Now & Forever: Ownership in the Ephemeral Arts, Film and Video 

Fari Bradley in conversation with David Gryn, Tony Grisioni, Rose Lejeune and Mark Waugh

Copyright of recordings of the ephemeral arts, performance and time-based works has come under much discussion since the proliferation of new platforms for digital media, as well as the increased interest in the screening of modern performance art archives. Questions arise; once a performance commission has been recorded to whom does the documentation belong, and in archiving the work, the immediacy of the performance been lost and thus it is a completely different work.

In these and other circumstances what are the questions of authenticity that arise, and who carries the agency to transmit that work, the artist or the commissioners? By holding the film, is an institution thereby forced into or granted a default, directorial and ‘validated’ format of presentation of that work? How will that work be updated and preserved by archivists as technology advances?

With this in mind, we question what the arts can learn from cinematic works in the film industry, where the differences in ideas of ownership between large group productions and solo films make for a much more rigorously explored and tested idea of the contract. Considering these changes in materiality and the representation of the body, space and time we ask how can the contract grow with the work?