When art is being created online now, reaching hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people, more often than not without the direct support of institutions or museums, what will the art history books contain in the future? Will the whole process of canonising artists become redundant as new forms of technology and culture consume and re-configure what we now call art history, a currently institutionalised phenomenon?
Due to the change objects and images have undergone as we have moved from using analogue to digital technologies, so too has the entire notion of ownership and authorship been opened up for reconsideration. Who owns what is created online? How do we value immaterial things? Can we tell the difference between what exists physically and what has been rendered in computer-generated form?
New York based artist Artie Vierkant’s practice combines the digital with the quasi-sculptural in a world of online networks and aesthetics. His practice moves from the Internet to the art gallery and back again: on websites, Tumblr pages, a variety of social media platforms and galleries in both America and Europe, the artist responds to the meaning and integrity of a number of things including contemporary art, photography, corporate style, copyright, patenting, trademarking and intellectual property.
As part of our Artist Profile section, we asked Vierkant to introduce his new project Exploits, which is featured here with some images of the work installed at his recent exhibition at New Galerie, Paris.
‘The basis for the series Exploits is intellectual property, which I seek to engage with as a material to be used as any other. Existing intellectual properties – patents, trademarks, copyrights – are located, and a negotiation takes place between myself and the property owner for the purchase or license of said property, toward the fabrication of derivative works. The IP in question is taken as a set of negotiated guidelines within which physical works may be produced, but also as a set of norms to be deviated from. Each negotiation is unique: the property owner may set legal barriers to the contexts in which the IP can be presented, limit the amount of derivative works that may be produced to a set number, or to a period of time.
Further a certain IP itself may be valid for use only within certain contexts – a Trademark specifically for apparel, for example. These stipulations are negotiated through legal counsel and manifest in each case in a unique contract between myself and the IP holder. Intellectual property becomes within this series a symbolic object underscoring the relationship between the social structures that formalize what would otherwise be abstract (the virtual, the ‘immaterial’) and the manifestation of those structures through physical objects and imagery. The model and the depiction. In each case, the IP is one which has already been registered by another entity – Exploits is the process of locating objects which already exist as territories, and transposing said territories into another context through a transaction.’