Ownership & Authorship

ownership                      ways of seeing                      youtube

If we break down these constructed temporalities of media and media practice, we still run into the problem of who own and who authors this media. Here, John Berger’s work is crucial. The transmedial “Ways of Seeing” franchise addresses how art is owned but also how art moves through and in different parts of the social realm shifting cultural narratives. It is as if the media takes on a life of its own, yet this does not prevent structures of power (mostly capitalist) from exerting its claim of ownership over media. Virginia Kuhn’s work on YouTube sheds light on the precarious existence of media. Even when authorship has shifted and transformed through the editing process with fair use protections, ownership over media is still contested.
Ownership of media is precarious even when the media is produced by the author. Ways of seeing discusses how art is owned by specific individuals and its move into the art gallery, and it shifts to media and how it is presented. Art and media can shift cultural narratives depending on how it is presented but they can also be used by existing hegemony to reinforce ideas about the patriarchy, censorship, and a medley of other neoliberal capitalist ideologies. Who owns art, who owns media, really depends more on who uses art and media?
In a way, media takes on a life of its own, that is itself mediated by ideological impetus. When this happens, authorship also comes into question, after all, it is not the author who owns the media anymore, especially when we can take media and transform it, remix it. We can rework it. We can be authors, but not in the same way where authorship is the singular genius. Authorship is no longer about singularity but connectivity. We can be collaborative authors working together, being together.