Some artists use those materials intentionally, borrowing and adapting from known or little-known sources. We are constantly influenced by others, consciously or not. Adaptations are not copies, not rearrangements of puzzle pieces, they are new creations based on the ideas or concepts of older ones. They are new works, not mirror images or shadows of others. Good ones create new sparks and new forms that didn't previously exist.
A few artists are interested in this intermingling of forms and are willing to let you adapt their work for minimal, if any, cost.
- E.E. posts vignettes on her blog and invites you to adapt them or play off of them for free and however you like. She will re-post these "collaborations." I was inspired to make one of her pieces into a flexagon (sample of one printed side shown here).
- Jonathan Lethem has short stories and song lyrics that you can adapt or "mutate" for $1 (and signing a simple form) as part of his Promiscuous project. The material is non-exclusive, and he encourages playwrights and filmmakers to sign on.
- David Byrne and Brian Eno have a couple songs that are available for sampling or rearranging, songs that were initially made from sampled materials themselves.
These projects bring forward many questions. What does it mean for an artist to let go of a creation and offer it up for manipulation? How do we feel about ownership? How is an artist valued in society if s/he gives away work for free? Is making art like making food and therefore all should partake? What should the limits be? I've got a drawer full of question marks if you think you can use them…
|adaptation of Hedi Kyle's Pivoting Panels Structure|
In the book art world we've always shared our discoveries. After Hedi Kyle invents a structure she teaches it. Keith Smith writes about new developments, and Paul Johnson teaches and writes, but also has stated that he feels anyone could have created the structures and calls them "universals." Those are only three of the many people that have contributed, knowingly or not, to my art, and I'm happy to credit them. For us, I think this open exchange is a good path, and I hope we continue on it. Obviously, I like sharing new structures as the paths light up around them. To continue the work, I invite each person to adapt them to his or her own vision.