Jonathan Lethem’s article explicitly confronts the issue of plagiarism and how we interact with it in society while Kirby Ferguson’s “Embrace the Remix” and “Everything is a Remix” does it implicitly. However, they both do boil down to the point of how the objects we see and interact with in contemporary society have (most likely) existed before, and are just being remade/recreated one way or the other.
While I was reading the article and watching Kirby’s videos, one of the main questions that I kept asking myself was if anybody else noticed that these were similar quandaries to those that had been presented in “On the Molotov Man” and in Benjamin Walters’ “The Work Of Art In The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. Before, we were seeing some of the direct repercussions and criticisms that come with copying a work. Yet now, we are being made aware that some creative professionals do this in ways of paying “homage” to the original creation.
I wonder if there’s a line where we draw the distinction between wrongfully reusing a certain person’s work and/or ideas and when we are using it to “develop art to another level” which is similar with the principle that the patent law uses to make patents only exclusive for a certain number of years. If we are to take Kirby’s take, everything is truly a remake of something else and we only ask for copyright permissions and credit sources as a form of courtesy.
In a closing note, I’d like to point out that this doesn’t really happen in fashion. When a style or cut becomes popular, it is incorporated by the high-end and high-street brands. Furthermore, styles from previous decades and centuries are always seen to be evolving and being incorporated in present-day fashion without so much as the blink of an eye! In this sector, it’s not really frowned upon to re-make even though creativity is still the most upheld virtue.