Appropriate or inspire?  Making art on the internet, with the internet and for the internet

By this time, we all have completely surrendered to the internet and to the infinite possibilities that it provides. Basically, any type of information that a person needs, the internet has. If we have questions we can also ask the internet. No inspiration? The internet helps.

And this is the point we wanted to make: being the internet a tool already accessible to everyone, from any mobile device, anywhere in the world, in which way does this easy sharing of information has been influencing the processes of the artists?

Of course that, with this easy access, the contemporary artist, that wants to innovate and experiment new things, ends up using the internet as a tool, as a means and even as an end. Example of that are the Internet Art, New Media Art, Digital Art, among other subgenres of artistic movements.

Setting up your privacy does not make an item online less public

It is important to think about the fact that internet is a space which is completely public, meaning that everything that we put online ends up being available for everyone in the world. Needless to mention social networks, on which we put everything for everyone to see and even if it is, supposedly, “secure” all of the sudden we may find a picture of ourselves on someone’s tumblr with a new caption.


Imagine that you are strolling around Frieze Art Fair, in New York,and you face yourselves with a photograph of something you have shared on your Instagram hanging on a wall. The artist Richard Prince called this collection “New Portraits” and some of them were sold by 90.000 dollars each. Supposedly, this clearly violates any copyright law but, from the moment the problem leaves the online platform, there is nothing that instagram can do to protect our privacy. Plus, since the artist made a few alterations on the captions, he can allege that the image was transformed and therefore that it is not a copy.

If we think about it, this can be considered as ‘Appropriation’ (artistic movement that allowed the artist to appropriate an already existing artwork as their own, sometimes with a few alterations other times with none) just like Marcel Duchamp did, with his artwork ‘L.H.O.O.Q.’ (his personal Mona Lisa) or Mike Bildo that made exact reproductions of Picasso’s artworks. Of course that, just like nowadays, this movement brought a lot of problems to some artists, but in the end everything was sorted out really quickly because, and there it is, the artwork was decontextualized and transformed and thus not a copy.



Back to nowadays, it is, in fact, a bit worrying (or not) this ease we have in “transporting” an image that is not ours to a different place and transforming it into something new. In art there are some pretty amazing things happening, others not so much, thanks to new technologies and the online world. From gif artworks, to robots that draw by themselves and Richard’s Instagram pictures. Of course that all of this will influence the way artists work and how they want to work and, we cannot forget, the art market itself, which has been reformulating its standards to embrace these new artworks.

Needless to say that the internet is here to stay and it can only get better. What would we do without it? Without the internet this article wouldn’t exist and, of course, we wouldn’t have shair! At our platform we do not have many cases of appropriation, but we do have artists that take advantage of new technologies to develop their work. Plus, we most certainly have artists that use the internet for that search of inspiration.