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"So Many DJ" / "MyLegalVisualMemory"

MIT Comparative Media Studies Student Steve Schultz and ISP Fellow Julia Sonnevend

"So Many DJs: Creative Flourishing on the Fringes of Networked Media" - Steve Shultz, MIT CMS Student

Musical artists have long made use of prior works in their own creations. However, the growth of media commercialization, the development of more restrictive copyright law, and the emergence of broadcast technology have all discouraged the creation of derivative works. Networked digital technologies, on the other hand, multiply the speed and connectedness of artistic sampling. The remix duo 2 Many DJs stands on both sides of some emergent borders of contention— the legal and the illegal, the old and "new" media, and the for- profit and non-commercial. A vibrant community of fan remixers and file-sharers has continued to multiply the creative production of the musical act. 2 Many DJs represents a case study of how creativity can flourish or be suppressed depending upon which side of these contentious boundaries an artist dwells. This paper will examine the ways in which 2 Many DJs builds upon the "illegal art" legacy of artists such as John Oswald, the Evolution Control Committee, and Negativland. It will discuss the ways in which the duo has made use of broadcast media to win a broad audience and to avoid copyright liability that is applied more aggressively to recorded media. It will also explore the group's financial sustainability through a combined non-commercial and for-profit technique that resembles what Yochai Benkler calls the "Scholarly Lawyer" model. The case of 2 Many DJs demonstrates that illegal, non-commercial, new media has the potential to foster an especially vibrant creative space that challenges the trajectory of incumbent creative industries.

About Stephen

Stephen J. Schultze holds a 2002 BA in computer science and philosophy from Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI). Before coming to MIT, Schultze served as a Project Pirector at the Public Radio Exchange in Cambridge, MA. His research as a graduate student in Comparative Media Studies focuses on Communications policy and the Public Interest.

"MyLegalVisualMemory. The Visual Memory of Law in the Convergence Era" - Julia Sonnevend, ISP Fellow

The aim of this paper is to explore how various disciplines have considered the relationship between visual culture and the law, and how their efforts can be used to develop the theory of visual memory of the law in the era of democratic, participatory culture. After examining the cultural characteristics of the democratic legal visual memory I then analyze whether this change influences the sociological legitimacy of the law. The paper claims that until the latest stage in the digital revolution characterized by the interaction and coordination of a multiplicity of technologies and platforms the construction of the visual memory of law was not democratic, it was dominated by those images the judicial system allowed and which mass media chose to distribute. Even if unaffiliated individuals (individuals associated with neither media nor government) captured and distributed photographs of law-related events, the images produced by mass media dominated the construction of the cultural memory of law. In the convergence era, the general public—aided by the proliferation of digital cameras and spaces with which to share their images—can now play a role in constructing the image of law. Thus, a single digital photograph can change the political and cultural context of every relevant legal moment. How to construct the visual memory of law in this era of democratic culture and convergence is one of the crucial questions of democracies in this decade.

About Julia

Julia Sonnevend is an LL.M. student at Yale Law School, a student fellow with The Information Society Project at YLS and an assistant professor in the Department of Communications, Institute for Art Theory and Media Research, Eötvös Loránd University Budapest. She received her Master of Laws degree and her Master of Arts degrees in German Literature and in Aesthetics from Eötvös Loránd University and studied one year at the Humboldt University, Berlin. Sonnevend is interested in the intersections between legal theory, art history and cultural studies, her research areas include: cultural memory, representation of law in art and media; art and activism; law and performance; digital archives; audiovisual archives, access to knowledge; media criticism, post-socialist identities, feminist theories, contemporary Hungarian and German literature, grief work and trauma in contemporary art.

Past Event
Apr 18, 2007
1:45 AM - 1:45 AM