Monday, April 16, 2018

CyArk creates a free 3D online library of cultural heritage sites!

"CyArk was founded in 2003 to ensure heritage sites are available to future generations, while making them uniquely accessible today. CyArk operates internationally as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with the mission of using new technologies to create a free, 3D online library of the world's cultural heritage sites before they are lost to natural disasters, destroyed by human aggression or ravaged by the passage of time."

The sites the company has documented include the Tower of London, Sydney Opera House, Masjid Wazir Khan, Xochicalco, and Flanders Field American Cemetery.

You can also see CyArk's TED talk here!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Front Range Art History Symposium and Baseera Khan exhibition

The annual Front Range Art History Symposium will be held at Colorado College in Colorado Springs on April 14, 2018.  Among the participants will be Julia Blue Arm, an education major at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, and Ashley Mingus, a masters degree candidate in Art History at the University of Denver. Information about the symposium is found here.

An additional draw to Colorado College is a current exhibit of the work of Baseera Khan at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College.

Acoustic Sound Blankets, 2017, Silk, felt, industrial sound insulation, gold custom embroidering, 90 × 85 inches   
Khan is a performance artist and sculptor working in New York. "She mixes consumerism with spirituality and treats decolonial histories, practices, and archives as geographies of the future." On Saturdays, the Fine Arts Center is open until 7:30 so there is plenty of time to visit after the symposium.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Fear No Fair Use! Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week 2018

This year, the fifth annual Fair Use/Fair Dealing week is February 26 to March 2.  In the context of this week, I would like to share information about an "Issues Report" to the College Art Association in 2014 and a subsequent article by the authors of that report in 2016.The authors of both address the constraints that US copyright seems to impose on artists, curators, and humanities educators, who are unsure of what their Fair Use rights are. The "Issues Report" was the first part of the project that lead to CAA's 2015 Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts

The initial survey for the report Copyright, Permissions, and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities included 100 artists and the membership of CAA, with 2,020 total participants. An online survey and 100 phone interviews provided the data for the report. The surveys included questions like "Have you ever avoided or abandoned a project due to your actual or perceived inability to obtain permission to use other's copyrighted works?" (34% said yes),  "Has your use of another's copyrighted work online, in connection with conducting or disseminating your work, even been challenged?" (94.7 % answered no), and "Have demands for fees... ever inhibited your use of a work?" (59% said no, 40.9% said yes).

In the penultimate section of the report, titled "Our Missing Future," the authors point out that fear of copyright, and fear of invoking Fair Use, can have a stifling effect on creativity and scholarship.  Anecdotal evidence in the report reveals research projects, exhibitions, thesis topics, and artworks abandoned or changed because of uncertainty about use of copyrighted material.

Indeed, entire areas of art scholarship may be missing from the record, because of discouraged scholars and researchers who tacitly agree that rights holders may be arbiters of the very subject matter of art scholarship. (p. 58)
Fair use, the report points out, is a "user's right and critical to free expression." (p. 16) Interestingly, perceived copyright disputes that never go to court tend to live vibrantly as legends that can have a chilling effect on creativity as well. (p. 22)
The primary problem in regard to copyright constraints faced by the visual arts communities of practice is members' own confusion and reluctance to use legal options. Because there is such a vital set of reciprocal relationships in this field, with professionals functioning both as creators and as gatekeepers, they themselves can address this problem. They can identify and clarify what are best practices in interpreting fair use within their communities of practice, and thus help further their work as scholars, museum professionals, and artists. (p. 59)
In the subsequent article by three of the four authors of the report, "The impact of copyright permissions culture on the US visual arts community: The consequences of fear of fair use," the authors emphasize the problem of censorship and self-censorship in arts communities because of vague threats from copyright holders.

Endemic concern about legal risk is thus radically out of step with any experience of direct challenge.... The lived experience of legal action or anything close to it appears to be vanishingly small. By contrast, the belief that copyright is fraught with threatening situations appears pervasive. The fear that rights holders will complain, however, appears more common and highly effective in the absence of any language to defend one's choice not to license. Most common is internal censorship and gatekeeping within the production process. (p. 2020)
 The creative use of digital technologies and art and scholarship using new forms of media are particularly vulnerable to fear of Fair Use. (p. 2024)  Fortunately, many artists working in new technologies are also activists--promoting copyleft and using Creative Commons open licensing.  As our generations become more savvy about technology and creativity, the arts communities may become less fearful of Fair Use and braver about exercising their rights to use fairly!


Aufderheide, Patricia, Tijana Milosevic, and Bryan Bello. 2016. "The impact of copyright permissions culture on the US visual arts community: The consequences of fear of fair use". New Media & Society. 18 (9): 2012-2027. Doi: 10.1177/1461444815575018

Aufderheide, Patricia, Peter Jaszi, Tijana Milosevic, and Bryan Bello. "Copyright, Permissions, and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities." Issues Report to the College Art Association, February 2014