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Clint Enns: Spider-Man Vs. Macrovision

By Mike Everleth ⋅ October 13, 2010

Uh oh! My illegal art senses are tingling! Canadian filmmaker Clint Enns appropriates a thrilling old ’60s Spider-Man cartoon — the one where all the characters look like stiff cardboard cutouts — where Spidey faces off against Doctor Octopus in a dank underground cave. Except, through some funky distortion the cartoon is almost virtually unrecognizable. In fact, it’s a little bit groovier.

There’s a couple of reasons I posted this video up. One, I like those old Spider-Man cartoons. Two, I like Clint Enns’ videos. Three, I particularly like the ghosting effect that permeates this particular video by Enns, especially how heads from a future or past scene suddenly appear on the heads of a character during the current scene. It’s also cool when ghostly approximations of Doctor Octopus’ metal tentacles start snaking through a shot, which start making me think of those classic Amazing Spider-Man comics where Doc Ock seemingly returned from the dead to bedevil his ex-fiancĂ©e, Aunt May. (“Seemingly” because, of course, he wasn’t really dead in the first place.)

But, I also like the statement that Enns is making by putting this video up.

Spider-Man tied up in a cage

First off, I don’t believe in video piracy. At the same time, though, I thoroughly enjoy artists remixing films, TV shows, advertisements, music videos, etc. However, in order to produce such remixes, artists must frequently ignore and/or circumvent the protections that are set up to deter piracy, such as Enns has done here and has made a specific statement about it by referencing Macrovision, the anti-piracy encryption software, in the title.

I suppose — although I haven’t rationalized it all out fully — that an artist taking a previously created piece of art to create a new piece of art significantly synthesizes the original into something totally new, which is different than just ripping people off, no matter what the motivation is, e.g. selfishness, a belief in sticking it to the man, a disbelief in the use of copyrights, etc.

Although sometimes it feels tough to justify that distinction, sort of like trying to justify Roy Lichtenstein — my favorite painter — ripping off comic book artists to create his early Pop Art work.

Anyway, I believe it’s all a very complicated issue. And I’m still not linking to or embedding bootlegged videos, unless they’ve been artistically modified. Does that make me hypocritical?

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