This integrated unit evolved over time and was co-taught with the 6th grade Art teachers (first Yoshiko Maruiwa, and then Katelin O’Hare). It examines fine art and the fine print. Students learn about ownership, copyright, licensing, media literacy, fair use, Creative Commons, Wikimedia and Photoshop.
Katelin O’Hare and I are meeting with the 6th grade Art classes this week to introduce our Renaissance Photoshop project where students locate a Renaissance painting and layer themselves into it. In the past we’ve used Dove’s Evolution of Beauty campaign video to kick-off a discussion about image manipulation. This year, I gathered examples from additional resources, news stories, and ad campaigns.
Three noted moments from the ensuing conversation:
1. When looking at examples of image manipulation in advertising and fashion magazines, one 6th grader came up with the analogy: “Photoshop is to models what steroids is to athletes.” This spawned a really interesting discussion.
2. When asked where they should start their search for images of Renaissance paintings to use for their project (before we introduced Artstor), many students called out Google! One child then piped in, “The problem with Google, is that you don’t know if the images you locate will be an authentic image or an altered one.”
3. When asked why Artstor rightfully charges for a subscription to their amazing digital repository of art, one child said it was because, “They take really big photos of paintings and then host them on their computers and let us download them. It’s like iTunes for artwork. That costs money.”
Last week, 8th graders chose an elective for their upcoming multi-week unit in Art (starting tomorrow). The four art teachers will each lead a different project for the next 10 classes, and the offered choices were a modified Tools At Schools project, reimagining/repurposing a book, transformational sculptures, and the InsideOut project. Out of the pool of 42 or so 8th graders at The School, 10 chose to work with me and Yoshiko Maruiwaand be a part of InsideOut!
InsideOut was conceived by this year’s TED prize winner, JR. As per his bio on TED.com, “JR, a semi-anonymous French street artist, uses his camera to show the world its true face, by pasting photos of the human face across massive canvases. At TED2011, he makes his audacious TED Prize wish: to use art to turn the world inside out.”
JR took his prize monies and is using it to print large-scale posters of images sent in from all over the world. The guidelines are short, sweet, simple and listed on InsideOut’s website:
INSIDE OUT is a large-scale participatory art project that transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work. Upload a portrait. Receive a poster. Paste it for the world to see.
Yoshiko and I are excited to have conversations with the kids about JR’s global art projects, social justice through Art, Art History, public versus private space, legal and illegal installations, community, representations of self, political ramifications, and so much more. Also, I’m working to organize a second annual TEDxYouth@TheSchool on November 19th, and it would be great to have the 8th graders talk about this project to the audience.
Now to locate legal and public wall space to hang their posters…
As per my last post, I just finished a Renaissance Photoshop art project with 6th graders where we located digital images of Renaissance paintings from ARTstor‘s online digital gallery and then used Photoshop to layer themselves into the painting. During the course of the 3-day project, we had discussions about copyright, fair use, and public domain. We talked about how the Mona Lisa and all the other works we were altering are in the public domain, and our contributions to the original paintings were copyrightable.
I said that there were two possible hiccups preventing us from going forth and copyrighting our art: Our digital images of the paintings came from http://ARTstor.org, and the hardware/software we used is owned by Columbia University. Because I hate being ignorant and I love being right, I contacted ARTstor to find out if we could convince ourselves that we owned our altered image. I spoke to Cassy Juhl, a User Services Associate, who conferred with ARTstor’s lawyers and emailed me a few days later. Essentially, we can access/view/use images from ARTstor for academic and non-commercial purposes because Columbia University subscribes to their service. However, since ARTstor does not own the images in their digital collection, they can’t authorize manipulation of the files. I reminded the kids that ignorance is a terrible excuse for doing something unethical; Since we now know that we can’t use ARTstor’s images for this project, we cannot further ignore and abuse their Terms and Conditions of Use.
So, my latest idea is to generate our own collection of digital images of works of art at The School at Columbia University. Tons of museums allow no-flash photography, so I (or my students) can just gather our own photos of public domain art that we can then freely alter. As per the Mona Lisa, I’ll either have to elbow through the throngs of tourists at The Louvre this summer to take the best possible photo of her or establish a contact that can offer us a fair use copy.
Below is Cassy’s response that I shared with my 6th graders:
Prohibited Uses. You may not: (a) use the ARTstor Digital Library, or use, display or make performances with, reproduce, or distribute Content from the ARTstor Digital Library, for any commercial purpose whatsoever, including but not limited to fee-for-service use of the ARTstor Digital Library, or make any use, display, performance, reproduction, or distribution that exceeds or violates these Terms and Conditions of Use; (b) distribute and/or make available Content in the ARTstor Digital Library to persons other than as expressly permitted herein; (c) provide and/or authorize access to the ARTstor electronic database, such as through the sharing of passwords, to persons or entities other than Authorized Users; (d) download or print, or attempt to download or print, substantial portions of the ARTstor Digital Library; (e) incorporate Content into print or electronic materials that are for purchase or are disseminated for commercial purposes (such as by a scholarly or commercial press); (f) use (including reproduce, distribute, display or make performances of) the ARTstor Digital Library in any way that is not authorized under this Agreement and that infringes another’s Intellectual Property Rights therein; (g) make any adaptation or modification of, or any derivative work from, Content; or (h) attempt to override, circumvent, or disable any encryption features or software protections employed in the ARTstor Digital Library.
ARTstor does not own any of the images in the Digital Library and as such we are unable to broker rights for said images. We are only able to offer high quality images because our contributors provide images to be used for the very specific uses outlined in our Terms and Conditions of Use.
Please feel free to contact us with any further questions or concerns.