Re: [rumori] Appropriation reactionary?

Steev Hise (
Fri, 17 Dec 1999 08:52:30 -0800 (PST)

Fri, 17 Dec 1999 found eleven writing:

>It's an excellent question. There is some subtlety here.
>In my view, 'appropriation' is a tool like a 'paintbrush' or a 'guitar'.
>There are, of course, reactionary uses for all of these things. They
>also can be tools for expressing _originary_ ideas that do not proceed
>solely in reaction to other existing ideas or works. I proceed from the
>assumption that when I use someone else's work as the raw material for
>my own, I am 'reacting' to it _only_ in the same way as a painter
>'reacts' to his paint.

You're right, there is some subtlety here. At first I was going to
disagree with you, Lloyd, because I thought, well, wait a minute,
paint doesnt have MEANING, so the analogy may not hold. But, after
reading your second paragraph, I changed my mind.

To elaborate on the difference as i see it: One can appropriate a piece
of source material in a way that directly reacts or replies to that
material, or one can appropriate it simply with that material's USE in
mind. Looked at this way, the paint analogy makes more sense. Just as a
painter might choose a certain shade of red paint because that hue will be
USEFUL to his purposes, a sound artist might choose to sample a speech by
Dan Quayle, because it is useful to his purposes - it's not that he's
reacting directly to what Dan Quayle said, anymore than the painter is
reacting to the absence of red in his painting.

I think the Tape-beatles' "Grand Delusion" is like this (in fact that's
why I mention Dan Quayle). A counter example might be The Evolution
Control Committee's "Bush Speech (Corrected)", because it appropriated
George Bush's speech purely to critique that particular speech.

Which is not to say that one approach is better than the other,
neccessarily. In fact I'd say Plunderphonic itself is essentially
reactionary - it concentrates on one source artist and one track at a
time, with a (stated) purpose of "improving" the track and a
concentration on the "essence" of each artist. But, it's
excellent work, as most would agree.

>The normal usage for the word 'reactionary' implies one is making a
>'counter-work' to a work that already exists in an attempt to discredit
>or counteract that work. Or that one is voicing a political view with
>the same effect. It does not mean that one is simply reacting to
>anything at all. If it did, then making a cup of coffee might be
>'reactionary' because one is 'reacting' to his or her drowsiness, or


Steev Hise, Subversive Radical Hippy Hacker
recycled art site:
"millenial bug fix: all years mandated to reverse. overwrite all past."
                -Christopher Hanis

Rumori, the Discussion List
to unsubscribe, send mail to
with "unsubscribe rumori" in the message body.
Rumori list archives & other information are at

Home | Detrivores | Rhizome | Archive | Projects | Contact | Help | Text Index

[an error occurred while processing this directive] N© Sharerights extended to all.