bid on Tue, 25 Sep 2007 16:47:24 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> The death of the Author 2.0


The (second) removal of the author is merely a historical fact.

The figure of romantic genius was born in XVIII century, since
this time, many speculations have been doing around the myth of
author and its aura. Then it has been the culmination of capitalist
ideology, which has attached the greatest importance to the "person"
of the author. The image of ideas to be found in ordinary culture is
tyrannically centered on the author, his person, his life, his tastes,
his passions. In the first decade of XXI century, the myth of the
author die.

The user-producer is a concept that speak to the digital experience
and the freedoms that this digital culture allow for ordinary people
to become artist and producer. This model fundamentally challenges
the traditional assumptions of author, it moves away from the idea of
the romantic notion of authorship, which saw authorship and cultural
production as an isolated activity of a genius sitting and creating
something out of nothing. In the act of copy, many usually in the
digital world, as we lose the concept of the original, we forget the
author ever more. So the only effective things that we remember and we
feel, are narrative codes and moral signs.

Some factors as the democratic diffusion of tools for create and
for spread content, the explosion of economy of imagination, the
sharing of intellectual products, the figure of prosumer and the
social network of web 2.0, these have desacralized the figure of
author, these have stripped its aura, it has been plunged in the
Pangea of Knowledge, which is the only one creator of human culture,
transversely in time and in place.

Authorship becomes indistinguishable from the multiplicity of authors,
this profusion transforms the culture and their creators in a unique
body. It's the collective intelligence, it's the return of the rules
of oral and folk culture. Collaborative creativity, influences, remix,
sampling, reshaping and mesh of diffuse publications of intellectual
products, from ideas and concepts, to arts and researches; these
are the causes that have diminished the character of originally,
individually and autonomy composition. Culture consists of multiple
writing, indeed, everything is to be distinguished. This multiplicity
is collected, united and this place is not the author, as we have
hitherto said it was.

So the author back to its old work of compiler, and its name isn't
important anymore. It's the inevitable way: ever more become difficult
to be sure of attribution, so it might not refer to a real individual.
Again as in the past, anonymous narrative contributions are the roots
of our culture and our perception of reality. Contemporary examples
of this social spaces are YouTube, MySpace, Digg, Delicious and Blog
Sphere in general. In the end, the fifteen minutes of fame for each
of us, go down to zero seconds, but each little piece of art becomes
infinitely more useful for human being. It's the forest that take
shape of tree, not vice versa.

The quote represents the culture itself as the principle of human
becoming, the improving of human thinking, from quoting to quoting,
from the evolution of ideas to others and their negation. The culture
is a tissue of citations, resulting from thousand sources of culture
and signs. The history of human thinking is a tissue of quotations
drawn from the innumerable centers of culture.

AS FOLK :: AS ORAL CULTURE :: AS networked culture.

Authorship, originality is of no or little relevance in virtually all
traditional forms of popular culture all over the world. Most folk
songs and folk tales, are collective anonymous creations in public
domain. Variation, modifications and translations are traditional
encouraged as part of their tradition. Much author founded much of its
wealth on folk tales, by taking them out of public domain and turning
them into proprietary and exploiting that.

The same is true for many works considered part of the high cultural
canon, crafted by unidentified, often collective authors: Homer's
epics for example, or the tales of 1001 nights, which were spread by
storytellers and of which no authoritative, 'original' written version
ever existed. In the middle age, and renaissance, original authorship
was even rather more disregarded than encouraged. Literally works
typically render themselves canonical by inventing new stories, but
rewriting existing one, so many adaptions of the same. Originality
of the work to recognize the value that various user contribute
through their modifications and adaptions to an existing work, thus
placing higher premium on collaborative production than on isolated
production. In fact the history of cultural production has, to a
large extent been the history of collaborative production, and this
is true in all kinds of human achievements. Many work considered part
of the high-cultural canon, crafted by unidentified, often collective
authors. Shakespeare was brilliant play writing we should also
remember the fact that he drew rather liberally from various source,
form history, mythology and the work of his peers, as inspiration and
as source of modify.

Language which speaks, not the author, linguistically, the author is
never anything more than the man who writes, just as is no more than
the man who says language knows a "subject", not a "person", end this
subject, void outside of the very utterance which defines it.

Work of art tries to set itself free from its artist, challenging
preconceived ideas or opinions, sometimes being able to exceed the
importance of its creator.

?Right or wrong, once these sayings get into the language they're 
impossible to eradicate?
David McKie


Beam me up, Scotty, David McKie, The Guardian, 2005,3604,1560194,00.html
OS Tactics for Collective Art Practice, Saul Albert, 1999
Death of the Author, Roland Barthes, 1967
Plagiarism, Madrid, La Casa Encendida, ArteLecu, 2005
Guide to open content licenses, Lawrence Liang, Piet Zwart Istitute, 2005
Du bon usage de la piraterie, Florent Latrive, Exils, 2004
The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Walter Benjamin, 1935
The reader, M. Eraso, A. Ludovico, S. Krekovic, 2006
Falso è Vero, Various, AAA, 1998
International Artistic Without-Sign Movement, Manifesto, 2005

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