plastic orchid factory

Join us at W2/SFU Woodward’s Atrium on Thursday, September 8 at 5:30pm for a performance by plastic orchid factory, followed by conversations with choreographer James Gnam, the dancers, Tina Piper, Laura Murray, Martha Rans and Mark Hosler. More details on our “About” page.

Images from the factory’s last production entitled “_post”.



(Dancers Ali Denham, Bevin Poole, Natalie Lefebvre Gnam, James Gnam. Photos by David Cooper.)

Building Bridges to Creators department

- posted by Martha – Aug 22, 2011, 5:32pm

The following comes from Corynne McSherry at the EFF:

“While this strikes us as a generally a positive development, we continue to worry about the mechanism. The deal depends on Google’s Content ID system, which facilitates monetization but also makes it too easy for big media to run roughshod over users’ legal rights to make fair use of copyrighted works. We understand that Content ID has gotten more attractive to publishers as the technology has been improved to better identify compositions in addition to sound recordings (think of a cover of a Lady Gaga song as opposed to Lady Gaga singing that song). Note to Google: now that you’ve adapted the technology to better match the desires of content owners, it’s time to put your engineers and lawyers to work on another improvement: fixing Content ID (and the policies that go with it) so that monetization doesn’t come at the cost of trampling on fair uses.

I could not agree more; the purpose of the event that we have put together is to hopefully find some common ground that ensures that we are able on the one hand to ensure that artists are not shut out of the equation.  On the other hand, artists (and users) have the access they need to continue to contribute to the cultural commons.  It would be a much brighter picture if the Googles around the world (and their friends) would support all of us in our work to effect change in the digital world.  Met today with an artist whose whose interest is not in the statement that his appropriation might make but rather the poetic quality of the images he chooses and the impact of their reproduction into new media.  He reminded me again that what artists want is rarely addressed in the legal arena.  They are much happier out of it.  Let’s all try and keep it that way.

Artists’ Access to Legal Resources in Canada

Waxy is a guy who created a version of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue.  He cleared all the samples.  What he did not do for whatever reason was clear the image rights from the photographer.  An action was brought against him despite his access to a fair use defence in the US (that recognizes transformative use unlike Canada where the Court has yet to do so). He tells the story here:  This situation highlights for me both the importance of using the defences we have when we have them and understanding them fully (which we often don’t).  It also illustrates the importance of access to informed and accessible legal advice.

Canada has only one legal clinic that provides any kind of representation and its mandate and capacity is very limited (CIPPIC). It has tended to focus on consumers.  We are a big country with a small population – we make lots of films, video games, and yes a whole lot of art, but the access to advice and ultimately representation is extremely limited.  We have no staff lawyers at the EFF, Public Knowledge, Stanford Fair Use, Berkman, and, like the ALO, the CJAM, and the clinic in Halifax, have no sustainable sources of revenue as support (unlike most VLA’s in the USA).  We have a new copyirght act coming and few resources to address the litigation that will undoubtedly follow.  Part of my reason for organizing the art, revolution and ownership event is to seek a means to gather support for the tasks that are ahead.  Please join us on the 8th!



Creative Control

“One Nation under a Groove” Funkadelic’s funk anthem may soon return to George Clinton. Based on a narrow provision in music contracts many songs from 1978 are poised to revert to the original creator. This not only opens up the possibility of artists controlling the royalties from their work, it also opens the possibility for them to share their work. Some of the issues confronted by musicians are canvassed in Copyright Criminals, a film that anyone who cares about copyright (and sampling in particular) should watch. While the termination rights will likely be litigated by record companies trying to hold onto material, it raises at least the possibility that the means of distribution may soon return to creators to decide how their work can be used and how much it costs. For more on this issue check out the New York Times and the Future of Music Coalition.

Press Release

ART, REVOLUTION AND OWNERSHIP: Who owns the Public Domain?

Artists in Conversation with Copyright

September 8, 5:30 & 6:30pm: plastic orchid factory dance performance

W2 /Atrium, SFU Woodwards (reception with artists and others to follow)

September 9-11: Art Installation Waldorf Hotel (part of New Forms Festival)

September 10, 1-5pm: Whose Voice is it Anyway? copyright conversations

Waldorf Hotel (part of New Forms Festival)

VANCOUVER, BC (Aug. 10, 2011) Are you an artist, a revolutionary, an owner? Questions of ownership permeate our culture – sample a sound, claim the East Van sign, remix a logo… Whether you’re an artist playing with images or sound, a coder or an activist, at some point you’ve probably asked yourself whether what you are doing is legal.


The Artists’ Legal Outreach (ALO) in association with New Forms Festival 2011 and W2 Community Media Arts presents Art, Revolution and Ownership, a multidisciplinary exploration of the ideas that inform art and the law. The performances, exhibitions and conversations explore the idea of the public domain, copyright and cultural consumption.


On September 8, the award-winning contemporary ballet company plastic orchid factory kicks off the program with two performances of “art is either a complaint or do something else”, set to a text by John Cage and choreographed by James Gnam. These performances will be video remixed live by artist Josh Hite. A reception follows with Laura Murray (musician, creator, academic, mother, co-author of Canadian Copyright: A Citizen’s Guide) and Tina Piper, (McGill, Faculty of Law) in a conversation about copyright, the future of art-making and open art. Drinks and snacks will be available at W2 Media Cafe.  The video remix will then be installed at the Waldorf Hotel for the duration of the New Forms Festival, September 9 – 11.


From September 9 – 11 at the Waldorf Hotel, audiences are invited to tour the exhibitions of three living labs of creative work from artists Diyan Achjadi, Sonny Assu, Faith Moosang, Ben Reeves, Hart Snider, Diana Thorneycroft, and Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas. Each room explores one of three themes: ‘war’, ‘the Group of Seven’, and “tradition”. Each theme is transformed and re-imagined.  Each lab challenges our assumptions about the law and art- making.


On September 10 from 1pm – 5pm join the copyright conversations at the Waldorf Hotel, presented in association with the Centre for Humanities at SFU.  Whose Voice is it Anyway? features exhibiting artists at NFF including Ben Reeves, Sonny Assu, Wikipedia Art, and scholars Laura Murray (, and Kirsty Robertson (Assistant Professor, Faculty of Visual Art at UWO), Geoff Glass and lawyer Martha Rans along with Mark Hosler, founder and member of legendary sound art collective Negativland

ADMISSION for the dance performance is by donation, while the conversation and exhibition are open to the public free of charge.

The Waldorf Hotel is located at 1489 East Hastings St. The Atrium at SFU Woodward’s is located just in front of the W2 Media Cafe, 149 West Hastings St.

Art, Revolution and Copyright is curated by Martha Rans and presented in partnership with the New Forms Festival. For additional information and complete event listings, please visit or    

Funded in part from a grant from the Access Copyright Cultural Foundation.

Media Contact: Gwen Kallio, Sisu Productions 604-215-2345



Artists’ Legal Outreach is a group of volunteer lawyers and law students committed to working with artists and arts organizations as well as not-for-profit and charitable organizations on issues requiring legal advice. We offer resources, workshops and clinics where artists can meet confidentially with an experienced lawyer.

For more information, please visit / or email .


Now in its 11th year, the New Forms Festival is redefining yet another space in Vancouver through media arts. The festival will run from from Sept 9-11, 2011, taking place at the Waldorf hotel. Focusing on concepts around the theme of ‘Public Domain’, the festival will feature installations in the hotel rooms, electronic music artists in the 3 performance spaces, and projections and video mapping on the facade of the building.

For more information, please visit


the plastic orchid factory is not a production plant for synthetic flowers. It is made up place where ideas, individuals and context collide to manufacture a product.

the plastic orchid factory is an award winning, Vancouver based, contemporary ballet company directed by James Gnam. Since it’s inception in 2006, the company’s primary focus has been to develop ethical and sustainable artistic practices that investigate how classical bodies can relate to contemporary ideas in performative settings.


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Event Updates

We have made some significant updates to our program for September. The guests for our dialogues have been finalized as well as the works to be presented in each of our living labs. Find out more details through the links above!


3 months and 8 days until our event!

The Artists Legal Outreach, in partnership with the New Forms Festival, is pleased to present Art, Revolution and Ownership. The exhibition/event includes 3 living labs, featuring works in various media (remix video, painting, photography, animation, printmaking, and graphic design), as well as a dance performance at W2 on September 8, 2011.

Each of the works confront our ideas about copyright and uses the law as a lens through which to explore the meaning of copyright in relation to aesthetic practice. In so many ways art transforms what we see and do, but does it transform the law? Each artist has contributed a short statement directed to the question of whether/how their work has been affected by copyright and the law. The program is curated by Martha Rans. Mark Hosler, founding member of Negativland, will join us as the roving moderator/agent provacateur.