Seminario Fundación Cisneros 2013: Promises of the Commons


In November 2013, I participated in Fundación Cisneros’s annual seminar in Caracas, Venezuela. The theme of the 2013 edition was Promises of the Commons: Authorship, Copyright, and Access in Contemporary Art. My presentation addressed “the right to copy”—how “the act of copying can help us rethink the idea of ​​subject, object, the alike and the different,” how it “raises questions around copyright and private property in contemporary art, and the practices of reproduction, appropriation and recycling as ubiquitous tools in today’s cultural production.” I spoke about the history of sculptural reproduction, the position of the plaster cast in the fin de siècle museum, the status of the copy and the role of unauthorized reproduction of texts by U.S. publishers during the colonial era, and the prospects of contemporary technologies, like 3-D printing, that dissolve the boundaries between object, image, and data.