Anything can be reused and that includes software, imagery and ideas. In fact adaptive reuse is really another way of describing the process of evolution, a process that applies to all activities. One of the reasons Microsoft is beginning to falter as a business is because it operates on an “intelligent design” model while open source software is the evolutionary product of innumerable minds working in a process of constant small adaptive steps. But that’s an argument for another day. Let’s look at imagery and ideas.
Imants Tillers has been a friend since we were teenagers and he’s having a retrospective at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. In many ways his whole career has been based on collecting and adapting imagery from other artists to illustrate ideas of his own. Imants has used this process to illustrate the whole cultural condition of non-indigenous Australians thereby making a positive of a colonialist attitude that has condemned many other Australian artists to derivative mediocrity. He must be almost the only Australian artist to emerge from the appropriationist movement of the 1980s with any credit.
But there are other ways to reuse imagery. Walt Disney has in fact developed a production method that involves the reuse of animation cells to cut production costs.
Which gets us to the reuse of ideas. Another favorite blogger, Jhuger does a hilarious adaption of Pascal’s Wager, (Pascal’s famous argument for Christian belief ie what have you got to lose, if it turns out that god exists you’ll be on the right side, and if there is no god it won’t matter) in an attempt to blackmail gullible christians into sending him money.
And here you can find his poster of the ten commandments, the first of three versions in the bible that was adapted by later biblical writers to progressively ban more things. The ten commandments evolved? You mean even the ten commandments weren’t intelligently designed? Is nothing sacred?