Originality Volvelle

Available for purchase

As an artist resident at Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts in New York, I researched copyright litigation. From hundreds of cases, I chose twenty across a spectrum of creative forms, distilling the cases onto a 10-inch wheel chart (similar to a color wheel). Through the chart, I developed a new relational system that facilitated novel interpretations and revealed contradictions. For instance, in one case a designer was guilty of infringement for copying a dog mannequin, whereas in another case a designer was allowed to copy a sculpture of a human mannequin. The chart exposed the ambiguity of “originality” and highlighted the challenges for creative practitioners when copyright protection is defined case by case.

I took advantage of my concurrent residency at the Center for Book Arts to produce the volvelle. The piece was letterpress printed using polymer plates on a Vandercook press. The outside wheel with cutouts was also made on the Vandercook using die-cut plates. Registering all these moving parts was a challenge. After running about two hundred prints, the final edition of volvelles that passed my quality control was fifty, which I was told was a good run. Letterpress is not for the faint of heart!

After exhibiting in New York and Chicago, I created a modified version for the Believer magazine.