The following text is my thought|feedback according to three different articles. They are "Material Metaphors, Technotexts and Media-Specific Analysis" from N.Katherine Hayles's WRIGHTING MACHINES, "the Migration of the Aura or How to Explore the Original through Its Fac Similes" from Switching Codes, and "In Defense of the Poor Image" by Hito Steyerl.
Keywords: Materiality, Authenticity, Copyright
Hayles points out in Writing Machine that "materiality emerges from interactions between physical properties and a work's artistic strategies".
In literary studies, Hayles doubt the separation of the text and material. There is long period that literary artifacts is considered outside the literary text. Not until the electronic textuality came into view, did we realize that the materiality of literary artifacts should be included in literary study and should be central.
Since Hayles indicates that materiality emerges from interactions between physical properties, we can figure out what accounts for interaction with physical properties. Interface is a metaphor having power to make things happen in the real world. One the one hand, it allows copies to preserve the illusion of ordinary human existence; On the other hand, it connects to a complex material apparatus operating machinery. Thus, Hayles propose material metaphor foregrounds the traffic between words and physical artifacts. And so "to change the physical form of the artifact is profoundly to transform the metaphoric network structuring the relation of word to world".
The examples and explanation of hypertext (that use link as strategy), cybertext(that use combinatorial as strategy), then technotext(pays attention to interactions between the materiality of inscription technologies and the inscriptions they produce), support the idea that materiality also emerges from a work's artistic strategies. I think Oulipo(workshop of potential literature) is a good example. They seek of new structures and patterns which may be used by writers in any way they enjoy. literature could be explored like mathematics. Like in Raymond's poetry Hundred Thousand Billion Poems, these constrains(all ten sonnets have not just the same rhyme scheme but the same rhyme sounds) are felicitous, generous, and are in fact literature itself. Conceptual art, as another example I think is even more obvious to testify their artistic strategy as materiality is the work itself. See Joseph Kosuth's One and Three Chairs and Marcel Duchamp's Fountain. But I think they different from what Hayles puts in the text. It even doesn't craft this physicality but create meaning as well.
It brings up another question, that if the chair and the urinal-basin has their own "original" (they must have but in different context), why we never judge the the objects themselves. One one hand, It reflexively proves that the object, the physicality is not the centre of the art works. But at other hand, it bring us a notion to those object that Duchamp gave its name - readymade. If they can be appropriated as readymades, can Mona Lisa also be considered as 'readymade'?
The interesting part to me in the text is the saying that the copy is not need to be identical with original one. So I want to clarify the scope of the discussion of copy. There are two different situations. The one is the copy that is serving as the original one (they must be in the same form and shown in similar or even same institute) and be appreciated by people. The other one is the copy that is being developed and not claiming its authenticity.
In "The migration of the aura", the copy is considered as complementary of the original. It is because of archeological and marketing reasons that much energy is devoted to search for the original. In other words "the intensity of the search for the original depends on the amount of passion and the number of interests triggered by its copies" . Thus, "The real phenomenon to be accounted for is not the punctual delineation of one version divorced from the rest of its copies, but the whole assemblage made up of one - or several - original(s)" It's the trajectory or career of a work of art. What's more the quality of the reproduction matters.
In the discussion of my group, we were happy that we reached a phrase - a starting point, rather than original. I think it is especially suit for the poor images development. They are starting from the same point but they all get the starter developed. What the important is that it is not about quality but the process it spreads. "Its immediate possibility of worldwide distribution and its ethics of remix and appropriation, enables the participation of a much larger group of producers than ever before." Thus poor images are popular images and privatization values more than state controlled/sponsored media production. Thus it may make us reconsider the copyright issue...