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Statements on Appropriation (2009)
Michalis Pichler

1. if a book paraphrases one explicit historical or contemporary predecessor in title, style and/or content, this technique is what I would call a "greatest hit"

2. Maybe the belief that an appropriation is always a conscious strategic decision made by an author is just as naive as believing in an "original" author in the first place.

3. It appears to me, that the signature of the author, be it an artist, cineast or poet, seems to be the beginning of the system of lies, that all poets, all artists try to establish, to defend themselves, I do not know exactly against what.

4. Custom having once given the name of " the ancients " to our pre-Christian ancestors, we will not throw it up against them that, in comparison with us experienced people, they ought properly to be called children, but will rather continue to honor them as our good old fathers.

5. It is nothing but literature!

6. there is as much unpredictable originality in quoting, imitating, transposing, and echoing, as there is in inventing.

7. For the messieurs art-critics i will add, that of course it requires a far bigger mastery to cut out an artwork out of the artistically unshaped nature, than to construct one out of arbitrary material after ones own artistic law.

8. The authenticity of a thing is the essence of all that is transmissible from its beginning, ranging from its substantive duration to its testimony to the history which it has experienced.

9. Intellectual Property is the oil of the 21st century

10. Certain images, objects, sounds, texts or thoughts would lie within the area of what is appropriation, if they are somewhat more explicit, sometimes strategic, sometimes indulging in borrowing, stealing, appropriating, inheriting, assimilating... being influenced, inspired, dependent, indebted, haunted, possessed, quoting, rewriting, reworking, refashioning… a re-vision, re-evaluation, variation, version, interpretation, imitation, proximation, supplement, increment, improvisation, prequel... pastiche, paraphrase, parody, forgery, homage, mimicry, travesty, shan-zhai, echo, allusion, intertextuality and karaoke.

11. Plagiarism is necessary, progress implies it.

12. Ultimately, any sign or word is susceptible to being converted into something else, even into its opposite.

13. Like Bouvard and Pecuchet, those eternal copyists, both sublime and comical and whose profound absurdity precisely designates the truth of writing, the writer can only imitate a gesture forever anterior, never original

14. The world is full of texts, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more.


16. The question is: what is seen now, but will never be seen again?

17. Détournement reradicalizes previous critical conclusions that have been petrified into respectable truths and thus transformed into lies.

18. No poet, no artist, of any art has his complete meaning alone.

On December 11 2009 six one sentence statements originated by the "artist /author" for the purpose of this piece were mixed, in a container, with eighteen one sentence quotes taken from various other sources; each sentence was printed onto a separate piece of paper. Eighteen statements were drawn by "blind" selection and, in the exact order of their selection, join altogether to form the "statements on appropriation", for the presentation at Stichting Perdu, Amsterdam.

In the following bibliography the sources (...) may be found although no specific statement is keyed to its actual author.

Roland Barthes,"The Death of the Author", (1967)

Walter Benjamin, "Unpacking My Library "(1931), repr. In "Illuminations", (ed.) Hannah Arendt (1968)

Walter Benjamin (1936), "Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit", Frankfurt/Main 1963, p.15 (transl. http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/ge/benjamin.htm)

Marcel Broodthaers (interviewed by Freddy de Vree, 1971) repr. in "Broodthaers", Koeln (1994), p. 93

Ulises Carrión , "The New Art of Making Books", Kontexts no. 6-7, 1975 and repr. in Guy Schraenen: "We have won! Haven't we?", Amsterdam, (1992)

Giorgio de Chirico, repr. in "The New Five-Foot Shelf of Books", Allen Ruppersberg, Ljubljana (2003)

Guy Debord, "The Society of the Spectacle" Paris, (1967), Paragraph 206, (transl. Ken Knabb http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/debord/8.htm )

Guy Debord, Gil J Wolman, "Mode d'emploi du détournement" in "Les Lèvres Nues #8" (trans. by Ken Knabb "A User's Guide to Détournement" (2006))

Eliot, T.S. "Tradition and the Individual Talent" (1919), repr. in Frank Kermode (ed.) "Selected Prose of T.S. Eliot", (1984) London:Faber, p.37

Mark Getty, chairman of Getty Images in an interview with "The Economist", London (2000)

Kenneth Goldsmith , "Being Boring", in The Newpaper #2, London (2008), p.2, http://www.thenewpaper.co.uk

herakleitos, Ephesos (around 500 BC), quoted by Plato in "Cratylus" (fragment 41)

Julia Kristeva "Word, Dialogue and Novel" (1969), repr. in Toril Moi, (ed.) "The Kristeva Reader"

Comte de Lautréamont (Isidore Ducasse), "Poésies", London (1978), p.68

Daniel McClean and Karsten Schubert (ed), Dear Images: Art, Copyright, and Culture, (2002)

Allen Ruppersberg, "Fifty helpful hints on the Art of the Everyday" in "The Secret of Life and Death", LA (1985), p.113

Kurt Schwitters, "i (ein Manifest)" repr. in " Kurt Schwitters - Das Literarische Werk" (ed.) Friedhelm Lach Band 5, p. 120, Koeln (1973/1981)

Leo Steinberg, (1978) repr. in Schwartz, Hillel, Culture of the Copy, Zone Books, New York (1996)

Max Stirner, "Der Einzige und Sein Eigentum" (1844), Stuttgart (1972), S.16

see also: Douglas Huebler, "Variable piece #20", Bradford, Massachusetts 1970

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