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      Art, Law and Unstable Corporate Identities


      Proceedings of EVA London 2019 (EVA 2019)

      Electronic Visualisation and the Arts

      8 - 11 July 2019

      Art, Law, Branding, Corporation, Company, Intellectual property, Trademark



            Art has used the tactic of parasitism, which has included the appropriation of intellectual property such as brand images, to challenge the accumulation and exploitation of consumer data in the so-called co-creation of corporate identity. This is greatly facilitated by online real-time technologies. Corporations understand brands to capture the identity of an organisation. Intellectual property laws are used to protect brands in the crucial commercial process of the formation, stabilisation and manipulation of corporate identity. In TM Clubcard (1997) Rachel Baker employed direct lifts of supermarket logos to parasite Tesco’s ‘Clubcard,’ which was the UK’s first supermarket loyalty card scheme. The work associated the supermarket brand with what Baker called a “dysfunctional” database of members. Tesco threatened legal action, which led to Baker re-directing TM Clubcard towards another supermarket: Sainsbury’s. TM Clubcard collected personal details, and together with a claim that the work was deceptive, one of the supermarkets also asserted that it was entitled to this data. The work was brought to an end after a warning from law firms that legal proceedings would be issued. Baker explicitly situated the appropriation of the supermarkets’ brands by TM Clubcard in the context of Duchamp’s ready-mades. The implications of such art for identity construction may be engaged with through the performative after Derrida. A stark opposition between the law and art is too simplistic. The intersection between the two opens the possibility of engaging with the violence of the law as exemplified in the ways it structures and forecloses the ways that identities may be created and perpetuated. This violence is intertwined with the law’s claims to being ahistorical and acontextual. Art invites inventive encounters with the contingencies and constraints of the legal system(s) by which it is simultaneously both threatened and enabled.


            Author and article information

            July 2019
            July 2019
            : 288-292
            [0001]Birkbeck School of Law

            University of London, UK
            © Pilcher. Published by BCS Learning and Development Ltd. Proceedings of EVA London 2019, UK

            This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

            Proceedings of EVA London 2019
            EVA 2019
            London, UK
            8 - 11 July 2019
            Electronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC)
            Electronic Visualisation and the Arts
            Product Information: 1477-9358BCS Learning & Development
            Self URI (journal page): https://ewic.bcs.org/
            Electronic Workshops in Computing


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