My Lawyer is an Artist – Revised



When I started my PhD, I first wanted to write about the potential role of free culture licences as substitute for art manifestos when the former were used in the context of an artistic practice. This idea led to the writing of the paper “My Lawyer is an Artist” which was presented in 2011 at ISEA.

I had the chance to revise it recently for Hz Journal and benefited from very helpful editorial feedback. As a consequence, the result is more than a minor revision to the original essay and provides, I hope, some more historical unfolding that is necessary for my argument, yet was only briefly mentioned in the first version.


“My Lawyer is an Artist” looks back at the nineties’ free culture Pangea that saw the first artistic appropriation of the free software movement with projects such as GNUArt and the Free Art License. It argues that although today many different voices are muffled by the globalist tone of free culture, this early adoption was a conscious political choice belonging to a rich lineage of proto-copyleft artistic practices. By adopting free culture licenses, artists have turned contracts into manifestos.

You can read the whole paper here.