My view from the panel at the Storefront event. Panelists left to right, Alanna Heiss, Christopher Eamon, Spyros Papapetros, Cristina Goberna and Serkan Özkaya. Not visible, Ines Weizman. (click to enlarge)

Last night’s panel event at Storefront for Art and Architecture was a heady affair. A group of panelists, myself include, sat inside the Vito Acconci-designed structure  while a 30-foot David sculpture by Serkan Özkaya lay horizontal on a flat bed outside on Kenmare Street.

We were asked to prepare manifestos on the topic of doubling or copies, fakes and replicas as part of a Manifesto Series to mark the arrival of Serkan Özkaya’s “David (inspired by Michelangelo).” I was told we could be as serious or humorous as we wanted to be so I focused on the nature of the copy and what it means today. I chose Leonardo’s Mona Lisa as the focus of my visual presentation, which I thought complemented Özkaya’s Michelangelo-inspired work, and offered some ideas that have brewing in my head on the topic.

My presentation was altered by the format of the presentation software — my GIFs didn’t work! — so I wanted to post it below for those who may be interested to see it in its intended format … background and all.

You can watch the whole panel on Storefront for Art and Architecture’s Ustream channel.

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.

5 replies on “Holy Holy Copy Copy Culture Culture, A Manifesto”

  1. Hrag, it’s a pithy presentation that packs in so much content. What a great way to end the day.

    Thinking about the copy, I’m reminded of the old roman legend about the origin of drawing. The story goes that Dibutades (what a mouthful), a potter’s daughter from Corinth, made the very first drawing.

    But what’s interesting today is why. She was in love with a boy that was departing from Corinth. Before he left, she asked him to stand still while she traced his shadow on the wall. That way, she could remember his profile.

    Classical philosophers liked this story because it conveys how the urge to copy is connected with admiration, desire and loss. If you really adore something, you don’t want to loose the feeling it stirs. A copy, at least in the classical roman sense, is also a way to capture and control an emotional response.

    I totally agree with you that the copy is deeply connected with the notion of the aura of the original. But I think that there is another more emotional layer to copying. You copy texts, images, taglines, and bookmark websites in browsers that only you gaze at, because they stir deeply personal meanings.

    Don’t we measure the value of an object or artistic style partly by the extent to which it is copied or imitated by other artists, to extent to which other artists say this form has such meaning that I need to copy and capture how it makes me feel?

      1. Thanks, Daniel. I think the legend appears in Pliny. I think that’s a beautiful way of thinking of it, a connection with admiration and desire, both of which drives so much in our lives.

        I think the personal part of copying is individual but I think its the communal aspect of copying that we’re all understanding nowadays since photoshop, Tumblr and other tools make it possible, which it never way. We often think of communal mourning or communal celebration but what does communal copying meaning? I’m still trying to figure that one out.

        The other part of it is that a copy can often exceed an original, then what of the copy? Is it a copy or is it then the original and the “original” is the proto version?

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