Focus Artistic Research

originalcopy – Post-Digital Strategies of Appropriation

Michael Kargl

Institute for Fine Arts and Media Arts
In the context of digital technologies the copying of data material has become both omnipresent and invisible. “originalcopy” is an arts-based research project that examines the possibilities of this phenomenon and uses its own means – the means of the copy – to put it up for discussion. The project concentrates on the field of tension between the transience of digital technologies and the way in which these technologies express themselves in an artistic vocabulary. “originalcopy” is not so much interested in the results of copying than in the processes that lead to the results.

The starting point of “originalcopy” is the assumption that the original and the copy are not only rapidly coming to resemble one another, but that the phenomenon of the copy – also beyond digital contexts – has inscribed itself in artistic production processes in such a way that both categories can no longer be separated from one another. As the title of the project suggests, the two poles of original and copy have merged into a new entity and are productively employed in two ways: on the one hand in that “originalcopy” investigates the effects that this phenomenon has on current art production. On the other hand, in that the act of copying based on the moment of iteration is itself artistically applied.

With a web site as the main venue of the research, with the collaboration with selected artists and theoreticians, with lectures, books and exhibition that discuss the methodology of the project, the aim of “originalcopy” is to create a research context in which what counts is not the opposition of original and copy, but in which the oscillation between these two poles proves itself as an artistic practice. The research method used for this is termed performative research and describes a process based on the act of copying. This method arises not just out of the theme of the research project but as an artistic action also has a cyclical retroactive effect on the whole field of research.