Caveat is a collective research into the ecology of artistic practice. It is initiated by Jubilee, in partnership with Open Source Publishing, No New Enemies and Été 78. Caveat tries to find more sustainable, balanced ways of operating within the existing legal frameworks. And when the limits of the existing system are reached, it tries to come up with possible new narratives that open up space for reflection.

Agency

Trajectory

For Assembly (Caveat) Agency is convening a gathering of 'concerned' around Thing 001779 (Agreement). This controversy is part of a series speculating on the question: “How can objective things become included within artistic practices?” This series concerns creations made by governments, state departments, judges, military, prisoners, etc... Specific provisions define the acquisition and exercise of copyright by the state over publications of government works, code and law, judgements, etc…

Thing 001779 (Agreement) concerns a conflict between on the one hand O.W. Donald, a non-lawyer contract writer and on the other hand Zack Meyer’s T.V. Sales and Service and Moore Business Forms about the text of a conditional sales contract for TV repairmen called Agreement. Upon discovering Meyer’s forms, Donald brought suit against Moore Business Forms and Zack Meyer, claiming that their use of the language contained in Agreement infringed his copyright. During the case, Donald v. Meyer several courts had to decide if the text of the written contract referring to various articles in the law was sufficiently original to qualify for copyright protection as a work of literature or as a work of art.

During the gathering we will read collectively through fragments of the various case reports. The purpose of this gathering is to revisit the moment of hesitation during the court case and to actualize the problem discussed in the case as a way to fabulate. A contract lawyer, a copyright scholar, a literature historian and a poet are invited by Agency in order to resonate on the various judgements related to this case.

Reflecting on the contract, Agency will focus on developing one specific case, which deals with the following questions: Is a contract copyrighted? Can lawyers claim authorship? Can contracts be considered as pieces of art?

Biography

Agency is an international initiative that was founded in 1992 by Kobe Matthys and has office in Brussels. Agency constitutes a growing 'list of things' that resist the radical split between the classifications of nature and culture. This list of things is mostly derived from juridical cases and controversies involving intellectual property (copyrights, patents, trade marks, etc...) in various territories around the world. The concept of intellectual property relies upon the fundamental assumption of the split between culture and nature and consequently between expressions and ideas, creations and facts, subjects and objects, humans and non-humans, originality and tradition, individuals and collectives, mind and body, etc.... Each ‘thing’ or controversy, included on the list, witnesses a hesitation in terms of these divisions. Agency calls these ‘things’ forth from its list via varying ‘assemblies’ which combines exhibitions, participatory performances, publications, etc... Each assembly speculates around possible inclusions of excluded agencies. As a whole all assemblies explore in a topological way the operative consequences of the apparatus of intellectual property for an ecology of practices and their different modes of existence.

Activities (participant)

Notes (participant)