July 27, 2005 · Elizabeth Stark
One of the criticisms of the free culture movement in general has been that there are far too many academics and geeks talking about the potential perils of overreaching control over information, and not nearly enough artists. If the artists really believed that this is a threat to culture, the skeptics say, they would act out.
While I do definitely agree that our organization and the movement as a whole need to engage those who are creating art, music, and other creative works, there are a lot of young people out there who are doing exactly the type of work that embodies an open culture. Take Cory Arcangel, who melds art and technology in his Super Mario clouds hack, or Matt Boch, a video artist who combined films of his childhood with his favorite video game to create an exploratory work. Artists like these are reflecting upon works of the past and using new technologies to build upon them.
So even if there are all these young people doing interesting things, how do we get them to care about free culture? Some artists may prefer to embed a political message in their work instead of participating in outright activism. At the same time, I believe that there is a new generation of creators and artists that do indeed care about these issues. As an organization and a movement, we need to make an effort to reach out to these people, to hear their stories, to exhibit their work, and to bring them in.
As a rising 2L at Harvard Law School, I’ve taken an interest in the intersection between law, technology, and culture. Along the same lines, Fred Benenson and I will be giving a presentation for Freeculture.org at this year’s Defcon in Las Vegas explaining why techies should care about the issues surrounding free culture. Much like we need to attract the artists, we also need to make the case to the geeks that they should care about and take action on these cultural issues. More to follow from Defcon…