japanese comics in high school. However, since I don’t have much time as I used to, nowadays I replace comics with animations because the latter takes me less time and tells more things.

However, after reading through “Understanding Comics”, I found my knowledge of comics stay no longer on the level that it brought me lots of fun but more about the art of creating comics, which again aroused my interest in it.

Comics is not only for children, we may find ourselves in different types of comics. We may identify with the main characters in the story and substitute ourselves for them. That’s why, in chapter two of the book, authors of comics always abstract the image of a person to make it just like nearly everyone. The background of the comics, however, is so true to life. Their purpose is that we readers feel that we ourselves are entering the vivid but virtual world. It’s a great way to fascinate readers and create more sales.

In chapter three and chapter four when Scott McCloud was talking about different transitions between panels, I was amazed by his detailed and delicate analysis about the readers’ feelings, which is an essential factor for being a good cartoonist. The gap between panels and the length of the rectangle of a panel will both affect the perception of time. Although I have been reading comics for a long time, it never occurred to me that these subtle things really meant something while I was reading even if they indeed affected my reading. McCloud sorted out lots of things which might be ignored during the reading process and displayed them to us. Moreover, to take care of those who never had experience in the field of comics, McCloud illustrated every point by adding a transparent picture. I think that’s one of the reason why this book became such a great success among readers.

“Understanding Comics” has lots of points in it that are worth reading and further discussion. Though I am not able to make clear all of his ideas, by having a try at comics, I am sure this book will make more sense to me.

Jack’s Exercise 4: iPhone Commercial (Group Work with Ferwa and Cindy)

iPhone-Commercial-revised-web

iPhone Commercial

Note: This image is a group work of Jack B. Du, Ferwa Razzaq and Cindy Hu.

This is our final work for this assignment: iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are lifted up by a weight lifter called Tim Cook, who is sitting on the earth.  In the space, as if in the heaven, Steve Jobs is praying for the future of Apple, looking at the viewer at the same time. On two iPhones, there are two children that stand for the size of two iPhones. It conveys the idea of “bigger than bigger”.

Let’s take a look at how this work is done!

At the very beginning, we got together and discussed what we could do. There were quite a lot of ideas, but since iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were just released recently, we finally agreed on Cindy’s idea of Photoshopping the iPhone commercial. We would like to convey the idea of “bigger than bigger”. So we got to work.

iphone6

original screenshot

Somehow, the image above on apple’s home page cannot be saved. So we decided to take a screenshot and start editing it. Cindy did that and cropped it.

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 3.03.47 PM

Cindy’s Work, Sept. 12, 2014

To stress the point of “big”, I added a weightlifter, who is lifting two iPhones up. Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 3.06.24 PM

Jack’s Work, Sept. 13, 2014

And below is the weightlifter photo that I used.

Weightlifting_web

Actually, I encountered a problem that all weightlifters cover their thumbs with their figures, but I did need thumbs to cover iPhones. It turned out I found a thumb somewhere else. It looks quite fake on the weightlifter’s hands but I tried. And here’s the thumb 🙂

Thumb_web

Then, Ferwa added the earth, which, again, exaggerates how big the two iPhones are.

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 3.09.46 PM

Ferwa’s Work, Sept. 14, 2014

Below is the earth Ferwa used.

earth_web

Cindy thought hard and came up with an idea that the age of two kids may better demonstrate the size of two iPhones.

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 3.15.14 PM

Cindy’s Work, Sept. 14, 2014

She did a very good job because she paid enough attention to the angle of the two kids so that they fit the screens.

Below are the photos she used.

baby child

When I got the photo again. I feel like I need to add something interesting as background. Since there’s the earth, why not add the galaxy as background. I eventually found the default wallpaper of OS X Mountain Lion, which stands for the classic Apple design. And also, I photoshoped Tim Cook’s face on the weightlifter, adjusted the color balance and hue so that it fits the skin color of the weightlifter.

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 3.21.48 PM

Jack’s Work, Sept. 14, 2014

Below are the photos I used this time.

Tim andromeda_web

So originally, we were trying to convey the idea of the iPhone commercial and making fun of it. But Ferwa added something serious, which makes our work more meaningful. She added Steve Jobs in the background. It’s as if Steve Jobs is looking at the new iPhones from the heaven and praying for that. I personally like this part a lot. Also, she did some adjustments to the earth and we finally finished the first version of our work, cheers!

iPhone-Commercial

Ferwa’s Work, Sept. 15, 2014

Below is the photo that she used.

steve jobsIn class, we received some feedbacks and revised it. Below is the final version of our work!

iPhone-Commercial-revised-web

When we edited images in Photoshop, we were trying to keep track of what everyone has done. We grouped the previous person’s layers and duplicated it so that the next person would not affect the previous person’s work. That means we can get back to whichever person’s work if someone ruined the work by mistake, so that we do not need to restart from the beginning.

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 3.36.52 PM

Anyway, I think we successfully conveyed the idea of “bigger than bigger”, made an interesting image and also included some serious questions to think about.

Cindy Hu’s Reflection

This is my very first time to use photoshop for an assignment. So this is quite different from my previous experience. Actually, I had no idea what to do at the very beginning. But thinking about what people have been talking about lately, I came up with the idea of editing the iPhone 6 commercial.

When I got the picture for the second round, it already looked quite complete. Therefore, I chose to add something on the screen to illustrate iPhone 6’s slogan “Bigger than Bigger”. I used the picture of a baby and as he grew older to a boy, the iPhone turned bigger as well. When I saw the final version of our work, I was really proud of our team since our work is interesting as well as meaningful.

surfingduck troop

surfingduck-troop

 

Made by James, Sapphire and Ellie

Reflections:

James Tang:

I put the duck with 2 surfboard and psed 1 hat with the duck. Then I save them as a jpg so that I could paste them in as one layer. Then I use clone stamp tool to make a duck troop. I also did some adjustment.

Sapphire Chen:

First, about cutting off the duck from its original image. I finally found that the pen tool works the best to do this. And about adding the man in the picture. So I made adjustments to its brightness and contrast to make it darker and like surfing in the shadow of sunlight. And last, I made him to be there and used some waves to decorate the edges in order to integrate him into the background. It’s not perfect enough though. And we have a little bit disagreement on the composition of the picture. I feel that too many ducks in a picture make it a little messy.

Ellie:

First of all we decided that we want to make smth funny, so I found a picture of this strange duck online. Then I found background picture with a man surfing, that had the same position as the duck. I erased this poor man and put the duck instead, changing the brightness and shadows. Then I let the duck to wear a winter hat and hold NYU Shanghai flag. It seemed that one duck is not enough, so I added one more duck with Mexican hat on different board. And then, suddenly, it became an army of ducks.

Group:

We work together at the IMA lab for th final assembling of the picture. With the done material, we pass one to one and make comments on every movement. Finally we came to our troops of surfing ducks. We really enjoyed the process and love ps! Had fun doing that!

May all couples have their pepsi

Chen Zhenyu & Ma Xiaoyu & Wu Yilun

Chen Zhenyu & Ma Xiaoyu & Wu Yilun

Xiaoyu Ma:

During the first round, I simply looked for some funny cartoon characters, cut off them from their previous background, and inserted them into the new context. I didn’t pay much attention to the light and shadow, since I knew they were to be perfected after the second round. I put them all together without coming up with a consistent narrative. Then during the second, we decided to have a topic for a coherent narrative: the Pepsi. Our inspiration of Pepsi comes from the Molotov Man reading last week and therefore we put him in the picture, too. The isolation of the Molotov Man is probably the hardest since it is quite irregular. To hide the loss of his feet, I put him behind two other cartoon characters. Then I adjusted the brightness a bit to make his appearance more natural.

Zhenyu Chen:

The main idea of our picture is put different movie characters on the dragon’s wings. I cut the the girl in the movie <Frozen>, Beedo and the Garfield. The girl’s dress was really wired in the picture so I cut the dress off and put the girl behind the dragon’s head. Right side of Garfield’s fur was really light so I used eraser to delete it, then I darkened its body and lightened its face to make it more nature. To make the picture funnier, I used pen tool to cut off the motolovman in pdf. He looks great on dragon’s wing.

Yilun Wu:

I’ve had experience using Photoshop before, but I mainly just adjust the brightness and colour of the picture. This time I learned how to mix pictures, and also adjust the light and shadow, which are important for 3D images. Group work this time was very creative and fun, because we decided to make a gather of cartoons. And this is a cool idea that I would hardly come up with on my own.

A response to The Machine Stops

The Machine Stops was published in 1909, decades before the internet, cellphones, and advanced mass transit.  The Model T was first sold only a year prior to this stories’ publication!  To me, this is bone-chilling:  Surely those born at the beginnning of the 20th century could not have fathomed the advances in technology that we have achieved today, so how could E.M. Forster have envisioned a reality that, while containing several major differences, reflects some of the notable changes we as a society have experienced in the most recent years?  Perhaps the obsession with mechanical progression was even evident back then.  I will reflect upon the topic of the dangers of our fetishization with technology below.

The Machine provides humanity with anything one could possibly desire.  At the press of a button, your desires are served to you instanteously, yet early on in the story it is clear that not all is well.  Vashti is unhappy.  This is odd, how could one be upset when all earthly desires are satisfied?  Moreover, these emotions are not temporary.  Throughout the story she is described as lonely, exasperated, angry, irritated, horrified, disgusted, and experiences spasms of rage.  That being said, she worships the Machine, praying to it at night, allowing it to consume her life.  One of the most alarming moments for me, was when it took Vashti several attempts to divorce herself from the machine to visit her own son.  The thought of being away from her honeycomb cell even for a short duration results in more than fear, she feels sick from it.

While I wouldn’t say that we as a society have reached this point, examples come to mind that run parallel to reality in this story.  I think of the gaming cafes in Asia where teenagers have spent hours upon hours of their life glued to a different kind of Machine, an alternate reality.  I think of the disgusting amount of time I know I have devoted to scrolling screen after screen on the internet, not particularly enjoying the experience.  People wait more than a week outside of the Apple Store to be the first to own the next iPhone.  Or my instinctive reaction when I wake up in the middle of the night to check my emails, that’s not ok!!  Have I already gone too far?  Do I worship the Machine?

Today I applaud the genius’ of our generation for developing such technologies that have “made our world a better place” but at the same time, I am weary of our future.  I do not want to live to see the day when our society sees the metaphorical “scraps of the untainted sky.”

Ian Reagan

A response to ON THE RIGHTS OF MOLOTOV MAN

I want to preface this response by saying I am not particularly well-versed in IP and copyright law, but I will do my best to analyze the situation presented in the Harper piece.

“On the Rights of Molotov Man” is supposedly co-authored by Joy Garnett and Susan Meisales.  Unfortunately, this joint op-ed is not a conversation between the reappropriator and the appropriated.  Rather, the two viewpoints rest one after the other for the reader to inspect and decide for himself who is in the right.  While this style of article works for the topic at hand, I believe a dialogue between the two artists would have yielded some greater insights on the issue.

That being said, this piece is undoubedtly interesting to me, and while published over 7 years ago, brings up the increasingly relevant issues of reappropriation, piracy, and copyright.  Truthfully, I can see the points being raised by both artists, and also have issues with each of their stances.

For example, in Garnett’s artistic process, she describes a step in which she, “save[s] the most promising images in folders on my computer desktop, and I let them sit for a while so I could forget where I found them.”  Which makes sense from a creative standpoint, but at the same time reveals her disregard for crediting the original source.  Perhaps she believed that her work was a sufficient “remix” of the original work, but as a member of Rhizome, a community that, according to the article, often has public discussions on, “the philosophies of appropriation, sampling, remixing,and current copyright controversies,” she must have known that her work was walking in a gray area of legality.

On the other hand, Meisales’ argument also contains some holes.  While I do not know the specifics on time-sensitivity as it relates to the copyright law and reappropriation, I do know that there was nearly a 25+ year gap between the time the photo was taken and the exhibition of the Riot series.  From my perspective it seems that Meisales may have been partly motivated beyond the artistic integrity of her photograph, as she is very well accustomed to the reappropriation of the photograph as seen by the photo archive at the end of the article.  In this case, she was seeking a financial compensation, which undermines her intent in my opinion, as it does not mention whether Garnett has made any financial gain of her own from the artwork.

An additional point… At the end of the piece Meisales is quoted, “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.”  I would have to say that I really disagree with this comment.  I believe Meisales is misunderstanding the purpose of Garnett’s work.  In my opinion, rather than diminshing the act of defiance by stripping the original context from the work, the reappropriation is blowing up the context, allow Arauz to stand for much more than the Nicaraguan riot.  The Riot Series and the Molotov Man specifically stand for the raw human emotions that are magnified through the paintings.  Without its specific context, Molotov Man stands for all acts of defiance from the beginning of time, a much more powerful message in my opinion.  And for that, I believe Meisales, as an artist, should be thankful.

Keeping in mind my gripes, I do still very much value the importance of copyright law as well as the allowance for reappropriation and remixing.  If I could choose for myself, I would side with Garnett as I believe keeping in mind the time gap as well as how the content was recreated, it provides for sufficient alterations and circustance to not be considered, “sailing under the flag of piracy” as Meisales’ lawyer viciously put Garnett’s painting.

response 2 Xiaoyu

This article focuses on the copyright of the photography. Joy Garnett, the artist who used Susan Meiselas’s photography image in his painting, wondered to what extent should the author of a documentary photography have the right to control the content of his or her work. The main mission of a photo, for Joy, is to record the social or historical value of an event. Since Joy didn’t want to take advantage of the social or historical value of Susan’s photo (in fact he decontextualized the image from its historical narrative consciously), he failed to see any significance to give the credit to Susan.

Susan, on the other hand, believed that copyright served to protect the characters in the photo instead of the social or historical value of the photo itself. Here I agree with her. The original author of a photo has the responsibility to protect the “individuality” of the people they photographed. They are performing their obligation to the image in their work while enjoying the copyright of leasing permission. The original author should have the copyright not because he or she owns the right to the motolov man’s struggle. Instead, the copyright is just a reminder that we owe respect for the man’s struggle.

For All to See (Exercise 3)

As a person who creates art for the world (notice the specific exclusion of the word “artist,” it feels too pretentious and self-congratulatory), the copyright issue is something I feel strongly about. On the one hand, I want people to have access to my work, and the best way to give people access is to make it free on a public domain. On the other hand, I want to be recognized for my work (and paid, preferably, so I can sustain myself), and the best way to ensure that is to require strict permission instructions and a fee of some sort. Some part of me believes a person isn’t a true artist if they are preoccupied with the money, but as a human I realize people need to eat. The copyright debate has been a long-standing one, especially since the advent of the internet, where ideas can flow quickly and freely.

I understand Susan’s wish to have her original photograph credited and to grant permission for each reproduction of the the painting inspired by her photo, but when Joy painted the photograph, she made it a new piece of art. It’s the same image but it’s a new piece on a new medium created by a human (I’m using the following criteria for “new art”: created by human hands or by human efforts on a machine, the medium is different, the presentation is different), so it’s essence (it’s “aura,” to use Walter Benjamin’s terminology) is different. Unlike a simple reproduction, which loses the soul infused into a piece by the creator, Joy’s piece was very much full of her energy. Consider Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell’s soup piece. Theoretically, the use of the Campbell can image is copyright infringement, but because Warhol put his own flair into it, it became an entirely new image.

When discussing this issue with a friend, she brought up the “monkey selfie,” a photograph of a monkey taken by itself. Wikimedia uploaded the pictures and refused to take them down because the copyright is “owned by the monkey.” Our discussion, however, touched on the topic of animal rights. Because the animal cannot speak our language, it needs someone to represent it. We decided the photo belongs to the camera owner, because without the camera, the photo would  not exist. But by that logic, the photo would not exist if the camera had not been invented, so the credit belongs to the camera company. The chain of ownership can continue up the chain of production until the person who created the first component of a camera or even the idea of the camera gets the credit. (As this discussion transpired, I mentioned I would include it in my response, and the idea of crediting her for the idea came up. She responded by saying “how can you claim ownership for an idea once you have already expressed it?”)

In order to prevent these problems, we need stricter guidelines for defining “original” work. The lines are becoming more blurry, especially as more people figure out ways to share media, with and without permission. It’s a discussion that needs to continue, but I feel there will never be a concrete resolution.

Jack’s Exercise 3: Reflection on On the Rights of Molotov Man

Reflection on On the Rights of Molotov Man

Reading the title, I was wondering who Molotov man is. After Joy telling me the stories behind this picture, I thought I knew who he is. However, Susan explained that Joy was actually decontextualizing the image. She told me the true story of Molotov man.

It is quite surprising that when one image is interpreted in different way, they have different stories and the audience would have a different perspective. Basically, this leads us to thinking about the question of context. For artists, do they have to follow the original context? Is it a good idea to decontextualize it and put some new “context” to it? Personally, I think we need to first respect the original author’s copyright. If necessary, we can have both the original context and the new context at the same time. But we should let the audience be aware of it. In other words, it could be an artistic composition to create new context, but the audience has the right to know the truth.

Meanwhile, the “copyfight” really showed the power of the photo editing and the media. From these pictures, I can see their creativity. But it also leads some copyright problems that we need to think about. It is good see that both Joy and Susan are quite generous about the copyright. They did appreciate these new version of their works. Susan did not sue Joy in the end, but she still wanted to restate the real context of her photo, unwilling to betray Molotov man. That is why I think artists are responsible to tell the truth to the audience while they put their own creativity to the photo.

In short, I learned different way to interpret a mere work and became more aware of the importance of balancing the original and the creativity.