INTERNATIONAL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
INTERNATIONAL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, 2013
International Intellectual Property appears in contrast with The Archaeology of Memory (Arheologia Memoriei), which suggests the natural process of losing knowledge. What ties the two pieces together are their media: clay, water, written text and implied text. Clay and water reference historic floods or deluges, as well as the first forms of written language: clay tablets. From the beginning of history, there has been a connection between words and earth as the first forms of written knowledge were on clay tablets.
International Intellectual Property consists of the residue of a book covered with clay displayed on a pedestal while above the pedestal is a six-hour long video documenting the artist intentionally destroying the book with the same title by painting each page with clay slip until the book becomes a mound of clay. This is then followed by the artist wiping off the clay slip with a sponge much like an archaeologist digging through layers of strata trying to uncover artifacts. In this video, the written English text becomes illegible and insignificant. What is important is the act of juxtaposing the destruction and creation of the book. This act references ideological, political and personal censorship and the desire for access to those prohibited writings; hence, the struggle to want to wash the clay away and rediscover lost knowledge. This piece functions as a warning about the effects of censorship.
When I found the book International Intellectual Property, I thought that it was perfect for the piece because the title suggests a universal collection of intellectual memory. In fact, the book deals with treaties protecting author and patent rights, a very delicate subject in a world based on mimesis. This act of covering memory and then fighting to regain it can happen on a personal level as well as on a cultural one.
The implied destruction allows our minds to imagine the process of creation.
The action and futility of going back in time to wash the clay-covered book in order to save content that can't fully be salvaged in International Intellectual Property, suggests how hard it is to regain lost knowledge. The act of covering the book becomes a different form of creation based on destruction. The process of creation is reproduced and reversed at the same time. While covering the book takes only one hour, the wiping off of clay and action of salvaging takes five hours. This aspect suggests the difficulty of saving culture once it has been subjected to censorship and destruction. The viewer is also engaged in this work through his/her own shadow projected on the destroyed book, and by obscuring the light, he/she takes part in the act of censorship. Censorship conducted by governments may influence people's minds where individuals may take an active role in the process of censorship.