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Stealing To Subvert

curated by Maija Martin and Winston Xin

list of works
Pixel Plunder©

Stealing to Subvert looks at the varying ways media artists pilfer, distort and rebuild images from our cluttered and omnipresent mediascape. Using clips from French films, social education films and pop music contests, the artists featured in this program position themselves as the illegitimate children of broadcast television, reusing images and ideas removed from their original context. Questioned in the discussion are issues concerning the sanctity of artists' copyright, cultural (re)appropritation and the relevance of authenticity: How much does an image have to be altered to become a new work? How much do you have to steal to become an outlaw?

Included as a part of this program is a curated group of web projects called Pixel Plunder©, featuring the work of seven artists who use the internet as their medium, where the ownership of ideas is ethereal at best.

Maija Martin is an independent media art curator and media artist based in Vancouver. She is currently working with RIXC, The Centre for New Media Culture in Latvia on a cross-Atlantic electronic music project.

Winston Xin is a Malaysian-born Chinese-Canadian media artist, curator and writer. His curatorial and artistic practice is centered around the ways in which media art and differing cultures meet, oppose, interface and dialogue.

List of works

Ten Little Indians
Dana Claxton
2003, Canada

A reconfiguration of Agatha Christie's 10 Little Indians.

Theme Song II
Tricia Middleton and Joel Taylor
2001, Canada

Borrowing its name from a Vito Acconci tape, Theme Song II re-packages the self-delusionsal banter of the Acconci tape in a formalized and much truncated version. Image and text combine to articulate the rampant image-based narcissism that permeates a society increasingly hung up on celebrity.

Nelson Henricks
2002, Canada

A techno-assemblage of scientific educational films, outer space and Lou Reed.

A Sunday Drive in the Country
Mark Curry
2000, Canada

The viewer is positioned as a passenger in the film Tirez sur le Pianiste, making an endless ascent toward the sun in a vague shimmering world.

She's In Control
Jeremy Drummond
2002, Canada

A slow-mo Britney is bombarded by her own spam.

Obsession Fetish
30 seconds
1998 Canada

An anti-commercial produced by Vancouver-based multi-media organization Adbusters.

Chopstick Bloody Chopstick
Wayne Yung and Shawn Durr
2001, Canada

A string of dead boyfriends and a pair of bloodstained chopsticks. Could our neurotic narrator be the victim of his mysterious new Asian boyfriend?

Linda Wallace
2001, Australia

Glamour and kitsch are the main components of the Eurovision Song Contest, images of which are manipulated and repositioned by Wallace to expose their underlying subtext.

Pixel Plunder© Web Project

curated by Michael Alstad and Michelle Kasprzak

reclaiming + inverting + revealing + suggesting + proprietary parody + satire + "aesthetic hacktivism" + re-organise + de-navigate + borrow + "erase contextual line" + sharing + re-creating + "trade mark" + jesus + mimic + challenge + copyright + suicide + love + "intellectual property" + "cultural cosmetics" + obsession + slavery

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Pixel Plunder© is seven web specific projects which range from a 'sanctioned' appropriation of the Tate Modern's website by Harwood from the Mongrel Collective; 0100101110101101.ORG Life Sharing which allows the viewer complete entry into the artist's computer and system folder; Duchampian Digital Readymades harvested through net search engines by MTAA Collective; Joanna Briggs' Haikoo which parallels and challenges the structure of web-based information by borrowing from and mimicking the popular search engine Yahoo; Negativland's Pastor Dick's Mailbox a long time associate who has been spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ since 1981; Trip Dixon's Cling Wrap & Gag – an organic remodelling of the interface meshed with a playable re-creation device, to I Love Mouchette... an obsessive love site found on the web which features 'borrowed' files from mouchette.org mixed with furtive snapshots of the famous reclusive 13 year old net art star Mouchette discovered on the streets of Toronto.

Access to Pixel Plunder© should be unlimited and total. All net art should be free. Mistrust authority – promote decentralisation. Pixel Plunder© should be judged by the net art, not bogus criteria such as degrees, age, race, or position. You create art and beauty on a computer. Computers can change your life for the better or worse. The good thing about Pixel Plunder© is that it's free, everyone who has a dial-up can see it and if you like it... take it.

If you are part of this culture, if you have contributed to it and other people in it know who you are and call you a net artist, you're a net artist.

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