Copy a Copy a Copy | Molly Springfield | The Art Assignment | Summary and Q&A

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January 28, 2016
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The Art Assignment
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Copy a Copy a Copy | Molly Springfield | The Art Assignment

TL;DR

Molly Springfield creates laborious graphite drawings of photocopies of book pages to examine the materiality of text and our individual relationships with it.

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Key Insights

  • 💦 Molly Springfield's work highlights the importance of copying and reproduction in the history of knowledge preservation.
  • 🫥 The process of photocopying can reveal the loss and changes that occur with each copy, making it visible to viewers.
  • 🧑‍🎨 Photocopiers have been used in art since the 1960s, becoming a tool for conceptual artists to explore reproduction and reinterpretation of works.
  • 🥺 The material quality of photocopies can vary depending on the copier used, leading to different aesthetic and expressive outcomes in the artwork.
  • 💦 Springfield's work prompts reflection on the impact of new technologies and the loss of information that occurs when transitioning from analog to digital.
  • 👻 The assignment proposed by Springfield allows participants to experiment with photocopies, embracing imperfections and embracing the transformative nature of the process.
  • 🥶 By creating analog versions of digital possibilities, Springfield aims to convey a message about the relationship between old and new technologies.

Transcript

VOICEOVER: This episode of "The Art Assignment" is brought to you by Squarespace. We are in Washington, DC today, and we're meeting up with the artist Molly Springfield. For the past 10 years, Molly has been making careful, laborious graphite drawings of photocopies of book pages. She draws from a wide range of texts. Among them, seminal books on c... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How did Molly Springfield first start creating drawings of photocopies?

Molly Springfield started making drawings of photocopies immediately after grad school in 2005. She began with basic hand-drawn copies of books about philosophy of language or language in arts and literature.

Q: What parameters does Molly enjoy about using a photocopier in her artistic process?

Molly enjoys the limitations that a photocopier provides, such as only being able to enlarge or darken an image to a certain extent, as well as having to work with the paper available. These parameters force her to be creative within set boundaries.

Q: What is the first step of the assignment proposed by Molly Springfield?

The first step of the assignment is to pick a page from a book, either one with personal significance or one chosen randomly. Then, make a standard photocopy of the page.

Q: How does Molly Springfield encourage participants to change the image of their photocopies?

Participants are instructed to make a photocopy of their photocopy and manipulate the settings on the copier. They can change the image size, play with density or sharpness settings, and even experiment with mirror image or positive to negative functions.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Molly Springfield has been creating graphite drawings of photocopies of book pages for the past 10 years, drawing from a wide range of texts.

  • Her work encourages viewers to consider the materiality of text as an image to be observed, rather than just something to be read.

  • Springfield's work challenges the idea of perfect reproduction and transforms copies into original pieces, emphasizing that books are open to interpretation and translation.

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