Cut: film as found object in contemporary video

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The moving picture, film, and television have exerted an unmatched influence throughout the twentieth century, equally documenting and constructing our reality. It is the peculiar power of the moving image that while it may be depicting a fiction, our viewing of it is real and therefore the experience and memory we take away from it is filed away with all the other events and memories that have actually happened to us. The artists in Cuthave taken the material of their reality--the movie and the news program--and manipulated it to reveal its power to communicate and shape reality. Clearly indebted to the appropriation strategies of the 1980s and sampling in hip hop and rap music of the 1990s, these artists are united by their gestural use of editing. Whether through looping, repetition, erasure, or compression, their active manipulation of their medium recalls the importance that action was given by Richard Serra in 1968, when he published "Verb List," a list of actions that a sculptor could use to create sculpture: to roll, to crease, to fold, to cut, etc. Cutexplores the actions through which artists create videos. Through the physical manipulation of the most familiar of media, they restructure reality, making the familiar unfamiliar and instilling in the viewer the opportunity to comprehend and distinguish a new reality. Included are works by Candice Breitz, Omar Fast, Douglas Gordon, Michael Joaquin Grey, Pierre Huyghe, Christian Marclay, Jennifer & Kevin McCoy and Paul Pfeiffer.

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Candice Brei

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About the author (2004)

Lawrence Lessig is a professor at Stanford Law School and the founder of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. The author of "The Future of Ideas and Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace," he is the chair of the Creative Commons project ( A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Cambridge University, and Yale Law School, he has clerked for Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court.

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