The Future Of Appropriation


Ace Hotel


The original title of this third in a series of talks hosted by FUTURE ARTIFACTS, contained the word piracy rather than appropriation. Yet the content brief refers to appropriation narratives and ideas. It is interesting to play with the definition of both terms, as different as they are from one another, there still lies a crucial overlapping in their interpretation.
Appropriation has become synonymous with modern and post-modern audiovisual cultures, whether it's hip hop's heavy reliance on recycling, referencing, adjusting and flipping old sounds as well as verses. Or easily available culture we so comfortably refer to as 'mainstream'. A simple adaptation appropriation, admiration even, of the trends, made available for the mass. Zara's yearly budget accounts for its surmountable law suits for 'ripping off' much more innovative brands, lately including Kanye West's Yeezy collection. But the question here is crucial, isn't Zara in an of itself at the height of innovation for simply acknowledging its capacity to imitate, distort in the slightest, and cater for all its audience's needs? In hip-hop culture, the more ingenious a verse or beat is, the more it references its predecessors, creating with it an entire new realm of possibilities with its crux pointing backwards. Is piracy then simply a term in need of reshaping in favour of the art of appropriation? An optimistic point, but one worth considering indeed.