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Cambodian Dancers, Auguste Rodin, and the Imperial Imagination (2014) (theappendix.net)
16 points by apollinaire 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 4 comments



I don't understand why when people incorporate another culture's assets respectfully in their own work, that it's considered 'hijacking'?


This accusation usually comes down to two things:

1) Cultural productions of other peoples might be deeply linked to religious observance, social rituals, or a person’s own identity (i.e. in some cultures a person may have a song that only he/she may sing). When these productions are taken up by another people that reproduces these things without the same religious context or social functions, this can seem offensive. Saying “I was respectful!” often doesn’t fly.

2) It seems unfair when an impoverished people creates something beautiful but gets little economic benefit from it, while someone from a richer country/ethnicity comes along, reproduces it, and then makes a lot of money.

Note that I am taking no stand on this myself. I am only pointing out the common arguments.


I know these aren't your arguments but I can't help but respond to them.

> Saying “I was respectful!” often doesn’t fly.

I think there's a big difference between works that are mockeries versus work that seeks to make something beautiful & useful that's obvious to most people.

> It seems unfair when an impoverished people creates something beautiful but gets little economic benefit from it, while someone from a richer country/ethnicity comes along, reproduces it, and then makes a lot of money.

I can understand this sentiment if the derivative work is nothing more than a copy. However this is an argument that's similar to the ones that proponents of extending copyright forever make. It's just another form of gate keeping and monopoly. Ideas should be shared and used. It helps promote and continue innovation, and in this case share culture.


The article compares Rodin's drawings of the Cambodian dancers with those by Noël Dorville, but includes no images of the latter.

For the interested, I found this: https://www.ebay.fr/itm/Tableau-Litho-signee-mine-de-plomb-p...

Scroll down for larger images.




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