The Digest – April 29th, 2012

©Garry Winogrand – via A Private View

Issue #4 is looking good. It’s been a busy few weeks and I’m excited about the projects and collaborations we have in the pipeline. I expect things to pick up around here over the summer.

Magnum in America, Magnum on Tumblr

It’s been interesting to watch Magnum operate online. Over the last couple of weeks they’ve launched two projects online that are worth following. I’ve discussed these with a few people and the reaction has been lukewarm. I think it’s great they’re out there trying new things and connecting with their community but I’m not sure they’re executing in an interesting way. I’m in the process of writing an article about these type of ‘in progress’ projects because I think there’s something interesting going on but I also think there are some missteps. More later! For now, take a look and judge for yourselves.

©Paul Schiek – via Bryan Schutmaat

Links of Note

A Conversation with Jonathan Lethem: Excellent interview with several nuggets worth sharing.

….even for one such as me who could just placidly go along ignoring this whole fuss, I actually have a very powerful motive for throwing everything I have, rhetorically, passionately, emotionally onto the side of the copyleft, and the reason being that the other side tells a lie about what artists do and how they really think and feel and thrive. And also, there is a risk for every artist of damage being done not just to the ethos of how art is made, but to the actual traditions and behaviors. If more and more people really buy into this image of the Promethean isolated creator who’s only legitimate because he invents out of nothing — and it really informs the culture and the laws and the way art is taught and the way art is received — it’s propagating a dangerous befuddlement about how we really go about things. We’re in a really messy area. We pick stuff up and we fool around with it and it’s stuff. It’s stuff that’s around us. Some of it is owned, in some sense, by someone else and some of it isn’t, and sometimes we don’t even know, and sometimes we’re doing it half consciously. And we must. We must do all of these things. There’s no other possibility

Instagram, The Nostalgia Of Now And Reckoning The Future: More Instagram commentary.

We’re in a cultural moment that prizes artisanal, small-batch, hand-cranked everything, and when it comes to art and technology – already a dicey intersection – plenty of folks are pining for old-timey, nuts-and-bolts craftsmanship, even if they’ve never experienced it firsthand and aren’t prepared for all the work it takes to actually achieve. For whatever reason — the acceleration of culture, the odd loneliness of a virtually lived life, skyscrapers, cubicles, the decline of manual production — we’re collectively nostalgic for “simpler times” (of course, the notion that life’s ever been simple is probably humanity’s wildest and most self-perpetuating cultural con). We want our art to reflect that foggy longing; what we don’t want, necessarily, is an actual backwards slip.

You Don’t Own Anything Anymore: A  good take on copyright and social networks.

Say you draw a picture. You literally own the paper and the ink that you used to draw it, but the thing you have a copyright for is intangible: it’s the pattern, the shapes, the design. If someone comes along a steals your drawing, they’re stealing your property. If someone takes a photo of your drawing, they’re violating your copyright. “When you say you own a photo,” says Lastowka, “you really mean ‘I have the exclusive right to reproduce my photo.’”

In a world where sharing a photo is strictly a matter of getting another copy made and mailing it, or getting it published, copyrights are pretty easy to keep track of and these laws hold up pretty well. Sending a physical photo to your grandmother goes like this: you either put the picture in an envelope and send it, or you get a copy made yourself and send that.

Sending your grandmother an email photo, though, might involve copying your photo five or six times; first to Google’s servers, then to another server, then to an ISP’s CDN, then to AOL’s servers, then to your grandmother’s computer. As far as you’re concerned, this feels exactly like dropping an envelope in the mail. As far as copyright is concerned, it’s a choreographed legal dance.

©Andrea Botto via Time