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After UniquenessA History of Film and Video Art in Circulation$
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Erika Balsom

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780231176934

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231176934.001.0001

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Bootlegging Experimental Film

Bootlegging Experimental Film

(p.81) 3 Bootlegging Experimental Film
After Uniqueness

Erika Balsom

Columbia University Press

This chapter explores the ambivalence of the copy by examining the impact of low-quality, unauthorized digital bootlegs on the domain of experimental film, an area of practice that has historically exhibited a strong investment in medium specificity and the moral rights of the filmmaker. I confront these issues through a case study of Josiah McElheny’s The Past Was A Mirage I’d Left Far Behind (2010), a year-long installation at the Whitechapel Gallery in London that consisted of copies of historical abstract films taken from UbuWeb – an online repository of low-definition files posted without permission of the filmmakers – and projected onto prismatic screens.

Keywords:   poor image, bootleg, appropriation, UbuWeb, moral rights, medium specificity

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