PPD Talk – Art and the Law: Henry Lydiate

The talk given by Henry Lydiate, a partner at the “Creative Arts Business Consultancy” Henry Lydiate Partnership was an expansive and broad overview of Copyright for Art and Creative Enterprises.
The talk began by talking about the Berne Convention, a late 19th Century international copyright agreement which currently applies to all but 23 of the world’s 195 as well as a slightly snide list of those 23 countries.

Additionally, Lydiate listed all of the various media to which copyright protection applied — to which the short answer is most every medium (see below).
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Lydiate then address the various national updates and addenda to the “base” of the Berne Convention: most notably the US & The EU (plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) each having their own respective particular rules on top of the Berne Convention. As he then listed, one of the key variations was the length of the copyright – most often applied as years after the death of the author: post mortem auturis (pma)

Lengths
Authors:
Berne – artist’s lifetime + 50 years pma
EU + Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein 70 years pma
Columbia – 80 pma
Mexico – 100 pma

Lydiate peppered his talk with images and often cited case studies to illustrate his point and provide evidence of the framework in action.

Photo-by-Rob-McKeever

One of the case studies brought up by Lydiate was that of Richard Prince and the Gagosian Gallery and the works ‘New Portraits’. The work consisted essentially of screenshots of Instagram posts, printed onto canvas and then hung in the Fine Art Gallery.

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As he had detailed elsewhere, one of the exceptions to art copyright law: fair use. Designed for Educational Purposes, for commenting on, quoting or parodying a work, it was used here by Prince in a motion to dismiss the legal suit brought against him by Donald Graham. The ruling was in favour of the plaintiff, that is against Richard Prince – that his use of Donal Graham’s photograph did not constitute fair use.

What I took away:

  • The main thing I took away from this talk was that copyright in automatic right afforded to you after the creation of work. The caveats to this are for fair use, and if the work was not substantially original to begin with. There is also the possibility to licence the work with or without specific conditions, and to transfer or sell the copyright to the work

 

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PPD: Greenfields Nursery Visit to Wimbledon

I and two other Wimbledon students assisted Rosie Potter in setting up a visit of the children from Greenfields Nursery to Wimbledon College of Arts.

The children were there for an afternoon workshop in the college’s Gallery, ‘Wimbledon Space’.

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We had previously visited the children at the nursery and spent a half a day not only spending time with and interacting with the kids but also talking to the full-time staff, the head and seeing the various activities in their schedule.

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For the day at the college, we had brought in a large amount of a material called ‘Zotek’ from a company called Zotefoam based in Croydon. The material was uniquely both malleable and rigid, came in several colours and was overall extremely versatile.

The children, in particular, took to the Zotefoam with total abandon: I was struck by how much they could do with it, from costume to structures to cladding. I was also struck by how little external stimuli or complex structure they needed to create work – the children were inherently playful, experimental and unrestrained.

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Moreover, the staff of the nursery were and are deserving of endless admiration, and I gained an enormous appreciation of their work. Keeping up with the energy of young children, day after day, as well looking out for their health and safety, managing complex and shifting social dynamics and all the other tasks entrusted to them is a mammoth undertaking. I managed some of it, with a large support structure of full-time staff and helpers on hand – and being honest, mostly I just played with them.

There is certainly a space for this kind of cross-generational creative outreach, as well as the incorporation of arts education from a young age. I saw first hand the dynamic creative space which this project, Rosie Potter’s project, engendered.

 

What I got from this:

  • Art projects and spaces that can be created for and with young children can be rewarding and engaging both for the participants and the creators, though they wouldn’t be possible without the tireless effort of nursery staff, helpers and volunteers. There is also something perhaps to be learnt from young children’s inherent playfulness and creative spirit.

Interim Show: Breaking Bread

For the Interim exhibition, I presented a piece entitled ‘Breaking Bread’.

IMG_0674I had been reading about happenings, here and here, and was intrigued by the idea of an art piece away from the formality of art, and the structures of an Artistic movement, I was frustrated by the levels of complexity and layers of

faux depth the art world could present at times. I was yearning for art to be about genuine human connection. I wanted to create something as dynamic as a conversation between two wildly different people.

The participatory aspect of a Happening means you are putting value into the work via your presence – and the culmination of this same value being added by each participant of the group leads to something greater than the sum of its parts: a group rather than a set of individuals. The participation allowed for an immediately dynamic and shifting art experience rather than a static art object. The piece fed off the natural richness of social dynamics and inclinations to bond, and using the social lubricant of food and drink – the work created a framework for these interactions. In this light, the artwork has become more than a passive object to be to be gazed upon, it is something to be experienced and has a mechanistic feedback loop of organic social interactions.

 

I looked into other artists who also want to open up this communication stream, Lucy Orta and her collaborative piece ‘The Meal’  was a particular source of inspiration for this event but I wanted to go beyond that, using my prompts, to open up a harder hitting discussion.

On sitting down at the table, each person would be sat directly opposite another participant with several things on the table between them – a large loaf of bread for sharing, some hummus dip, a selection of drinks and some ‘conversation prompts’ in 4 distinct categories:

  • Single Word Topics, e.g.  Depression, Soul
  • Hot Button Topics, e.g. Brexit, Gender Pay Gap
  • Questions, e.g. What is your fondest memory? What gives your life meaning?
  • Create Your Own Topic

 

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I designed these prompts to be hard-hitting, to delve further into social topics than polite conversation would normally dictate.

One of the key areas I’m interested in outside of my art practice is the intricacies and tension of politics. It’s a subject inescapable and ever-present. It rewards analysis and the building up of arguments, drawing on rationale and logic but also rooted in experience and worldview. This aspect is present in the work, but also acted as a catalyst – the divisive and fractured post-Brexit surrounding which the entire country found itself in could lead one to pessimism and isolation: this work was an attempt to fight against that urge and reconnect.

In another sense, the strength of this piece for me was how little it took for other people to open up to near strangers – opening up to others has been something I find incredibly difficult

  • What I gained from this:

Through this event, I reinforced an appreciation and understanding of how a simple act could prompt authentic connections; that I didn’t need anything overly complex to encourage people to share their intimate thoughts with another.

  • What I’m going to take forward:

What I want to take forward the most is the forming of connections between people, and utilising the impact storytelling can have to connect to each other’s narratives. I want to explore how much people can project and reflect upon their own experience instigated by the smallest external stimuli. Going forward I want to focus on creating a dynamic sharing piece and have myself be the catalyst.

I want to explore the unresolved tension of unspoken thoughts and probe deeper into the audience’s consciousness.

Final Piece: Recording & Editing

I recorded the audio for my final piece in the sound room using the RØDE NT2 mics. The microphones had shock mounts to mitigate against noise generated by shaking and pop guards to mitigate overly loud plosive sounds (the word ‘POP’ for example with the P sounding like a small bang). I also recorded in the dedicated studio rather than outside as  I wanted the crisp, clear recording this technique would give me.

Having recorded all the text in full takes, and sometimes repeating particular sections if I misspoke or if there was an external noise, I went through and extracted the sections I wanted to use based on the quality of the recording.

I used Adobe Audition to edit the footage. I used this particular software as it had the range of tools I required, specifically noise reducation and the large support community which would make troubleshooting easier and time effective when problems arose. It also has a range of useful tools when it comes to exporting – being able to select specific sections and export those as full files, and to specify exactly the format and the quality of the export, as well as settings such as mono or stereo.

Ambient noise reduction was a primary concern for the editing process as I wanted the final piece to be a clear voice with no interference. This involved capturing a Noise Print which gives a reference for the program as to what the unwanted noise sounds like on its own. This meant I could command the program to apply the filter to the entire audio file and remove the unwanted sounds.

In the second step of the Noise Reduction (process), when adjusting the strength of the Noise Reduction (a percentage) I had to strike a balance between removing hums and hisses and comprimising the actual voice footage – that which I wanted to keep. If I removed 100% of the noise using the Noise Print as a guide, the progam would accidentally remove key parts of the sound of the voice leaving it sounding tinny and hollow. Technically, the trouble was that the frequencies of the humms and hisses (the noise) that I wanted to removeo were the same as that of the human voice; my voice.

This balance of the strength and amount of noise reduction allowing for as much noise reduction as possible while still allowing for a full and rich sounding audio track without distractions.

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I then placed the extracted segments of individual lines into a new single timeline that included all the audio I wanted from the two recording sessions.  This meant I could treat all the individual excerpts as a whole piece of audio, and edit it to feel cohesive. This involved EQ balancing to normalise the volume and ….

 

  • What I gained from this

I increased my knowledge of audio editing software. Particularly how to isolate sound to create an immersive atmosphere, allowing the contents of the piece to transcend the limitations of live audio and let the listener get lost in the story.

  • What I’m going to take forward

In future when recording I’m going to ensure the original recording is as close to perfection as possible so less editing is required. Editing is extremely time-consuming with diminishing returns and so ensuring a proper set up as early as possible would mean I could be as productive and efficient as possible and allow me to focus more on the content of the piece.

 

 

 

PPD: External Recording – LCC

Uncertainty Playground: FutureMakers‘ was a series of events run at the London College of Communication in September- October 2017.

I was employed for one day to assist with two events: A DIY Instrument Making Workshop with Hackoustic as well as a Percussion Performance and Workshop. I got the job from a contact at Wimbledon who had recently transfered to Elephant & Castle campus.

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The organiser was very invested and it was a hands on installation and set-up, of which my part was to help where I could, although my main task was to record the live performance.

Because the performance involved a fair number of different instruments lain across the space that the performer would go between, I set up two mics in an XY pattern generally used for choirs and the like. This would give an impression of the space and acoustics, as well as allow you to orientate yourself to the movement of the performer around the space.

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The other half of the day was helping Hackoustic with their workshop and set-up, although they were extremely self-reliant and had bespoke kit that they’d built themselves. The workshop involved making instruments – a rudimentary electric guitar striped down to its basic components – using a standard rectangle timber as the base.

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This was part of the reason why I couldn’t offer much help to Hackoustic – I didn’t know the material well enough to help teach the workshop participants. So instead, I helped with basic tasks and anybody who was stuck during the workshop, though if it was something complex, I often ended up calling over one of the two main guys. and learning from them in the process.

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For the Percussion Performance, I knew the gear and knew what I was doing, for the Instrument making workshop, far less so – however I did the best I could and learnt as I went.

What I got from this:

– I had a lot of responsibilty with this event, the recording I made was for both promotional reasons but also the documentation and proof the event happened. If I had messed up the recording, it couldn’t be recreated.

 

http://events.arts.ac.uk/event/2017/9/16/Uncertainty-Playground-FutureMakers/

PPD: LCC – Exhibitions Assistant

I was hired through Arts Temps to do an audit of the exhibition spaces and resources for the London College of Communication (LCC).

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This involved painstakingly going through the exterior storage spaces of plinths, vitrines, placards, and other exhibition assets documenting each with measurements and reference photos into a spreadsheet.

The job also required creating floor plans of each of the exhibition spaces (there were some plans already created, though I was advised to start from scratch as the measurements were unreliable on them). I used a combination of laser measure and tape measure to capture the dimensions and added them to rough sketches of the space. I also took reference photos for any intricate or complex shapes.

Well GalleryAt home I used Adobe Illustrator to create digital floor plans and transfered the dimensions from the sketches. I perhaps could have been using AutoCAD’s architecture software offer, but was more familiar with the Adobe Workspace as well as more confident in navigating the support available for the Creative Cloud.

The whole assignment (including the creation of the digitial plans) was undertaken over several days over the course of around a week and a half, as I had to fit it around my Uni schedule, as well sporadic negotiated access to the spaces.

It certainly broadened my skillset as well as giving me an insight into the audit and beaurocratic needs of public gallery spaces.

What I got from this:

I learnt how to use Adobe Illustrator and gained an appreciation for the demands of running a public facing gallery space.

What I’m going to take forward:

I can now create these sorts of plans for future spaces and can be more accurate with the specifics: for example, my degree show final piece’s showing space, meaning I could talk to the suppliers and technicians with accurate details and understandings of what I would need.

 

PPD: Benefactors’ Reception

I got an ArtsTemps job through to assist in a Textiles Screenprinting workshop for the UAL Benefactors. The event was held at Chelsea College of Arts in the printmaking workshop. Having not worked with textiles much before, myself and Alex were run through the main differences between printing on paper vs textiles and then started prepping the space ready for the guests.

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The screens were already exposed, so our role was to teach and assist those who had never screen printed before, as well as more practical responsibilities such as prepping the tote bags (newspaper had to be put inside the bags to stop the ink leaking through to the back face) and cleaning the screens.

Levels of experience of the workshop participants varied hugely, with some having never screen printed before, whilst some were very much well versed in the medium – so we had to tailor the level of instruction and support we gave to each person, whilst often trying to oversee around 4 or 5 people each.

What I got from this:

  • The night’s work gave a great insight into the responsibilities and business that come with assisting in a workshop in general, especially one for complete novices. I gained the skills necessary to balance these responsibilities effectively.