Disegno 2016/1-2

Copytheft – Cultural Practices Transgressing Copyright Boundaries

As Disegno is an open-access journal, by clicking on the title of each article you can either view or download the full article in PDF.

You can download the whole issue 2016/1-2 of Disegno here.


Undoubtedly, the most important concrete motivation behind the call for papers of this issue was the belief of the editorial staff that the real transmission of ideas is a tool for the reduction of inequality. This is the reason why we think that the defense of intellectual property, copyright and patents are among the major tools of global capitalism to maintain social and economic inequality. Disegno not only fights the limitation of the transmission of knowledge through the choice of its topic, but also through the fact that it is published according to the standards of open-access academic publications, under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. This issue is thus also a protest against the enormous and immoral profit making of commercial scholarly publishers, which are the main barriers to the free circulation of knowledge, and are the clearest examples of the privatization of knowledge created by public funding.

The papers assembled in the current issue evolve around the already canonical topic of the crisis of the author and of the artwork or the design product itself. We were interested in research papers that targeted artistic or design practices that were based on copyright infringement strategies that tried to circumvent or directly question copyright laws and practices. Our original idea was to critically investigate and better understand the currently fashionable cultural phenomenon of open design in the broadest possible sense, with special attention to the different traditions of transgressing copyright boundaries and suspending the power control of intellectual property that impedes truly democratic creativity and innovation. In addition, we were also interested in the analysis of redesign, remake, and remix practices that question the very idea of exclusive authority in design culture.

Megan E. Blissick, Belinda T. Orzada: The Effects of Design Protection Legislation on Manufacturer Motivation

This theoretical paper reviews the motivational factors of design protection legislation on knockoff manufacturing in the United States. Since at least the early 20th Century, U.S. apparel designers have requested design protection legislation. In fact, more than 90 attempts have been made to gain legal recognition and protection for original apparel designs through the U.S. legislative system since 1914. In France, however, from the time of Charles Frederick Worth, rules existed concerning what qualified as couture design, and over the following years, design protection in Europe evolved to continually protect creative design. In contrast, the United States continues to have limited design legislation that fails to protect fashion design. Parties in opposition to increased protection argue that legislation will stifle creativity, whereas parties in support counter that protection will encourage designers to create. This paper proposes the necessity of future research based on Tedmond Wong’s Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act (IDPPPA) Game Theory Model to gauge the effect of design protection legislation on apparel manufacturer motivation to knock off designs. While this paper does not test the proposed research, it provides background supported by analysis and synthesis of current facts, data and research literature, and proposes directions of inquiry that may support design protection legislation.

#United States, #knock off, #apparel manufacturing, #motivation


Amanda Queiroz Campos, Luiz Salomão Ribas Gomez: Fast Fashion and Globalization: Study of Florianópolis’ Sister Store of the Spanish Fast-Fashion Retail Chain Zara

This paper consists of a comparative study of the contextual contrast between data from the business model of the Spanish brand Zara, and data from the brand’s sister store in the city of Florianopolis, located in the south of Brazil. The data collection methods were participant observation in the local shopping mall store, and semi-structured interviews with employees and former employees of this store. Theoretical references to globalization, fashion and modernity ground this study. The aim is to investigate the non-hegemonic aspects of globalization in the specific case of the importation of the Zara brand—which operates as a fast-fashion company—to Brazil. The study contends that the speed of change in fashion trends is characteristic of modernity’s radicalization, and that the copying of Zara’s business model and products by national and local companies is characteristic of popularization of fashion products. The extent to which fashion is a non-hegemonic system is considered through Zara’s “inspired appropriation” of great designs from prêt-à- porter collections as well as the reproduction of Zara’s clothes by other Brazilian fast-fashion retail chains—for example by the local Sul Center. The dynamism generated, among others, by the copying mechanism stimulates the creative efforts of fashion designers, making fashion an even stronger creative center.

#Zara, #fashion, #fast fashion, #globalization


Massimo Menichinelli: A Framework for Understanding the Possible Intersections of Design with Open, P2P, Diffuse, Distributed and Decentralized Systems

Since the turn of the century, the discipline of design has increasingly focused its attention on its application to projects and groups of users at a larger scale. Researchers and practitioners have tried to understand how design could shift its focus from single users to local and online communities, from isolated projects to whole complex systems. These new perspectives consequently brought the interest of designers to the tools and strategies that can enable their interactions with larger groups of people distributed in several localities. More specifically, designers and researchers started adopting many approaches coming from software development and web-based technologies, like open source, P2P, diffuse, distributed and decentralized systems. This article proposes a preliminary framework for understanding and working with the integration of design with open, P2P, diffuse, distributed and decentralized systems. In one direction, such open, P2P, DDD systems can be applied into design practice: this first intersection has many applications, from digital projects to P2P-based initiatives to physical projects designed and manufactured on global networks of distributed laboratories like Fab Labs and Makerspaces. In another direction, design practice can also have a role in enabling such systems through the analysis, visualization, and design of their collaborative tools, platforms, processes, and organizations. Design, therefore, could learn from such systems and also improve them. This second intersection falls into the meta-design domain, where designers can have a role in building environments for the collaborative design of open processes and their resulting organizations.

The article therefore addresses this phenomenon by providing both an analysis of the concepts and the history of both directions and, in order to understand the phenomena with a broader overview, it proposes a preliminary framework for understanding the possible intersections of design with open, P2P, diffuse, distributed and decentralized systems through both literature and case studies. As the framework is still preliminary, the article provides as a conclusion some possible strategies for validating or improving the framework.

#open design, #peer-to-peer, #distributed systems, #meta-design, #mass-participation


Deanna Herst, Michelle Kasprzak: On “Open” Authorship: The Afterlife of a Design

This article discusses the ramifications of open design for “author-driven” contexts in the curriculum of the Open Design program (profile: Social Practice) at the Willem de Kooning Academy, University of Applied Sciences, Rotterdam, as a primary case study. We intend to question the supposed juxtaposition between the principles of open design (sharing, participation) and traditional notions of authorship (exclusivity) by investigating “open authorship”. Moreover, how could the aesthetic dimension contribute to a socially or individually relevant “afterlife” of the design for the user? Open design is defined as design whose creators allow it to be freely distributed and documented and condone modifications and derivations of it (Abel, Bas van, and R. Klaassen, 2011). It mainly borrows from two traditions: open-source technology (accessible digital fabrication) and participatory design (social involvement and relevance). These perspectives secure the “afterlife” of a design the user iterations. Besides these user-driven domains, we can also witness the emergence of open design in ‘author driven’ design fields. Besides open source software and online sharing, the visual language and open-ended structure of Jens Dyvik’s Layer Chair (2012), for example, provokes user iteration. In its afterlife, his chair becomes an object in flux. This open form of authorship questions the author’s exclusivity, embodying a paradigm shift in authorship. This paper also explores the notion of “open authorship” through examples from the Open Design program of the Willem de Kooning Academy, University of Applied Sciences, Rotterdam. One of the objectives is to investigate the as yet underexposed aesthetic tradition of open design and its possible relevance for art and design education. This is embodied as “open form”, a (historical) perspective on openness from an author’s point of view (Wölfflin 1929, Eco 1962, Hansen 1959, Raaijmakers 1988-92). We discuss how a series of open-design methods and working with “non-expert expert” communities have encouraged new design approaches to aesthetics and participation. The results show that an aesthetic is not necessarily about beauty, but more importantly functions as evidence of a process that allows for flaws to become a part of a product. We believe these are the hallmarks of an emerging “open design aesthetic”.

#open design, #open authorship, #open-design aesthetics, #knowledge sharing, #participation, #non-expert experts, #social design


Dr. Robert Phillips, Dr. Matt Dexter, Professor Sharon Baurley, Professor Paul Atkinson: Standard Deviation — Standardization and Quality Control in the Mash-up Era

Standards touch many aspects of our lives, from purchasing to consuming, to maintaining product consistencies (e.g. ISO 9001). Standardization aids replicating: compliance, quality and durability to diffuse geographic areas, driving innovation by providing constraints (BSI). Historically, standardization was a cornerstone for commerce enabling traders to interact, trusting accurate measures, used in judging a product’s worth. Open Design utilizes Internet-accessible digital making platforms, for creating and disseminating ideas. The rise of Fabrication Laboratories and distributed digital manufacturing (e.g. domestic 3D printing) has increased accessibility of high-quality manufacture. Design agents as well as designers can create products; either for personal use from the bottom-up, or re-appropriate another maker’s solution. Reciprocity is key to the process. As such, in this paper we refer to design agents, rather than applying labels of “professional” or “user”. However, as design agents become enabled to produce complex artefacts, “objective validation” for shared blueprints quality, becomes imminent. For example, 3D printing is reviving DIY toymaking, with materials that can degrade overtime, potentially presenting choking hazards. Due to this status quo, the authors are not presenting lawsuit opportunities, but preventative procedures whilst encouraging proliferation of design agent led Open Design. Regulatory requirements for sectors touched by “open phenomenon” are unprepared. How can maker communities, design agents and others lead the way in promoting ways of working that enable robust quality control in open environments? To answer this question, interviews with British Standards Institute (BSI) representatives were triangulated with design workshops. This participatory approach to knowledge creation was chosen due to its inherent compatibility with the theoretical underpinnings of Open Design. This paper presents models exploring “standards integration” for Open Design purposes, enabling design agents to create “compliant” outputs, to benefit all. We conclude that there are possible avenues for standardization, but that this must be tested in the field.

#open design, #digital manufacture, #industry standards


Gábor Pfisztner: Photography — Remaking Life, the Universe, and Everything

In this paper, I discuss some important characteristics of photography from a technical and historical perspective that are related to the cultural phenomenon of remix, which, in turn, casts a different light on the invention and use of photography through its almost hundredeighty year history. First I outline the most important aspects of photographic practice that are affected by or related to activities that can be described as remix, redesign, or reuse. Then I point out the possible meanings of remix in contemporary culture in compliance with recent studies, and I also recall the basic structural features of remix. Later on, I also draw attention to the significance of this technique as a kind of bricolage as Lévi-Strauss described the work process and the attitudes of the bricoleur. Bearing this in mind, we can realize that the invention of photography and some later technical improvements to it (as in pictorialism) make the similarities to the procedure of remix obvious. Another important aspect of photography is how it remixes our memories and rearranges our remembrance with different images, compiling almost every kind of visual impression provided by photographic techniques and procedures with our own images into new and more (or even less) complex memories. By reflecting on the structure of remix, I emphasize the importance of the term Aufhebung used by Hegel, mainly in his Science of Logic. I point to the potential of criticism in remix which can be observed in the usage of photography in avant-garde art, and later in the twentieth century with particular focus on appropriation in art. I also indicate how these artistic movements reflect on photography as one of the most important technical media that has formed our culture ever since.

#photography, #remix, #bricolage, #Aufhebung


Adela Muntean: The Algorithmic Turn in the Found Footage Filmmaking: The Digital Remake

With digital technology arrive new possibilities for close analysis, quotation, juxtaposition and live, or time-based, experiential forms of comparison: The Digital Remake refers to the contemporary practices which are recycling art cinema classics into new media “artifacts” through a process dependent on the new interstice of software, an algorithmically enabled work process, and the availability of the Internet. These works place emphasis on interface rather than physicality, and they play in-between and on constructing systems that handle and reconfigure pre-existing media into new patterns: artists create software that offer themselves and users a form of empowerment and control that creates an entirely different order of interactive narratives than the conventional ones. The following paper will examine Perry Bard’s Man With A Movie Camera: The Global Remake in the perspective of remake culture, participatory authorship, database narrative, and movies driven by a software algorithms to present the many elements through which the development of the avantgarde tactics of appropriation are using the language of new media. Secondly, the new contemporary ontology of analyzing movies as contemporary cultural data will be presented through similar approaches and projects as Lev Manovich is Visualizing Vertov.

#remake, #digital remake, #algorithm, #visualization


Dr. Christopher Brisbin: “I hate cheap knock-offs!”: Morphogenetic Transformations of the Chinese “Culture of the Copy”

Over the past twenty years, The People’s Republic of China has actively solicited Western architectural practices to design many of their iconic and internationally recognizable cultural icons, such as the stadia of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics; the Beijing National Aquatics Center (2003–8), designed by Australian architects PTW Architects; and the Beijing National Stadium (2003–8), designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. In such prominent cultural projects, Western architectural practices were partnered with local Chinese practices in order to catalyze cultural and knowledge exchange, and, more pragmatically, to document and administer day-to-day building construction. This article explores the philosophical implications that arise when this cross-cultural partnership leads to the illicit copying of Western-designed buildings in China, such as the Meiquan 22nd Century building’s (2012–) re-presentation of Zaha Hadid Architects’ Galaxy SOHO shopping complex in Beijing (2011–14). When Western architectural practices collaborate with Chinese partners on projects in China, many fundamental assumptions about Western Copyright Law, and the philosophical structures that underpin it, such as authorship, ownership, and originality, are fundamentally brought into question. The article instrumentalizes contemporary philosophical discourse concerning the relationship between a copy and its original by applying morphogenesis to the contemporary Chinese context. The article concludes that, rather than re-assembling the creative cultural capital of the West as reassembled Sino-Frankenstein “knock-offs”, China should embrace alternative philosophical and biological processes through which to generate new forms of “deviant originality”.

#copyright, #copying, #originality, #knock-off, #China, #morphogenesis, #identity


Giuseppe Resta: Models and Re-elaborations in Late Nineteenth Century Architecture: The Great Tower for London Competition

This paper explores the notion of plagiarism and re-elaboration of architectural form in the late nineteenth century (when the profession of architecture emerged), and the ensuing dispute between the École des Beaux-Arts and the École Polytechnique in Paris, which established a permanent split between architects and engineers. The proposed methodology involves the analysis of the international design competition for the Great Tower for London (1890), which describes the rise and the fall of the glorious plan to build a colossal steel tower in England. Sir Edward Watkin, the promoter of the project, was a member of parliament and a powerful railway entrepreneur. His aim was to build a landmark celebrating his company in an amusement park near Wembley station, which was built to serve this park. In retrospect, it is clear that the submissions were influenced by a model (Eiffel Tower), which was to be overtaken in terms of elevation (rather than formal evolution) and other formal prototypes already cross-referenced in the history of architecture—either real (Tower of Pisa) or imaginary (Tower of Babel). Watkin’s tower offers the opportunity to investigate a century-old design competition, the main archetypal forms of that period, their relation to the applicant’s geographical background, and their costs and materials. From the sixty-eight proposals, the winner of the competition was a three hundred sixty-six meter copy of the Eiffel tower. This leads directly to the idea of architectural prototype: as a new cultural object, the Eiffel Tower, like Crystal Palace, was neither meant to communicate its originality nor its author’s style (the creation process), but rather its ability to be a model, namely the social consequences its construction would disclose to the entire world. An intrinsic objective of this research is to revisit, through a specific case study, the innovation of architectural form in the landmark as representative of common utopia: What was the importance of originality in a late-nineteenth century design competition? In the age of European industrialization, how did architectural bureaucracy treat landmarks differently from today? Today we experience distributed creativity, fragmented answers to custom issues. Is common utopia finally dead? #architectural prototype,

#landmark, #plagiarism, #the great tower for london, #design competition


Dr. Dénes Tamás: A “Reinvented” City

In this essay I will interpret and analyse the process of restoration that has been under way in the past five to six years in the Transylvanian city of Sepsiszentgyörgy. I will use an aesthetical-
semiotic reading to uncover what meanings the places, buildings and public places of the city may specify for its inhabitants. My analysis aims to verify two hypotheses. My presumption is that the renovation of the city brings back ideologies of the bourgeoisie: that the designers are trying to symbolically reinvigorate 19th century civic ideals. At the same time, it is predictable that while this renewal is partially a reawakening of tradition that has been radically eradicated, the result can only be a conglomerate of dispersed, indicative, but ultimately empty symbolical forms which are mostly discredited by the very context they come to be in. Thus only a simulacrum of the old civic ideals can be achieved. In this analysis I also question the possibilities of urban development that exist for post-socialist cities of the Middle and Eastern Europe.

#post-socialist, #urban development, #bourgeoisie (citizenry), #simulacrum


Bea Correa: Authentic vs. Fake

Despite all efforts to eradicate counterfeit goods, we receive thousands of e-mails every day advertising anything from luxury label replicas to phony life-saving medicines. Every city has a crowded black market. And “Fake” is not merely limited to B-grade products: how many times have you seen a beautiful woman and wondered which parts were authentic? “Fake” has become one of the defining keywords of the current age, according to Mindwhatyouwear founder, Bea Correa.

#fake, #counterfeit, #trade mark, #knock off, #Louis Vuitton, #Galeria Pagé


Short Bios of the Authors and Editors

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