F is for fake is a film by George Orson Welles that attempts to address the reasons, both good and bad, behind forgery. While a bit hard to follow in the beginning due to the interweaving of various storylines, this film follows the perspectives of four main characters who all specialize in fakery.
In our 1st week at ITP, we were prompted to read Jonathan Lethem’s The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism in our Video & Sound class. In short, the reoccurring sentiment was that plagiarism, forgery, & misattribution has been occurring throughout time; it is necessary for inspiration in creativity.
At Tisch ITP, it is appropriate to remix as long as attribution is provided. Peer collaboration is encouraged, if not mandated.
This differs significantly from the policy of the Computer Science department at NYU, which issues the following warning:
“You are encouraged to consult with your classmates/friends but collaboration in the assignments is NOT allowed. Plagiarism will be punished with a zero-tolerance policy: the minimal penalty will be a score of 0 points on the assignment, the reduction of 1 letter grade in the final score, and a permanent ban on NYU-related jobs. ”
In F is for Fake, the same difference in moral standpoints on copycatting is seen. For some, plagiarising & creating false works are a form of creative expression. It is made to satisfy the public demand of novelty & shock value within a traditional framework. For others, the act of copying is a sham produced only by common con artists with no originality.
The director, Orson Welles, was a man who capitalized on misconstruing the public during his 1938 radio production of “War of the Worlds.” Through the combination of fiction presented as fact, he was able to produce one of the most legendary illusions in American history.
When is it accepted to perform an illusion? What is the true essence of originality, and how should it be honored & preserved? Why is it that artists & scientists have such as different viewpoint on the same issue? Is it possible for the two fields to grow, & create together?