The Value of Collaborating and Sharing

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Type B: Revise LLM post

Based on Kevin L. Ferguson’s article “To Cite or to Steal? When a Scholarly Project Turns Up in a Gallery”, write a response (in at least 250 words) about the importance of collaboration and sharing.

Collaboration stands as a cornerstone of intellectual and artistic progress. When individuals or institutions collaborate, they not only share knowledge and resources but also expand the boundaries of their own expertise. In his article, “To Cite or to Steal? When a Scholarly Project Turns Up in a Gallery,” Kevin L. Ferguson, a scholar who creates summed film art, admits that he has used the works of other artists “as a conceptual base to expand my thinking about film” (2016). He recognizes that there is no shame in finding inspiration in the work of another, but rather that the shame comes in recreating that same type of art without acknowledging the contributions or influence another has had on it.

Collaboration and sharing are in fact integral to the growth of ideas and innovation. It ensures that knowledge and creativity are not hoarded or confined to limited circles but are disseminated widely. Sharing research findings, artworks, and scholarly insights enables the broader community to benefit, learn, and build upon the foundations laid by others. It encourages a culture of openness, fostering transparency, and allowing for the scrutiny and evaluation of one’s work, ultimately enhancing its quality and credibility. A part of this transparency and credibility, as mentioned by Ferguson, is the sharing of the process by which something was made. I found this idea very interesting, because while we often think of art in terms of the finished product, there are many cases in which the process of its creation is just as (if not more) interesting than the art itself. Take the controversial AI art as an example. The art produced by AI has improved drastically in recent years, but this art is no better than the art that human artists can produce (and is oftentimes worse). AI art is not necessarily impressive because the art it produces is better than what else is already out there, but rather because the process by which it was created was untraditional. It’s not another art piece made by another aritist, but rather an art piece made by an AI that was made by a human who likely isn’t an artist.

By sharing not only the finished product, but also the process, creators are encouraging collaboration and the spreading of ideas. Ferguson understood the importance of this, which is why he gave a detailed account of how his art is produced. He wants people to “engage with the kind of work [he] makes” and “create their own summed images,” with the idea that they would learn from it, expand on it, or make something new from it (2016). The issue with Shulman wasn’t that he created his own summed images, it was that he did so when it had already been done, without changing anything, evolving from the original, or even giving credit to the original.

Collaboration and sharing also help build a sense of community among scholars and artists. These endeavors can encourage the exchange of feedback, support, and constructive criticism, nurturing an environment of mutual respect and trust. What’s interesting is that Shulman clearly liked the work Ferguson had been doing, and had he been willing, he might have been able to connect with Ferguson to learn and collaborate, and to relate over shared interests in the same artistic community. By trying to separate their work, Shulman and the gallery limited their potential for greater future collaborations between two like-minded artists in favor of a contentious relationship in which Shulman has to always worry over the narrow distinctions of copyright.  Other artists in similar situations have chosen collaboration over taking such risks, and in doing so have even garnered greater popularity for the work. One example I can think of was Miley Cyrus, who, being concerned that her song “Prisoner” was too close to the type of work done by Dua Lipa, chose to reach out to the other artist and collaborate. In this way both artists could be recognized for their work and the artistic community was able to benefit from the shared contributions and talents of two artists rather than one.

In an age marked by the rapid spread of information and digital interconnectedness, the need for collaboration and sharing takes on renewed importance. However, it is essential to ensure that these practices are conducted ethically, with proper attribution and consent, respecting intellectual property rights and fostering a climate of responsible and conscientious engagement with the work of others.

3 Comments on “The Value of Collaborating and Sharing

  1. I like your point about how the novelty of how AI art is generated is more interesting than the actual art–which (like you said) can be subpar to human artists’ work. I think that some other things that make AI art popular are the fact that it’s almost instantaneous, you have a lot of input as to what you want, and that a lot of it is free.

  2. You make a great point about collaboration. I think most can argue that certain songs that are produced have elements of being shared or similar to anothers, but your example of Miley Cyrus collaborating and contributing with Dua Lipa is another way to share that creativity and their own individual talents that everyone can enjoy

  3. I liked how you brought up the aspect of community in collaboration and sharing. Perhaps if they had collaborated, they would have been able to see different important aspects of the digital images they created. In class we’ve talked about how very few ideas are actually purely original, and are just remixes. It’s unfortunate that copyright sometimes gets in the way of the development of new ideas, but people have to make a living, so there’s give and take on both sides.

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