01.12.18 – 27.01.19
Under the generic heading of “Assembly”, Agency initiates projects all over the world, that take the form of performances, exhibitions, publications and more. Now, KIOSK invited Agency to Ghent, for an exhibition and two assemblies.
Agency is an international initiative that was founded in 1992 by Kobe Matthys and has office in Brussels. Agency constitutes a growing “list of things” that resist the radical split between the classifications of nature and culture. This list of things is mostly derived from juridical cases and controversies involving intellectual property (copyrights, patents, trademarks, etc.) in various territories around the world.
The concept of intellectual property relies upon the fundamental assumption of the split between culture and nature and consequently between expressions and ideas, creations and facts, subjects and objects, humans and non-humans, originality and tradition, individuals and collectives, mind and body, etc. Each “thing” or controversy included on this “list of things” bears witness to a hesitation in terms of these divisions.
For Assembly (KIOSK), Agency makes a selection from its list of controversies based on the question: “What if common things got mutually included within art practices?” Intellectual property includes copyright, which protects “original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression”. However, copyright law hasn’t defined originality. Under the copyright framework, two elements are put forward in relation to originality. One, a work must be “the product of independent creation” and, two, must “exhibit at least some minimal degree of distinguishable variation”. This means that a “slavish copy” does not comply and that the work of authorship is seen as the author’s internal creative processes. The legal framework excludes the influence of external factors. But often it is difficult to distinguish internal from external factors during creative processes of making replicas. Courts have interpreted differently what originality requires. Some courts have granted protection for labour, skill, and investment on the “sweat of the brow” principle. This series of controversies will convene an assembly at KIOSK in order to bear witness.
exhibition text / press release / poster
Agency will organize the following two gatherings at KIOSK:
For these gatherings, Agency invites a diverse group of guests, coming from different concerned practices, to respond to the controversy in question. In the case of Thing 001928 (Give up yer aul’ sins) Agentschap engages a priest, a teacher, a literature historian, a child, a copyright researcher, an Irish citizen,... The purpose of the assembly is to re-invoke the moment of hesitation during the court case. This is meant not as much as a re-enactment of the judgment than as a “palaver” that prolongs the doubt during this case.