I’ve been meaning to post on this topic for awhile now. It’s become more of a topic burning in my mind for two reasons
1-I’m going to be focusing on the use of the photocopier for my honours year.
2-I had a heated discussion with some people (One an artist) who disagreed with me that a photocopy could be used an art print.
The latter has confounded me. I expect the everyday/layperson to think this, but I copped it from two intelligent creative people.
So here are my arguments for a photocopy having the possibility of being Art:
-Done on the right paper and or the use of varnish, a photocopy is just as archival as other print mediums (It’ll outlive a human lifespan most definitely and hold up to 50% of it’s strength 500 years from now, which is considered archival)
-A photocopy is not dissimilar to a photograph in many respects. It is relatively cheap and easy to produce, but depends a lot on the person behind the camera as to if the resulting print. It could be a disposable happy snap or a valuable (and not just monetarily) art piece.
-One definition of a print is anything that is a multiple of something else.
-There is no magical qualities to etching, lino, or screenprinting ink that validates them any further than a photocopy.
So okay you might say that other print making methods are more valid because there is more work involved like rolling on ink and putting through a press, but once again I will relate the photocopying process to photography in that instance. And so what, yes it’s easy to press button but it’s also quite easy to run something through a press. The hard part is actually constructing/making the said image.
Print making methods are usually designed to be more democratic than other art forms anyway, and photocopying certainly lends itself to this in terms of accessibility and cost.
So to make it clear, I don’t think photocopies are inherently good, but they’re not inherently bad either. I don’t think an office document photocopied onto shitty junky acid paper is the same value as something that’s been consciously photocopied onto quality paper, editioned and signed (For instance) and for that matter why does art have to be long lasting, there is such a thing as the ephemeral in art.
I like to know what other people think, regardless of where they stand (I won’t bite!)