30/11/14 12:37 Filed in: Contextual Research
Tanya recently e-mailed me a link to a BBC article from earlier this year that reported Paramount Pictures taking down the Twitter account of someone who was tweeting the film Top Gun, frame by frame. In reading the article, alarm bells rang because of the nature of my current project which using war films as source material for a comment on war as entertainment. In particular, there is one paragraph in the BBC reporting:
She said: "In terms of the law, it is even the frames, so even a photograph of a film is classed as a film in law, rather than as a stand-alone photograph."
From this, the inference could be that I could fall foul of the law, but when looking at what @555uhz was actually doing, the two projects are clearly different. Whilst the twitter feed is transformative as a whole (it transforms from cinematic film to individual frames in a Twitter feed), the work could be (sort of) reconstructed and, apart from missing frames, it would be the same (less the audio...). I'm not sure the meaning of the work is changing though - it's still Top Gun as a piece of entertainment. Nothing has been added. The flow is similar, and there's a good sized piece of the work that would have been appropriated.
My own work cannot be reconstructed. The work has been transformed; elements have been added such as the representation of the grid imposed by the physical act of projecting it and the text. The visual representation has been changed, in terms of the colours (I apply a filter, there will be something coming through from the projection surface which is not a neutral white), the framing (the images are cropped to some degree, and all have become a standard 16:9 format, regardless of the original) and perhaps most importantly, it's intended as a piece of artwork which provides commentary on the cinematic representation of war, obfuscation of the truth, etc. It's not intended to be the film in stills form.
I've just bought a book on appropriation whilst in Liverpool looking at the work of Heineken and Warhol (I'll write some notes when I get the chance), so maybe this will give me something else to ease my mind (or not), but for the moment I think I'm confident enough to continue.