Sampling the Globe

In a studio below my office at the Städelschule in Frankfurt, a young German painter is scrupulously copying Japanese manga characters, while a cadre of film students in the next room watch a bootleg of a Matthew Barney movie. Pratchaya Phinthong, a Thai student who is importing nearly worthless coins from his country that work perfectly in the vending machines here (and, I presume, everywhere two-Euro pieces are accepted), recently disclosed his ingenious discovery at our open studio event. Now these two-Euro bahts are spreading across the continent like a virus. Phinthong’s next move, to upload onto our server illegal copies of popular software bought in Bangkok and offer them gratis, was, understandably, halted by our administrative director. But isn’t free circulation the future? “What is currently compelling is our pervasive cybernetic mode, which plunks copyright into mythology,

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