Plagiarism in Art


Heinz von Lichberg, published the tale of Lolita in 1916, but it’s Nabokov’s ‘Lolita’ the one, which gained the popularity, even though it was written 40 years after the original. This is the first example of a plagiarism, provided by Jordan Lethem. He explains that literature has always been a field in which familiar themes are continually recast.

Similar situations occur in films and music. The great example is Bob Dylan, who was inspired by many Hollywood films, poetry or dramas.

Basically, the whole art is based on plagiarism. Music, like blues or jazz have became some sort of an open source culture, where songs are often reworked.

Now, thanks to the technology, we have more and more possibilities to recreate other’s work.

We were forced to create ‘Copyright’, which is a legal right that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to its use and distribution. Culture became to be seen more like a market right now.

Thomas Jefferson, considered copyright as necessary, but he’d shrink the copyright to minimum enforcement. He believed that second comers might do a much better job than the originator with the original idea. I must say that I partially agree with this statement. Of course, nobody likes to be copied, but without that the world wouldn’t not be able to develop.

What I liked about this article, is a part called ‘The beauty of second use’. Books can be quoted in reviews or parodied in magazines. The artistic content sinks into our culture pretty quick, engaging receptive minds of our society. Same with consumer goods – they need to be used, to become ‘real’.

Another interesting subject raised by Lethem is a  ‘power of a gift economy’. He says that ‘where there is no gift there is no art’. Everything what’s free (open-source software) coexist very naturally with the market.

Very often, art and culture becomes commons, altered by every contributor what doesn’t mean that the community owns it. It belongs to no one, not even by society as a whole. We have to remain constantly vigilant and not let anyone exploit our common heritage for their private gain.

Basically, the valuable material of all human utterances — is plagiarism. All ideas are secondhand, drawn from a million outside sources, and daily used by each one of us.

Another reading, we were supposed to familiarize with was the ‘Rights of Molotov Man’.


“Molotov Man,” was the main character of a photography taken by Susan Meiselas in revolutionary Nicaragua in 1979.

The photography inspired the painter – Joy Garnett, who reproduced the man’s image, making it one of the leading painting in his series. After showing his work at the exhibit in 2004, he has been sued by Susan Meiselas for the right of an image.

The photographer claimed that she do respect the individuality of the people she photographs. She rather focuses on contextualizing images, whereas Joy Garnett did the opposite. Moreover, Susan wanted to protect the original context of the whole image. That was her way of fighting against misinterpretation.

I totally understand Susan, who actually had a chance to be a part of the whole situation. She had to face both historical and political backgrounds.

Of course, as we have learned from the previous article, the great art bases on the other art. That’s exactly what Joy Garnett did in order to succeed. Actually, by suing him, Susan helped his art even more.

I wouldn’t like to keep anyone’s side, I’m rather neutral in this case. Both artists are right. Each of them has their own ideas and beliefs.

It’s an obvious thing, that each piece of art would be subjected to misinterpretation. It’s obvious, that Susan didn’t like the fact that Joy became a popular artist, through the wrong interpretation of her art, but I think that there wouldn’t be any art if everyone has the same way of thinking !


Allergy to Originality – I totally enjoyed this video! This delightful illustrated op-doc for The New York Times, explores why all creative culture is built on plagiarism and appropriation.

I love this funny interpretation on the issue of plagiarism. I think that a monotone voice of the ticket seller and his quotes directly from wikipedia (he even included ‘edit’ word from time to time) was a pretty nice idea! I think that video tells the true.

Recently, I realized that I just stopped going to the cinema. I wasn’t exactly sure why, but after exploring foregoing materials I finally found the answer. I am getting bored out there. It seems like many films are remakes of the old ones. Why do I have to watch similar plot over and over again? (Even actors remain the same).

I’m expecting that moment of dubiety, when I actually don’t have a clue what will happen next, how the story is going to end and what how I would feel after discovering it.

I really wish there was a little bit of originality in the movies.


In ‘Embrace the Remix’ video, Kirby Ferguson, quotes Henry Ford, who said  ‘I invented nothing new. I simply assembled the discoveries of other men behind whom were centuries of work. Progress happens when all the factors that make for it are ready, and then it is inevitable.’ I like this idea. To create something new, we need some bases.We need some fundaments to be able to build a house. Even programmers use pre-programmed softwares with already assigned functions. By transforming, copying, remixing artist creates a new form of the art with references to other works.

Thats how it is! That’s how humanity moves forward! Steal your colleagues’ code – professor told us during our first programming classes. Improve, use what has been already discover, recreate. Isn’t that a little bit the way ITP works? Let’s help each other, share our ideas, thoughts, learn one from another. I don’t thing that there’s anything wrong with basing on the same fundamentals, but building our individually shaped houses.

Money Bank

My idea for the second assignment was to create a money bank, which would encourage people to save some money. Usually, spending money seems to be a lot of fun. Let’s make the process of saving them equally entertaining!

To do that, I decided to build a simple box with 3 LED lights on the top, that shines every time someone puts money through the whole in the lid.

I needed only basics tools, which I could find in my own apartment.

LED_bank LED_bank-6 LED_bank-5 LED_bank-4

The construction was easy:

In the bottom of the box I placed the 9 V battery, connected to 2 wires.


Then I built the second, conductive  ‘layer’ made of aluminum foil.


I connected one wire to the resistor (don’t forget about it Marcela! You don’t wanna burn the LEDs!) and 3 LED lights placed at the top of the money bank.


To complete the circuit, I attached another sheet of aluminum foil to the second wire, placing it horizontally inside the box ( the foil should not touch the bottom).

LED_bank-9 LED_bank-11

The circuit completes when the weight of the coin inserted to money bank press both aluminum sheets together.



Here’s how it works:

The best part of it is the fact, that coins, being conductive won’t break the circuit, so we can easily leave few of them inside the bank and still be able to re-light the LEDs.

I really enjoyed this task. As a physical computing newbie, I was pretty excited seeing that my money bank  actually WORKED!

I’m sure that this tiny gadget will make me a rich man soon!



I came up with this weird idea, and decided to practice my p5 skills a little more. Firstly, I wanted to create some ellipses,  which would follow the cursor with a different delays.


Then, inspired by clock and solar system, I made some randomly shaped circular paths, for another set of ellipses.

The ellipses in the background use nested loop function. To make it more fancy, I made this ‘flashing’ effect by setting ellipses’ opacity to random.

I also added two additional ‘hidden’ features, which plays more with the background.


Surprisingly, one of the most important thing I’ve learned thanks to this sketch, is that I definitely should write my code in an organized way! I created so many variables, so many elements that I almost got lost! I need to work on that a lot…


Painting program

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 4.56.40 PM

At our second classes, we continued discovering p5. Mostly, we focused on creating variables, initializing them, varying and finally using them.

For our second assignment, we were supposed to create a sketch that includes one element controlled by the mouse, element that changes over time, independently of the mouse and an element that is different every time you run the sketch.

I decided to focus on creating painting program, which would include multiple functions.

I started from creating really basic, ellipse-shaped white pencil, which could create very simple, white marks on a black canvas.Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 2.01.45 PM

Next, I started to experiment with different shapes.Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 2.03.57 PM

Then, I experimented with colors:

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 2.26.35 PM

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 2.24.20 PMWhy shouldn’t I try to change the size?

Finally, the decision – Let’s make a painting program!

I started with simple color changing function :

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Added some extra functions like: changing tip size, picking the random color (R button), and erasing what we already drew (E button).

Finally, I ended up with the idea of changing the color of the canvas. For that I created 3 sliders which control the red, green and blue lights, each ranging from 0 to the maximum of 255.

To create sliders I used DOM createSlider() function. I didn’t like their appearance though, so I slightly changed their look in HTML document.

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There was a bug. I didn’t like the fact that I paint ‘under’ my sliders. To eliminate that I created a rectangle placed under sliders, merging its color with the background’s color.

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You can play with it HERE !


I’ve sent it to my dad, and here’s what he did 😀


Be creative and Enjoy!

First Arduino Kit

I am so excited! I just got my first Arduino Kit. As a photographer at heart, I decided to take some pictures and share them on my blog (till all pieces are still safe in the box, nothing is lost and everything smells brand new)!

Here’s how the Kit looks like:

Arduino KitArduino KitArduino Kit  Arduino Kit Arduino Kit

Arduino KitArduino Kit Arduino Kit

The set includes:

  • Arduino Projects Book
  • Arduino Uno – a heart of my future projects,
  • USB cable – connects Arduino to computer
  • Breadboard – on which I will be able to build electronic circuits,
  • Jumper wires – connect components to each other on the breadboard, and the Arduino,
  • Battery snap – to connect 9V battery to power leads,
  • Photoresistor- (photocell / light dependent resistor) – Variable resistor that changes its resistance based on the amount of light that falls on its face,
  • Potentiometer – variable resistor with three pins,
  • Pushbutton – close a circuit when pressed,
  • Temperature sensor – changes its voltage output depending on the temp.of the component,
  • Tilt sensor – switch, that opens and closes depending on its orientation,
  • 1 Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) – display based on liquid crystals,
  • Light Emitting Diodes (LED) – diodes illuminating when electricity passes through it,
  • DC motor – converts electrical energy into mechanical energy,
  • Servo motor – geared motor that can only rotate 180 degrees.
  • Piezo – electrical component that can be used to detect vibrations and create noises,
  • H-bridge- circuit that allows to control the polarity of the voltage applied to load (usually motor),
  • Optocoupler – allows to connect two circuits that don’t share a common power supply,
  • Transistor – three legged device that operates as en electronic switch,
  • Capacitors – store and release energy in a circuit,
  • Diode- ensures electricity only flows in one direction
  • Gels – to filter out different wavelengths of light,
  • Male header pins – fit into female socket. help connecting things ,
  • Resistors – resist the flow of electrical energy in a circuit

After creating this handout and studying it a little bit, I feel a little bit overwhelmed, but still very motivated and excited!

Can’t wait for my first project! Wish me luck!


What is Interaction?


For our 1st week assignment, we were supposed to read the first two chapters of ‘The Art of Interactive Design, Physical interaction’ by Crawford, and the web article ‘The Future Of Interaction Design’. I really enjoyed both of the readings, even though it took me ages to translate all the fancy words I didn’t understand. (‘nothingburger’? really?!).

The Art of Interactive Design’ focuses on Crawford’s meaning of Interactivity. He claims that this overused term is widely misunderstood by humans.  To explain the real meaning of interactivity, he provides an interesting example of ‘two actors, who alternately listen, think and speak’. It cannot be called interaction, if someone just listens, or just speaks. The interaction needs a deeper sense. Providing an example of ‘human-fridge interaction‘ (when every time you open a refrigerator the light turns on),  author tries to convince us, that interaction is a whole, more complex set of actions. He is pointing the importance of interaction rather than just a reaction. Interaction involves three factors:  listening, thinking and speaking. All that three steps are equally important to succeed. It’s good to remember that real interaction engages the user completely and it’s supposed to create an experience.

Another material provided to us is Bret Victor’s article titled ‘A Brief Rant On The Future Of Interaction Design’.

Bret focused on interaction between human and digital technology. Mostly, he glorifies the capabilities of human hands.

We live in a three-dimensional world. Our hands are able to rotate, pick up, squeeze objects. Our future though, are tools that he calls ‘Pictures Under Glass’, which involve minimal human interaction. The hands becomes the central component of our Interactive Future.

Bret Victors doesn’t like the Microsoft’s, perfect, idyllic scenario, which envisions a future of relaxed, happy people touching screens to communicate with each other. This not too visionary video shows how limited interaction will be. How human capabilities are going to be limited to just a swipe of a finger.

I gathered some pictures of how the future is going to look like:


If I were about to create my own definition of ‘physical interaction’, I’d say that it is a process of at least two things acting on each other. It doesn’t matter if it’s a human-human, or human-device interaction. Moreover, I think that people should receive physical feedback from the entire environment. To get a best results – not just a vision, but all our senses should be engaged.  That’s what makes a really good physical interaction.

Designers should not forget to design physical interaction as intuitive as it’s possible. They should observe and search for use natural ways we already interact with the environment. Basing on this knowledge, they are able to design more intuitive, easy-to-understand interfaces. Let’s glorify simplicity! It is crucial to minimize the effort the users have to put to interact.

Of course, there are some good example of digital technology that are not interactive. Digital TV, videos, audio systems and DVDs are the most common examples, we are using every day. They are available on a variety of screens and don’t require any active engagement.

Once again, I created a set of pictures visualizing examples of non-interactive digital technology:


First ICM classes

Hello! I’m Marcela! Here’s my first post about my first ICM classes, lectured by Dan O’Sullivan!

At our first classes we started to explore p5, which turned out to be pretty exciting.

Our first task was to create our own screen drawing. After few hours of struggling what to draw, I finally decided to create a fancy puppet. I have to say, it was time consuming. The task wasn’t difficult, but my artistic soul was giving me a hard time.

After drawing shapes of this funny thing, the moment has come to give it some colors. I’m pretty sure that I decolorized the whole composition at least 4 times.

Finally, I just decided to leave it as it is, and enjoy finished homework.

It was a great warm up exercise. I don’t have much experience with programming, but I hope I’ll get better really soon. At least I’ll try my best!

Here’s how my baby looks like:

Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 3.26.40 AM

Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 10.12.58 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 7.52.21 PM


Hope you like it too!