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Join the Gang

(Katharine DeLamater)

Friday, October 26. “Defining Collaborative Authorship in Book Arts,” Katharine DeLamater ✧ “Papermaking as a Socially Engaged Art Practice,” Drew Cameron ✧ “Survey of Modern Korean Print and Papermaking,” Steph Rue and Lars Kim

This session focused on identity within artistic practice and succeeded in delivering presentations that gave way to further thinking of ownership and appropriation. The placement of identity within arts/crafts works can be misconstrued based on the level of appropriation taken by artists/artisans relative to the participants of said work. Who gets the credit? Why does one person get the acknowledgement, but the ‘laborers’ none? 

Katharine Delamater’s talk about defining the terms of accreditation reflected a more obtuse reaction to my way of thinking. Her explanations of cataloguing and building paper trails to contributors of artwork was placed with good intentions, but the presentation lacked emphasis on these expansions with relevance in the histories of arts and crafts. I continued wondering, through my minority experience, who gets the identity?

Combat Paper sheets of handmade paper created from an OG-107 uniform, 2018. (Drew Cameron)

Continuing with Drew Cameron’s reading and discussion, the placement of identity reached another level of uncertainty. The paper, made from veteran’s uniforms, housed many dialogues of war participation and service, but still lacked identity. Who were these individual veterans? Were the materials used simply from army surplus stores, or are they related to the actual veteran participants in the papermaking? Being a visual learner, I was somewhat confused without photographs and only one example of physical (paper) material.

Hanji samples and Korean metal type. (Lars Kim)

Steph Rue and Lars Kim finished the panel by beginning with identity, explaining the histories of Korean paper and printmaking, moveable metal type being a Korean construct over years before the western world’s Gutenberg. There was a sense of ownership to their research, but seemed to dwindle as some tension emanated from the audience after the moveable type history was discussed yet, the entire panel was focused on the acknowledgment of authorship and ownership.

The dynamics of identity within the art/craft world seem to be at a tug-of-war based on discussions of said identities. Who gets what? No, he did it; no, they did it. I believe the lack of a more universal approach to historical accounts within paper and printmaking is something that we, as artists and artisans, should strive to overcome. Participating in such conferences as Matrices: The Social Life of Paper, Print, and Art provides this kind of social expansion needed in order to minimize confusion whether it be historical or in accrediting.

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