My senior BFA Sacred Mediums was recently completed this Saturday and then dismantled this afternoon. Along with the building and development of the show I decided to produce a book and DVD compilation of images, writing, and video work from my show. The DVD was especially important in the package because I had decided not to place any of my final compositions onto the internet. Accordingly I also blocked access to my Master videos on youtube and vimeo making them unviewable because they were on the DVD too. In short I’ve made access to the artwork from show limited and exclusive.
A week before the show I notified any reader that I was removing these videos from the internet and that they should see the videos before they were gone. Some of my contemporaries thought this was a poor decision since I am denying a possible audience on the internet by reducing my work. But why should I show my work for free? Is it because I am afraid it will be stolen? Absolutely not I have no problem with media appropriation. In fact I think it’s ridiculous that music companies have a right to sue people who purchased music and then use it another work. Music is artwork and you should own that artwork as your personal copy and property and it’s yours to do with just like any other consumer item. If someone buys my DVD and decides to rip files from it and appropriate it I have no problem with that as long as I received payment for a copy of the work. And on the other hand putting all your work out does document achievement but it also opens yourself to be overtaken by competitors who can take your ideas and use them for their own gain and leave you dead in the water creatively.
The internet is an easy way to display videos because of its ubiquity and format friendliness that is passive and unforced viewership. But the idea that everything should be seen and given to all as free material isn’t utopian it’s thoughtless. Pirating material I feel will lead to some harsh repercussions in the future because real value is being lost on these items and I don’t mean retail value. If we all received videos or music for free a consumer is happy. But if an video or music item is owned in secret it discredited and made obscure by unknown number of owners. It also hurts artists not only financially but how can we ever truly know if our work is appreciated without forums? On youtube you can see a number of views, likes, and comments but what value can they really give to the video except viral popularity or to be unrecognized. Personally the internet has yet to bestow gold onto me and it’s rare for it to happen to anyone. In the end everyone will want every media file they can get and how can that increase the cultural appreciation of such art?
As for an audience I have none after I leave college so I didn’t see any harm in removing videos because they received the views from an audience that will be gone, the venue has closed. Instead I want to try what Matthew Barney has done with Cremaster and generate value through the demand of viewership not an option of viewing. Barney charges large amounts of capital for his films to be screened but it is due to demands of institutions and galleries who operate has temporal venues for him and then create an audience for his work. My own DVD and book are 12 copies currently made. 4 copies are in the hands of the other people and the others will probably end up in foreign hands one day too. Of course I’m only selling the documents for 35$ not thousand$ of dollars, and I do think the document is worth 50$. I am trying to control the value and destiny of my work like diamonds in a warehouse. But I am doing this to be elitist I am doing this because I am not 20th century fox…I am not a millionaire.