Appropriation : Reflections and Shadows

Reflections and Shadows

This Image has acted as both catalyst and quandry. Reflection upon it has been essential to my recent practice.

Does a copy act as a reflection or shadow of the original? Is a reflection a shadow ?

Which way up is the correct view ? Which way did I see it first?

Each time I see the image how does it compare to the one I have in my brain ?

It has a nostalgic smell to it. It is familiar and pleasing. Am I appropriating it into my own timeline, both real and electronic.

The “original” source of the image is the Instagram account @trickyofficial.

Instagram thrives on and breeds appropriation. Share, <3 and Like

The photograph may never be printed and therefore never be a physical object. However it remains an image. It would be a fruitless exercise to attempt to find the “original” image.

@trickyofficial is the Instagram account of Tricky, a UK recording artist. I began following him due to one song in particular, Black Steel, which is a cover of a Public Enemy song Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos. This is a track recounting a Draft Dodger being imprisoned and subsequent escape.

Hip hop is built on appropriation. Samples and loops from past recordings.

Cultural appropriation is relevant here as tricky a UK artist has covered a US artists’ work.

The continent of North America itself having been appropriated from it’s indigenous peoples. Who themselves have been appropriated via Hollywood.

Cowboys and Indians : The term Indian has been applied to North American peoples due to Columbus’ attempt to find an alternative route to the Indies, now East Indies.

Hip hop culture and in a broader sense black culture have been subject to appropriation whenever they have been deemed to be profitable. Indeed Africans were appropriated en masse and shipped to North America over 400 years ago. Prison and the draft are also seen as Racially motivated appropriation.

Black Steel Lyrics :

I got a letter from the government
The other day
I opened and read it
It said they were suckers
They wanted me for the army or whatever
Picture me given’ a damn, I said never
Here is a land that never gave a damn
About a brother like me and myself
Because they never did
I wasn’t wit’ it, but just that very minute
It occurred to me
The suckers had authority
Cold sweatin’ as I dwell in my cell
How long has it been?
They got me sittin’ in the state pen
I gotta get out, but that thought was thought before
I contemplated a plan on the cell floor
I’m not a fugitive on the run
But a brother like me begun, to be another one
Public enemy servin’ time, they drew the line y’all
To criticize me some crime, never the less
They could not understand that I’m a black man
And I could never be a veteran
On the strength, the situation’s unreal
I got a raw deal, now I’m lookin’ for the steel

Nevertheless they cannot understand
That I’m a black man, and I could never be a veteran.
On the strength of situations, I’m real.
I got a raw deal, so I’m lookin’ for the steel
Lookin’ for the steel.

Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos full original lyrics :