There's no point getting upset about hidden clauses that enables Facebook to read our private messages.

Or getting angry when we learn that Google have direct access to our phone conversations.

The more these two corporations continue to upgrade and delve deeper into our everyday lives, the more we submit ourselves to their ownership.

Whether we control the information or not, there is no hiding from the fact that our modern lives are continuously being recorded and preserved.

So little of our existence remains our personal domain and even more terrifying is the knowledge that we are passively strolling towards ever-greater exposure.

NO PRIVACY IN AN ONLINE WORLD

appropriation art privacy

Privacy is a defining issue in an increasingly social media enabled society.

Once you’ve launched your secrets online, it’s only time that stands between you and their revelation.

However, as Google and Facebook grow, the more apparent it becomes that we need them, we use them, yet we fear them.

Rather than controlling us outright - we are living in a democratic society after all - the correct term to use is the word appropriation.

Facebook is appropriating our personal data points so that they know what adverts to share with us and with every new data point is when the company gets closer to understanding us better than ourselves.

Google has a backlog of similar information about you for its own advertising network.

In a discussion about making contemporary art more, well, “contemporary” appropriation as an artistic practice needs to be addressed head on and despite its legitimacy it isn’t without its controversies.

TO APPROPRIATE IS TO TAKE POSSESSION OF SOMETHING

Appropriation artists have a history of deliberately copy images to take possession of them in their art: the most famous example being Andy Warhol and his ‘Small Torn Campbell’s Soup Can’ (1962).

The aim is not to steal or plagiarize. Nor is it to pass these images off as their very own. Not at all.

Appropriation artists want the viewer to recognize the images they copy, and they hope that the viewer will bring all of his/her original associations with the image to the artist's new context.

The deliberate "borrowing" of an image for this new context is called "recontextualization."

APPROPRIATING FROM FACEBOOK

Vagina Versus Trump

As you will discover, each Pixelrealism artwork uses the artistic practice of appropriation to create unique compositions. 'Vagina Versus Trump' (oil on canvas) was inspired by the volatile 2016 election campaign with a focus on the PRESIDENT'S controversial relationship with women that led to a series of nationwide protests.

Recontextualization helps the artist comment on the image's original meaning and the viewer's association with the original image or the real thing.

Let’s take ‘Vagina Versus Trump’ (2017).

These images are appropriated. I painted the original photographs exactly, but flirted with relationship between positive and negative space.

Unlike other traditional artworks, this painting acts as a curated portrait of a controversial period in American politics.

The curated images create a preserved moment of Donald Trump’s misogynist behavior that was controversially accepted as a form of political entertainment.

Each image acts as a snippet that stimulates appropriation recognition and stirs up associations with the idea of Trump’s sexist attitude towards women – that vulgar oldboy.

‘Vagina Versus Trump’ also tapped into a whole bunch of other associations, such as news media, whistleblowing, trophy wives, women in politics, consumerism and anti-establishment sentiment.

As an appropriated image, these specific “snippets” could resonate with meaning (like a stone tossed into a pond) and so much more.

The use of real-time imagery is a strong part of Pixelrealism as I make a conscious shift between the digital and analogue realities.

The use of appropriated imagery is challenging the concept of ownership in the same way that Facebook and Google blur the boundaries of our virtual identities.

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