Saturday, February 11, 2006

Age of Empires

Long time ago... pirates were heros. It just depended which side they were working for. The more gold and treasures they stole from the "enemy", the higher the condecoration they've got... while for the "enemy" the higher they would rank on their "most wanted criminals" list.

Things have not changed much since then. While many are supporters of "green pis", for other countries they are just a bunch of modern pirates. What about asking a group of hackers to design an interactive building?(via) or what about making a contest of fake phtoshoped pictures of urban legends? (read about those urban legends here). There's nothing wrong (I guess) with a little bit of humour. Problem is when you use false images to fake a scientific cloning experiment. (via) So, where is the line between acceptable and totally knockoff? Well... they say : "rumor has it" Meaning that if it's gossip... there's some truth on it or it becomes true. You know.. like that movie.

Newspapers have been faking images since... well, since it was made with just an x-acto knife! Dont't tell me you are one of those who believe in informercials showing amazing "before" and "after" pictures. For many years I did airbrush retouching... and believe me... there's nothing you can't fake: from making round and soft buttocks on some models (and disapearing all wrinkles of course), to making entire buildings, cars, and people disapear when they are not wanted... or making the whole moon match the thirds of a composition. Try to spot on the impostors on my pictures of the Jazz sundays at Auckland domain.

Not everything fake is just photoshop. Alison Jackson uses celebrity doubles to fake his unbelievable pictures. (via) There are for example, legal oil copies of famous paintings. You can buy a VanGogh for $150, or a Vermeer for $155, Mona Lisa coud be hanging on your livingroom for $165... I am seriously thinking about buying a fake Bourgereau, but it doesn't come cheap: $185.

TV shows like "lost" are just the same as some Simpson's knockoff episodes... you know, when they get cast away on a lost island like "lord of the flies". We recycle ideas... but then again, where sould we draw the line?

I remember a couple of years ago, the Designers Institute of New Zealand's design awards on the students category was a pair of shoes. Some months later, I found a very similar design from an european designer. I showed both pictures to my students... some of them said that in deed they looked similar, but there were some differences, so you can't say they are identical. During a student's exhibition a couple of years ago, I told the teacher that one of the projects was disturbingly similar to something published on the book "spoon". He agreed and said: "Yes, I know, but what can I do?"

So, I guess it is OK to recycle and re-develop... Have a look at "the knockoff project". There are some copied album covers which are sometimes even better or more famous than the originals. like: The Clash's London Calling.

At least there are some "honest" fakes... I talked before about Bansky's pranks to hang fake pictures on the walls of serious museums. But there are many more "pranksters":

    "two artists (a duo known as 0100101110101101.ORG) put up a container on a place in Vienna, Austria, "explaining" how it would be renamed "Nike Place" Inside the container was a very professional exhibit showing how Nike was planning to "buy" streets and other places, put up a gigantic red swoosh (its symbol) on the plaza. Another example: the "audio tooth implant" : you go to the dentist and you get a wireless microchip implanted in your tooth, augmenting in-body communication capabilities - needless to say, there was an uproar about the idea. The same happened with a provocative artwork called Bioteknica, by Shawn Bailey and Jennifer Willet. The website looks pretty scientific and credible, but it's a fake project on manipulation of the human orga(ni)sm. " (via)

There's no moral to this story... piracy, recycling, counterfeit, knockoff ... it's just human nature. If you need help... visit the "counter counterfeit commission" Just... DON'T try to buy a car from or get your news feed form the onion... OK?

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