etcc: remixing the visual arts

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Applicants: Skye Reeve, Benjamin Reeve, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, Creative Commons Australia
Affiliation: Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, Creative Commons Australia
CC affiliated? Yes
Contact: Skye Reeve, Jessica Coates
Coordinator: Skye Reeve, Benjamin Reeve, Jessica Coates, Elliott Bledsoe
Project Start: 2010/12/01
Project End: 2011/12/01
www.etcc.tv - The website has been purchased and is currently being developed.Download budgetDiscussion

etcc is a remixable art exhibition that seeks to explore ideas of creation and appropriation in the visual arts sector. Elected artists will be asked to identify one or more CC-licensed works under an Attribution licence as a source of inspiration for a new derivative work. These new works will, in turn, be licensed under the same conditions and will be exhibited in a gallery in Brisbane, Australia before being further re-interpreted by artists in continuing exhibitions across Australia. An online web presence will additionally be established documenting the whole attributive process where further remixes will be encouraged; and, ideally, in a series of ‘growing’ exhibitions featuring the originals and downstream remixes.

The etcc project seeks to explore remix as a practical and creative reality in the visual arts - it invites artists to look at ways to legally reuse copyrighted works; encourages the creative community to better understand both their inherent rights and potential alternatives to the blanket of “all rights reserved” copyright law; and invites the audience to appreciate the appropriative nature of the artistic process, where one creation is transformed into something new whether obviously or conceptually.
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Detail the tangible project output (e.g., paper, blog post, written materials, video/film, etc.; this would be in addition to the final written report that successful grant recipients will be expected to deliver to CC at the conclusion of the project).


The project comprises three parts, each with discrete deliverables. All of these deliverables will be released under a CC Attribution 3.0 Australia licence.

Outputs of the exhibition include:

  • 10 – 20 initial works for exhibition and remixing from the initial exhibition;
  • equivalent numbers of new works from each subsequent exhibition.

Documentary outputs on the website:

  • a blog;
  • a digital catalogue of works exhibited;
  • online information resources about remix, appropriation and Creative Commons for the visual arts;
  • a digital media package that will include documentation of the exhibit as well as interviews with participating artists (video and written) both before and after their exhibition in order to detail their conceptions of Creative Commons, copyright and open-source licensing;
  • a documents pack including anonymized copies of any contracts/paperwork developed for the exhibition in order to give insight how the contractual legalities were worked out by the parties;
  • online resources detailing the model and encouraging others to undertake similar initiatives.

Further outputs:

  • accounts on related remix communities (ABC Pool has expressed interest – http://www.pool.org.au) and downstream remixes from these accounts;
  • prominent Australian remix artist Sampology (http://www.sampology.com/) has agreed to provide a pro-bono live remix performance as part of the launch of the exhibition, also drawing on only CC-licensed material, which will be filmed and made available under a CC licence on the etcc website;
  • Artlink magazine (http://www.artlink.com.au/) has expressed an interest in being involved in the project including possible advertising and editorial space in the magazine and on their website;
  • social media accounts for etcc.

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Describe the community you are targeting. How would the project benefit the community?


etcc targets the visual arts sector as a community in which awareness and use of Creative Commons is low. Outside online photography communities, remix and open content licensing as a creative practice does not have the prominence in the visual arts that it does in music and film. While implicit and explicit appropriation is common, the visual arts community as a whole has been a slow sector in their consideration of rights management practices.

etcc aims to engage with and educate the community through practical demonstration of both their immediate rights and potential liabilities, as well as their legal alternatives and licensing options. We believe that by leading by example with events in which talented artists source their inspiration from and contribute to the CC-licensed pool we will reach a much broader audience who are interested in participating in and attending exciting exhibitions on the cusp of change… technologically, artistically and philosophically.
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What is your relationship with the community you are targeting? Why are you the best individual/organization to lead this project? Do you have prior experience in related projects?


Skye and Ben Reeve both have extensive experience in the arts.

Benjamin Reeve is a contemporary artist who has exhibited in over a dozen shows over the last four years both in Australia and internationally. Ben takes an active part in the visual arts community in Australia and often uses appropriation in his work. Ben's works frequently centre around imagery commonly identifiable and made recognisable through the media. They are works created as parodies and he feels strongly that artists in general need to be made more aware of their legal options so they can get on to the business of creating. Ben currently tutors ­­­­Visual Communication in the Creative Industries precinct at the Queensland University of Technology. The development of Brisbane city's traffic signal boxes as artistic works, a concept he conceived and fought at government level to see realised, has become a quintessential part of the Brisbane landscape and the idea has as a result been adopted internationally.

Skye Reeve is a graduate of the Creative Commons Clinic at Queensland University of Technology and is interested in pursuing a career in Intellectual Property Law. Due to her long engagement in the arts community and involvement in developing a number of visual art shows, including the majority of Ben's shows, she chose to focus her major research project for the Clinic on visual arts as a slow sector within Creative Commons and the potential benefits CC-usage may have for visual artists, particularly with respect to appropriation and collaboration.

Elliott Bledsoe is a Project Officer with Creative Commons Australia, primarily working with creative industries projects employing the use of CC licences. He also has a long history working as an arts worker in the local and national arts sector. He sits on the management committee of Youth Arts Queensland and Metro Arts. He was one of the principle organisers of the Remix My Lit project (http://www.remixmylit.com), a similar project conducted with the Australian writing community which successfully led to the publication of a remixed and remixable literary anthology. He was also an adviser to the remix competition, Pooling Ideas (http://www.pool.org.au/poolingideas) and the CC film remix project, VideoSlam (http://openchannel.org.au/blogs/videoslam/).

Jessica Coates is the Project Manager of Creative Commons Australia. She has worked closely with CC implementation projects aimed at the arts community including ABC Pool, 60 Sox (http://60sox.org.au/) and Picture Australia (http://www.pictureaustralia.org/). She has also organised and advised on numerous Creative Commons remix projects, including Remix My Lit, Pooling Ideas, Video Slam and Edgex’s Switch It Up competition (http://edgex.org.au/).
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How will you measure and evaluate your project’s impact - on your main participants? Other contributors? On the larger community?


Key project indicators include:

  • the number of works created and sold for the first and each subsequent exhibition;
  • the number of attendees at opening night and throughout the exhibitions;
  • the number of visitors to the digital gallery.

Secondary project indicators will include:

  • the number of derivative works contributed to the digital gallery;
  • the number of ‘spin-off’ projects which utilise the CC-licensed documentation package.

Marketing, promotion and engagement indicators include:

  • the number of print, online and broadcast news media reports and blog entries about the project;
  • interaction on social media platforms, such as retweets on Twitter and likes on Facebook, will also serve as an indicative measure of the project’s reach.

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How many participants do you expect to be involved in your project? How will you seek and sustain their involvement?


10 – 20 artists in round one with an equivalent number for each subsequent exhibition. We have been fortunate in receiving positive responses from prominent artists.

300 – 500 attendees at each exhibition on opening night; 1000 – 1500 audience total. 1000+ unique visitors to the website.
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Describe how your project will benefit Creative Commons' mission to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in "the commons".


Aside from directly contributing to the 350 million licensed objects under Creative Commons, the project specifically aims to increase understanding and awareness of Creative Commons in a community that has so far been a low-level engager in the open content movement and to provide documentary resources to assist those seeking to run similar projects themselves.
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Describe what technologies and tools your project will use. What kinds of technical skills and expertise do you bring to the project? What are your technical needs?


The online component will consist of the official etcc website (www.etcc.tv) which will be used to document the artwork, host interviews with the artists and record the entire process from concept to realisation and continuation. While this is the central part of etcc's online presence, we also feel it is important to be active in online communities such as Facebook, Twitter, and existing remix communities to ensure maximum reach, impact and community engagement.

ABC Pool has expressed an interest in partnering as the remix space host of the project. Similar to the Pooling Ideas competition, a group will be set up on Pool for the project, where the original remixes and any downstream remixes can be uploaded. This enables us to draw on the established content hosting and licensing capacity of the Pool website and as well as tapping the well established remix community within Pool. It also ensures a stable and ongoing archive of the project separate from the project’s own website.
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What challenges do you expect to face, and how do you plan to overcome them?


etcc’s principle challenge will be ensuring it attracts appropriate participants, audience and industry partners. It has already overcome a major part of this challenge by obtaining commitments from 20 artists to participate in the first exhibition, including a number of high profile artists: Ben Frost, Sebastian Moody, Kid Zoom, Beastman, Bec Winnel, Cezary Stulgis, Benjamin Reeve, Numskull, Keiron McMaster, Sampology and Chantal Fraser. It has also identified an appropriate host exhibition space .White Canvas Gallery.; remix partner in ABC Pool; and marketing partner in Artlink. Based on this experience, it does not anticipate difficulties locating similar partners for the two later exhibitions. The large number and high profile of the artists already committed to the project are only likely to attract greater support from the community.

Ongoing challenges will include ensuring that the participating artists understand the legalities of the project; maintaining the project’s online profile; and managing the practicalities of the offline exhibition. The Creative Commons Australia team has significant experience addressing the first two of these from their work with previous remix projects such as Remix My Lit, Pooling Ideas, Video Slam and Switch It Up. In particular, it plans to use a combination of education, consultation and moderation to ensure participating artists are cognisant of and comfortable with the restrictions the project places on their resources and licensing choices.

From Ben and Skye's extensive experience in delivering art shows, we are aware that there is always the possibility of unforeseen issues within an off-line gallery situation with hidden costs, sourcing volunteers to man the exhibition, artwork delivery, or numerous last minute contingencies. We aim to overcome such obstacles through effective planning, frequent communication and a focus on time management.

Importantly, the etcc team plans to implement a best practice transparency and documentation policy, with all challenges and solutions documented on the project’s accompanying blog, in an effort to ensure the project provides a valuable source of information, ideas and lessons for the visual arts community as a whole.
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How do you plan to sustain your project after the Creative Commons funding has ended? Detail specific plans. How do you plan to raise revenue to continue your efforts in the future?


The project, in its simplest incarnation, is a one-off exhibition that will produce a significant resource of CC-licensed documentation and artworks. By licensing all content under the broadest of the Creative Commons licences and partnering with stable archive partners such as ABC Pool, we ensure that these resources will continue to be accessible and have a life beyond the project’s own website. Being under the most permissive CC licence also means that their potential future life is open to the broadest number of possibilities.

To sustain the second and third exhibitions a 10% commission will be taken from the sale price of each work. This is significantly below the arts community average commission.

We will be seeking sponsorship for the first and future shows. We anticipate that the first exhibition will work as a proof of concept for the project, attracting further artists and hosting partners for the later exhibitions.
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How can this project be scalable, or have a scalable impact?


The etcc project is entirely reproducible and scalable, and we hope it will have a flow-on impact by stimulating a section of the visual arts community to critically engage with notions of appropriation and remix within the context of legal reuse. By licensing the documentation, not just the creative products, we hope to equip anyone who is interested in the concept with tools to help them start their own project.

If sufficient interest is attracted or revenue is generated by the first iteration of the project, it would be a relatively simple task for the etcc team itself to expand the project to include more downstream exhibitions both in Australia and internationally.

As the exhibition moves from city to city, a set of new artists will be asked to continue to engage with the licensed works. The exhibition will present derivative works, iteration upon iteration.
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What resources and support do you expect Creative Commons to provide to your project to ensure its success (if any)?


Although licensing support and general feedback from Creative Commons would be greatly appreciated, much of this support for the project will be provided by Creative Commons Australia. The project would definitely welcome any marketing support CC could offer.
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Describe how your organization currently communicates with its community members and network partners. (100 words)


As the etcc project is yet to be formally established, it does not have a current communications policy. However, it will draw its strategy from Creative Commons Australia. Creative Commons Australia is one of the more active of the Creative Commons jurisdictions, and currently uses multiple websites, mailing lists, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter profiles to communicate with its community members. In addition, both Creative Commons Australia and the etcc team have significant experience maintaining relationships with partners and community members through face-to-face contact, as demonstrated by their ability to attract and retain industry partners.
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