Imitation is part of human nature.

The patent is part of the intellectual property system. It was created to protect inventors and creator from theft in early capitalism. A way to create a safe environment to push creation. But is it still the case today? The system is going sideways. The patent system especially doesn’t benefit the creator but is used by big companies to insure a monopoly of creation. With the rise of patent sharks (monopoly of market) and patent trolls (make money from creator) we don’t have the right to create anymore. The system doesn’t profit the creator anymore and is going against creation itself.

Creation and copying are strongly linked. They do have a lot in common like the fact that both of them can be considered a human need. We like to copy imitate and take over. Marcus Boon consider it in his book a human need. Unfortunately the term copy has a bad connotation in our western culture. We often see a copy as a regression of an original and theft. We connote copy to counterfeit nowadays when in fact the term copy comes from the latin copia which means abundance, plenty and multitude. Quite far from negative term as we know now. Copia was even the Goddess of abundance in the antique Rome. A goddess of plenty, wealth and prosperity. Our entire history, our world as we know it is based on that compulsive need to copy and imitate. The evolution process of our life is just a long story line of many different people.

This is where we arrive in copytopia. A place where freedom of creation is reclaimed. A place where our need to imitate is embraced and the legitimacy of intellectual property questioned. Those pieces has been made to shake the idea of a creator as we know. Copy not as a regression but as a takeover. A designer being not a shaper anymore but a selector. Selecting parts and putting them together. Almost as a dj in the early history of hiphop when they take different samples and put them together. But outside copytopia, who owns the intellectual property of the globality of the pieces? I’m stepping over 4 different patents and copyrights here. I use patented parts in their original purpose but also in a different way. Is intellectual property still relevant here?

The project was displayed at the Design Academy Graduation show during Dutch Design Week 2018 and also at several different locations during this event.

Photos: Pierre Castignola