Versions is an interesting video (which was originally from his exhibition, I think) by Oliver Laric that I encourage you to watch. It presents how images are replicated over time.

a screenshot from Versions
a screenshot from Versions

Seventeen Gallery: In related speculation framed by a documentary video installation that forms the second and final element of the exhibition (also titled ‘Versions’), Laric suggests that in the contemporary age certain creative protocols are, in a more general sense, similarly challenging the hierarchy between ‘auratic original’ images and those determined to be derivative (and therefore of secondary importance).

It reminded me of one of the things we’ve discussed in Ms. Plewe’s Cyberarts class last semester (during my exchange at NUS) and how a lot of images can be traced back to a more “classic” copy, and most of the images in contemporary times have become an example of that sometimes subconscious copying. It’s like more and more difficult to become “original” that sometimes the “original” is merely a fresh attempt to reintroduce what has been already made, or already great.

The thing is, I realized that getting “inspiration” from works of already acclaimed artists (be it paintings or sculpture, music, writing, poetry, or anything else) seems to “upgrade” a person’s aesthetic standard. Maybe it’s just my personal experience, but even history showed how architecture, for example, had stemmed from copying Greek or Roman styles and columns and then branched out into the Gothic, etc. (yes, I’ve been reading Alain de Botton) until eventually more styles were born, modified, edited, died out, and then revived. The same goes with most artworks (or styles of art).

It’s hard to think there would be any kind of artistic revolution soon (revolutions that gave birth to Impressionists, for example), and while it’s not impossible, I think creating mere “versions” of classic or age-old art/designs will just keep on going in a cycle.

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