Tag Archives: Victoria Harbour

Rubber duck artist Florentijn Hofman doesn’t understand intellectual property


It was announced this week that Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman will bring a smaller version of the Hong Kong duck to China’s capital for Beijing Design Week in September. Accompanying the duck will be Hofman’s inflated ego and wilful misunderstanding of copyright and intellectual property.

In previous coverage of the Hong Kong duck we’ve largely overlooked Hofman’s ridiculous statements (he claimed Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour would “never be the same“) about the “meaning” behind his work: ‘artist says pretentious thing about art’ isn’t really news. What is worth discussing however is Hofman’s equally ridiculous statements about intellectual property and the monopoly he seems to think he has on depictions of rubber ducks.

The stated objective of Hofman’s visit to Beijing Design Week is to “drive an awareness programme raising the sensibility towards intellectual property rights around China”. This is an admirable goal for sure, but one that is entirely unsuited to Hofman’s work.

As Jeremy Goldkorn pointed out on Twitter, rubber ducks predate Florentijn Hofman by a long time. The first rubber ducks appeared in the late 19th century as rubber manufacturing became widespread. In fact, the iconic nature of the rubber duck in pop culture is what makes Hofman’s work so successful, something he previously acknowledged. Since bringing his work to China however, Hofman (and his representatives) have taken a different approach, seeking to claim that companies that riff on or recreate the Hong Kong duck are infringing upon the artist’s “intellectual property”, a narrative that has been seized upon and bolstered by the Chinese press in a series handwringing editorials.

From a moral standpoint, Hofman’s case is fairly strong. Recreations/copies of the Hong Kong duck that popped up in Chinese cities were crass opportunism at best, a way to piggyback on the huge amount of goodwill Hong Kong was receiving from the duck’s presence in Victoria Harbour. What the recreations do not do is infringe upon Hofman’s intellectual property rights. Making a larger version of an existing object does not give one copyright over other depictions of that object.

When discussing copyright and creativity, the words we use matter. Hofman is well within his rights to say that copying his idea (of taking an existing object and making a large, inflatable version of it) is kind of a dick move, but to make this a debate about intellectual property only further degrades an already vague, unhelpful term.

tl;dr “Pretentious Artist Doesn’t Understand Intricacies of Copyright Law”

Source: http://shanghaiist.com/2013/06/25/rubber_duck_artist_florentijn_hofman_doesnt_understand_intellectual_property.php


Ducking the history books

Yellow Duck Version of Tank Man Photo Goes Viral Despite Chinese Censorship duckytankman

Yesterday was the 24th anniversary of the massacre in Tiananmen Square — an event that has been immortalized in history by AP photographer Jeff Widener’s famous “Tank Man” photo we shared earlier today. What you may not know is that, in China, the government still does everything it can to keep the event shrouded in mystery, pretending it never happened.

The Internet, however, is having none of it, as memes depicting the tank man photo in ways that might avoid censorship nets spring up all over the place. One of the most viral is the photo you see above.

The duck meme was inspired by the massive yellow ducks installed in Hong Kong’s Victoria harbor. Some unknown person took images of those ducks and used them to replace the tanks in the famous Tank Man photo below:

Yellow Duck Version of Tank Man Photo Goes Viral Despite Chinese Censorship tankman

The photo emerged first on the Chinese microblogging website Weibo, and has since received so much attention that Chinese authorities have added the term “big yellow duck” to a massive list of banned terms. Other forbidden words include “June 4th,” “today,” and “remember.”

No official death toll has ever been released from the student-led demonstration in Tiananmen Square — simply referred to as “The June 4th Incident” in Chinese — but estimates range as high as one thousand.

Source: http://petapixel.com/2013/06/05/yellow-duck-version-of-tank-man-photo-goes-viral-amidst-chinese-censorship/#To19Iu2Idbp0Igfl.99

China condemns plague of fake ducks

Visitors pose for photos in front of a yellow rubber duck floating on a lake in eastern China’s Tianjin, on June 1, 2013. The official mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party condemned an outbreak of giant yellow ducks across the country, after imitations of an artwork in Hong Kong landed in several cities.

The official mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party condemned an outbreak of giant yellow ducks across the country, after imitations of an artwork in Hong Kong landed in several cities. Visitors…

Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s 16.5 metre (54 foot) tall yellow inflatable has been a sensation in both Hong Kong and mainland China since it was installed in Victoria Harbour a month ago. Property…

Property developers in several cities, among them Hangzhou, Wuhan and Tianjin, have rushed to install similar, albeit smaller, yellow ducks to attract potential customers to their projects. In an editorial…

In an editorial the People’s Daily, China’s most-circulated newspaper, condemned the imitators for betraying what it said was Hofman’s own message.

The duck, it said, was a symbol of “humanity’s shared culture and childhood memories, pure art and anti-commercialisation”.

Copycat ducks were merely “kitsch” and such unoriginal behaviour “will ruin our creativity and our future and lead to the loss of imagination eventually” it said.

“The more yellow ducks are there, the further we are from Hofman’s anti-commercialisation spirit, and the more obvious is our weak creativity.”

“It’s good that the rubber duck is popular, but it’s sad to see the innovation of our country to go down. We often talk about awareness and confidence in our own culture, but where do they come from? Definitely not from following new trends.”

Tourism authorities in Hunan, it pointed out, have renamed a mountain long known as the “Southern Sky Column” as “Avatar Hallelujah Mountain” after it inspired landscapes in the Hollywood special-effects blockbuster.

“This is not innovation, it’s selling our inheritance,” the newspaper said in the editorial, which appeared both in print and online editions.

For those who want a giant rubber duck of their own, China’s vast army of manufacturing firms has moved to meet demand.

One company, KK Inflatable, is selling ducks in multiple sizes, one of them even larger than Hofman’s creation, on Taobao, China’s biggest shopping website.

A two-metre one costs 2,800 yuan ($460), one of the size of Hofman’s is 118,000, and the biggest bird of all, a 20-metre monster duck, costs 149,800 yuan.

Source :http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/world/353208/china-state-media-condemns-plague-of-fake-ducks.

Giant rubber duck deflates in Hong Kong harbour

A 16m (52ft)-high rubber duck, which has attracted crowds of visitors as it travels around the world, has deflated in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour.

The giant bird, created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, was found lying on its side on Tuesday night and was completely flat by Wednesday, reports say.

Before and after picture of a giant rubber duck that has deflated in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour

Exhibition organisers say it is part of scheduled maintenance work.

The inflatable duck was due to be towed to a shipyard for a check-up.

The giant yellow sculpture has been transported around the globe since 2007, visiting cities including Sydney, Sao Paulo, and Amsterdam.

It arrived in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour on 2 May and was due to stay until 9 June.

Its deflation caused disappointment in the city, where the duck has become a popular tourist attraction.

“We scheduled a body check for these two days. If everything is fine we can inflate it as soon as possible and the public can appreciate it again,” Andrew Yeung, a spokesman for the Harbour City shopping centre that arranged the installation, told the news agency AFP.

“I know people are disappointed but we need to check the overall condition. We don’t want to upset everyone.”

Mr Hofman has previously warned that the PVC duck would need to be deflated if it faced high winds and waves.

The artist hopes the work will bring people together and encourage a connection with public art.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22542006