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On Thursday 22nd March at 8pm The Tate Modern broadcast a live performance of Jerome Bel’s ‘Shirtology’ which marked the launch of BMW Tate Live: Performance Room.

It was an event that was billed as being interactive which asked viewers to send in messages via Tweeting or Facebook.

Jerome Bel’s performance was followed by a live discussion session in which he took part answering questions sent in by the audience.

Jerome Bel discussed the notion of Western theatre values and that these values were being challenged by the internet and sites such as YouTube.

An area that was brought in to focus for me was that of ownership and copyright.

Who owns a piece which is broadcast in this way once it enters a viewer’s home?

I took a series of screen grabs through out the performance’s broadcast and have made a very simple video using them; how is an artist going to retain rights to a piece or does a broadcast piece become in effect open source material? What if it becomes a viral video?

So for me the broadcast of this performance piece has raised these questions:

  • What exactly is owned and who owns it?
  • What rights does this ownership give?
  • Does interactive, something Bel stressed about the piece equal freedom of speech?
  • Does freedom of speech equal freedom intellectual copyright?
  • What is the difference for me as part of my creative practice to go to a theatre view a piece and then re create that or sample or refer to that work in a piece I choose to make.
  • Is there a fundamental difference using screen grabs (broadcast material) to create a video of the piece which I intend to raise questions?

Both the performance and the discussion that followed were great.

Click here to view a video of Shirtology performed in 2010 on the Julia Stoschek Collections website.

The next Tate Modern broadcast is on April 22nd.