free culture exhibit

FREE CULTURE (svobodna kultura) Co-curated by Daphne Carr and Jiri Hula

Dox Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague, CZ (March-May 2010)

National Library/Národní knihovna České republiky (2011)

Free Culture Exhibit at Dox

The exhibit raises questions about the limits of the “private property” model of creative work in the digital era. It address authorship in the era of collaborative creativity, non-profit artistic production, inexpensive or free online distribution, widespread practices of sampling, and accessibility of work that has been digitized and that can be collected into archives. The exhibit focuses on the creator’s control over the manner of their work’s use after publication and in circulation, asking what goals one has for publishing work — profit, prestige, or social good.

Through text, documents, and image we engage the philosophy of “intellectual property” in the Czech Republic and worldwide, and trace the rise of alternative copyright systems that challenge global intellectual property law and corporate control of culture. The exhibit focuses on the rise of the Creative Commons movement and the development of a simple system of licenses that allow authors to control their work. We look at the development and success of Creative Commons in three case study nations —the Czech Republic, Brazil, and the United States. The exhibit also shows the practical realities of contemporary artists and institutions who need to find new funding models as the economics of creative production shift dramatically.

The exhibit also ties the alternative copyright movement to its intellectual heritage—the practices of collage, satire, samizdat publishing, quotation and sampling–and to larger social questions about the benefits of cultural exchange through sharing and gifting. We present a selection of work that has consciously or retrospectively become “illegal art” for their sampling of pre-existing works, including Andy Warhol and Ji?í Kolá?.

The exhibit also presents Creative Commons-licensed tracks by prominent Czech musicians and an open-software remixing system for in-gallery and on-line remix.