Now that we can reproduce and remix virtually any picture, is there any point in trying to trace those images to a source? I asked myself this question after having read that a few folks on Tumblr were in a huff about Rihanna. They didn’t like that Rihanna used a blue-screen video with bunch of Greek statue heads, bluish looking water, and pink skies on Saturday Night Live, because it resembled an aesthetic journalists have dubbed “Seapunk.” (It’s also a musical style defined by its fusion of 90’s house, and the past 15 years of pop and R&B.)
Jacob Ciocci, an artist whose process runs the gamut from blatantly appropriating imagery to producing all-original content, didn’t seem to have much sympathy for artists like Jerome LOL, ZOMBELLE, and Bebe Zeva, each of whom is affiliated with the aesthetic. “If you do not want your image to travel somewhere far away, do not release it to the cloud,” he warned in a recent blog post. The more an image is seen, the more online authorship tends to disappear.