Duchamp: First of the Napster Generation?

posted: 11-03-10
Dangerous Games (film still)
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The Web makes nearly all of us digital pirates whether we try to avoid appropriating copy-protected material or not. Every Youtube video that makes use of pre-existing footage, every snippet of pre-recorded sound, every famous image clipped and copied into a blog is fraught with both legal and metaphysical implications. Where is the original? Who owns it? How much revision is permitted -- or necessary -- before the "found" work of art becomes something to which we can sign our own name for "assisting" the readymade assemblage?

Perhaps acutely, avant-garde "freeware" site Ubuweb -- which incorporates significant Duchamp material as well as work from many other artists -- is at the center of these questions. Film journal Indiewire investigates.

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