Free the Orphans

Free the Orphans: First Foster
Free the Orphans: Stage 1
Free the Orphans: SVA Critical Information Conference


Free the Orphans is a hybrid artistic research project that uses the phenomenon of the “orphan work”—a creative work whose copyright holder is impossible to identify, rendering it difficult to gain permission for distribution or use—to expose the paradox between the current ease of digital information dispersal and the existing regime of long-term copyright and granular control. The orphan work functions as an epistemological ready-made, a fragment of found knowledge whose legal and existential origins create a productive limbo. I suggest that we seek out these “orphan” prisoners and “free” them, bringing them back into circulation. In the piece, I use a variety of performative strategies to bring the audience into complicity with a reparative narrative of searching for, “fostering”, and restoring to view actual orphaned works. With my research, I braid together copyright law, digitization, intellectual property, and the life of information to examine the role of the orphan work in contemporary debates on intellectual property and the metaphysics of legality.

Free the Orphans was originally a thesis in fulfillment of a Masters of Fine Arts for the Digital and Interdisciplinary Art Practice program at City College of New York (CUNY)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: