Friday, July 04, 2008

Faster, faster copy cat, kill, kill, kill

While we were in the Prado we came cross the ultimate Copy Cat. In fact there were about seven of them scattered throughout the collections. The curious thing was that while they were busy making their copies of the art, we were being instructed not to photograph it, even when one of the copy cats were obscuring the view. In the old days you used to hear guards say “don’t touch.” Now it’s “don’t photograph.” The classic shift of our time from object to image. But there were so many people with small cameras, phones and pda that you could feel that the guards knew they are fighting a losing battle. Even in a hyper conventional institution like the Prado you can sense the whole “No photographs” thing losing momentum.

Still, as it stands, at the Prado you can make a realistic copy of the work in oils and on canvas (as long as it is not the same size as the original), but you can’t make an image of it with a camera to print on paper or show on a screen. It must be the same feeling people had when cars were told not to use the main streets so they didn't scare the horses.