In an exchange below, a reader and I have gone back and forth over the art-making strategy of appropriation, a discussion brought up by the lawsuit announced against artist and Yale MFA student Chris Moukarbel, whose World Trade Center was a 12-minute video piece made using portions of the screenplay for the forthcoming Oliver Stone film. He posted this statement to the thread, but I thought I’d bring it up to the main page as it succinctly outlines the specifically political intent behind his piece:
Firstly, I wont be able to address all aspects of this issue pending litigation. I graduated last month from an MFA program and I made World Trade Center 2006 as part of my final thesis at school. I make site-specific video, sculpture and installation, often using found media or objects as my source. My projects explore the idea of memorial, fiction, and the way in which politically driven events are edified. This project was created as commentary on Hollywoods presumed authority to write history. Through their depiction of a historic event, they are ultimately in the postion to influence ideas and effect policy.
Using Stone’s script was the meaning of the work. I’m not a commercial filmmaker. Offering their story for free online was a statement on their 60 million dollar effort. I explicitly stated on my site that the video was made using their script so I didn’t see the need for the side-by-side comparisons in the press. Though I can’t speak to ‘Fair use for the purpose of political commentary’ in copyright law, I can say that I wasn’t trying to make a point about appropriation. I was using that strategy to make a statement about power.