A Terabyte of Piracy Ain't Art

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A Terabyte of Piracy Ain't Art

Displaying the evidence of a crime is all it takes to get into an art gallery these days.

The debate about what can be considered art and what cannot gets reinvigorated every few years. Jackson Pollack's famous paint splotches are perhaps the best known example of a polarizing piece of art with moderns on one side and traditionalists on the other. I usually fall back to saying, "If it's art to someone, then it's art to me," but this latest piece displayed at the Art 404 gallery in Miami stretches credibility to the breaking point. Manuel Palou is a twenty year old artist who illegally downloaded what he calculated to be $5 million worth of media and loaded it all onto a terabyte hard drive. According to Palou and the Art 404 Gallery, putting the shiny black drive on a pedestal and calling it "5 million dollars, 1 Terabyte" is enough to make it art.

Palou included a list of all of the files the drive contains and - not surprisingly - there are a lot of games on there like the entire Nintendo 64 library and other ROMs in addition to font packages and expensive software like AutoCAD. For the most part, Palou included only large packages and bundles to fill up the 1,000 gigs of space, but he was nice enough to include the URL where these files could be illegally downloaded. Want to steal a collection of PC games released from 1979-2001 taking up 130GB and valued at $150,000? Well, you can go to the URL provided, you know if you were a jerk.

Like I said, I usually don't have a strong opinion on what is art and what is not, but spending time stealing content - even if many of the games and other content might be out of print - and putting it on display just doesn't impress me. To say nothing of literally putting piracy on a pedestal, Palou was just lazy and went for the big catch-all collections instead of curating what ended up on the drive.

I mean, if he had hand-picked each piece of content to be meaningful or culturally important, at least that would have been something. But with a high speed internet connection, this "5 million dollars, 1 Terabyte" might have taken Palou an afternoon to download.

And that's just not art at all.

Source: Art 404 via Wired UK

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Greg Tito:
...latest piece displayed at the Art 404 gallery in Miami

I'm sorry, but I've looked everywhere and I just couldn't find Art 404

OT: It's an... original idea if nothing else.

Yea, that's indeed lazy.

But then again, I dislike many artists in general.

I knew most modern art was stupid. This just proves it.

CM156:

Greg Tito:
...latest piece displayed at the Art 404 gallery in Miami

I'm sorry, but I've looked everywhere and I just couldn't find Art 404

OT: It's an... original idea if nothing else.

Oh, that hurt my eyes, what you did there!
Actually no, nice one :D
But I've never really understood art, or well, most of it. I just see random stuff, can't really get the meaning of it or whatnot.
Also, i have to say, he gets points for originality. At least anyone hasn't done it before. Well, most likely they have, but they haven't put their 1TB hard drive to a gallery...
Anyways, I'm the least qualified to say whether or not this is art, so I'll just not say anything about that.

Eh.

If a pile of soup cans can be considered art, then so can a hard drive of pirated stuff.

This is probably the most pointless piece of 'art' around, but I still think the starving dog was worse.


I Just can't keep up with all this insanity...Wait. I just realized something. My buddy has over a terabyte of porn...is that art?

maybe you should have kept your opinions on the down low here, tito. this is one of those things where you'll either be completely right or look completely ignorant.

A pile of soup cans could be considered creative, a painting of soup cans was considered art. Clicking Download All isn't creative and not art.

I smell hypocrisy in this post.

Escapist clearly doesn't like piracy and warns/close threads with anything remotely promoting HOWEVER a link in the OP goes directly to a page where you can access pirate software.

Technically that promotes piracy.

Tut at you Greg, tut indeed.

Greg Tito:

Palou included a list of all of the files the drive contains

Linking to pirate software. Bad Escapist post.

This was one of those posts that could bite you in the arse. Now when people get a warning for mentioning pirate software i'm going to link to this post and remind them their own posters advertise it themselves.

And yes, before anyone questions my logic a link that goes directly to pirate software IS advertising it. Remember folks, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

i said it before and say it again, modern "art" sucks bad.
this piece of work and inspiration boredom and lazyness says: q.e.d. ^^

questionnairebot:
Wait. I just realized something. My buddy has over a terabyte of porn...is that art?

Yes. A thousand times yes.

Vryyk:

questionnairebot:
Wait. I just realized something. My buddy has over a terabyte of porn...is that art?

Yes. A thousand times yes.

I guess you could say it is representing the struggle of the female in todays society. And spooge.....lots of spooge.

lol, he is not the first one

I usually have trouble with modern art (once I saw a broken snow shovel being displayed), but I actually get this. Doesn't it bring up the idea of how digital data that can be replicated with virtually no cost is assigned a value? A little black box you can buy at any computer store worth $5,000,000 because it's filled with data? And the fact that this is so easy to do?

I'm starting to think that artists that create (Create being used in its loosest definition) these pieces are just trolls who have taken an art degree.

While I don't think much of the display in itself, I think I see what he's trying to do. As well as being quite original, the idea is likely that the viewer sees the 5 million dollar tag and it's simply a small, forlorn, unassuming black box. It's innocuous, subtle and not worth noticing, and yet it contains what would amount to $5mill dollars of content were it paid for.

I think the viewer is supposed to think about piracy and understand that while it seems so easy, so without notice it deprives the industry of money one could argue it's due. That black box represents companies that haven't been paid, it represents greed/selfishness, it represents abuse, it represents consequences (or lack thereof). The (price) tag is a shock tactic. Such an unassuming box worth $5mill? Piracy isn't noteworthy if it's "just one track" worth $0.99c, but so much in one little box, maybe people will think twice in the future.

And with that in mind, what is art if not a means of expressing an idea?

Greg Tito:
Like I said, I usually don't have a strong opinion on what is art and what is not, but spending time stealing content - even if many of the games and other content might be out of print - and putting it on display just doesn't impress me. To say nothing of literally putting piracy on a pedestal, Palou was just lazy and went for the big catch-all collections instead of curating what ended up on the drive.

I mean, if he had hand-picked each piece of content to be meaningful or culturally important, at least that would have been something. But with a high speed internet connection, this "5 million dollars, 1 Terabyte" might have taken Palou an afternoon to download.

And that's just not art at all.

**sigh**

I find it really sad how many people have no idea what they're talking about when it comes to art.

This project is most certainly art, because it makes a comment about today's society. Art is not (just) about looking nice or creativity - it's about chronicling who we are as a people.

At the moment, according to this artist, we're a society that makes it possible to pirate 5 million dollars with comparatively little effort.

The artist isn't putting piracy up on a pedestal - he's CRITICIZING our society due to how easy piracy is. Why list the sources? Perhaps to get those sites shut down? Or perhaps to point out how many of these sites there are, and how no one is doing anything about it.

This piece is a powerful anti-piracy message. If you don't like it, fine, but don't say it isn't art when it very clearly is. People in glass houses arguing that video games are art shouldn't throw "this isn't art" stones when they don't even understand the piece.

I hope it doesn't become common, but I'm forced to admit that it kind of works as art.

To me it's a statement about how bizarre our storage capabilities are, that all that media can be contained in that little, unremarkable black box.

I agree with Princess Rose. This is *definitelly* art. Its actually an interesting piece because, if you are willing to think about it, makes you ponder some really deep questions. Is this little black box really worth 5 million dollars? If no then why is our media so overpriced? If yes then why don't we do more to protect people from piracy? Does the box represent 5 million in real dollars or lost sales? What is the difference between the two. Honestly, most art is about topics much less down to earth than piracy.

"What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." - Oscar Wilde

Whether or not you think it's art, this kid is certainly making a statement about how obvious the gap between price and value is in today's culture. I think that if you're arguing that something isn't art then you've already lost. I am solidly on the side of it being art. To use such a simple idea to make such a complex statement is worth some congratulations in my opinion.

Fronzel:
I usually have trouble with modern art (once I saw a broken snow shovel being displayed), but I actually get this. Doesn't it bring up the idea of how digital data that can be replicated with virtually no cost is assigned a value? A little black box you can buy at any computer store worth $5,000,000 because it's filled with data? And the fact that this is so easy to do?

I'm thinking this. It's not like he's really damaged the companies in any way here (except proving its possible to pirate their stuff and lets be honest here, who didn't know that) and it actually has a point behind it.

Much more of a point to it than a room that turns its light on when you open the door, and off when its closed. (Yes, that exists and its a ridiculously expensive version of my friends living room who had that installed for about £200)

Aside from that, OP: Your comment about it taking about an afternoon is exactly why this is considered art. Its so damn easy to pirate that much worth of data, yet nobody has fought it properly? Why?

Time and effort are not needed to produce art.

Seriously, you're becoming one of my least favorite contributors over the course of a day. I know you're allowed opinions and everything but come on man, not cool.

Would have been thought provoking if it was a Terabyte of art images. Could've named it "21st Century Art Gallery". It would've also been "worth" more, and been a comment on how art is valued itself.

As it stands, it's just a hard drive.

To those touting that this is art, it is little more than a jab at the information age. It's hardly thought provoking, culturally significant, or of any emotional impact to anyone, including the "artist".

While i'll defend art wihout the deep and complex understanding that an art student may have, I think when you insrt the words "theft", "steal", and/or "Piracy" its not so much art as it is you just committing a crime and being dumbass enough to let the world know.

Of course, he probably got away with this piracy cause he called it art, but I'd like to think in the back of my mind that immediately after he left the gala, cops showed up with a bunch of companies representatives saying we'd like a word with you sir.

See developers? We're not playing pirated games, we're just putting them on a pedestal somewhere!

/piracy debate forever

If thats art then i know a shitload of artists.

I've purchased a ton of games legally. Can I go place my hard drive in a counter-piece next to his?

A comment on not being a dick. ART.

OT: Hey, what a shocker, a lot of people making something out of nothing and trying to legitimize bullcrap.

Counter point: R Mutt

If you know anything about modern art, you know about that.

Incredibly pretentious or just tongue-in-cheek. You decide. Though it's in an art gallery? Total pretention then.

Princess Rose:

Greg Tito:
Like I said, I usually don't have a strong opinion on what is art and what is not, but spending time stealing content - even if many of the games and other content might be out of print - and putting it on display just doesn't impress me. To say nothing of literally putting piracy on a pedestal, Palou was just lazy and went for the big catch-all collections instead of curating what ended up on the drive.

I mean, if he had hand-picked each piece of content to be meaningful or culturally important, at least that would have been something. But with a high speed internet connection, this "5 million dollars, 1 Terabyte" might have taken Palou an afternoon to download.

And that's just not art at all.

**sigh**

I find it really sad how many people have no idea what they're talking about when it comes to art.

This project is most certainly art, because it makes a comment about today's society. Art is not (just) about looking nice or creativity - it's about chronicling who we are as a people.

At the moment, according to this artist, we're a society that makes it possible to pirate 5 million dollars with comparatively little effort.

The artist isn't putting piracy up on a pedestal - he's CRITICIZING our society due to how easy piracy is. Why list the sources? Perhaps to get those sites shut down? Or perhaps to point out how many of these sites there are, and how no one is doing anything about it.

This piece is a powerful anti-piracy message. If you don't like it, fine, but don't say it isn't art when it very clearly is. People in glass houses arguing that video games are art shouldn't throw "this isn't art" stones when they don't even understand the piece.

I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of why this qualifies as art... but then I'm going to turn around and disagree with what it means.

I have a terabyte hard drive too. It's mostly empty because I haven't bothered to fill it with stuff. (although it'll likely fill up with backups if I remember to do them...) That hard drive cost me $100.

What does it say about our society that you can fill a $100 piece of hardware with bits that people claim are worth more money than you're likely to make in your entire life unless your average salary over your life isn't nearly in the top tax bracket? (and that's if you have no living expenses...)

Admittedly, he went for the low-hanging fruit, for the most part: Enterprise software is expensive as hell because corporations can generally afford it, and older software actually faced space constraints now only faced in embedded systems now, so those bits also have a high value density. Still, we have data storage capacity that far outstrips our ability to buy that data. I believe this means something is priced wrong.

Error 404: Art Not Found.

Also why was this guy not arrested?

I think this is art. It's a comment on a cultural trend and its availability, for good or bad. At least that's what it is to me. I like it.
Also, you are really late, this story broke like a week or two ago.
EDIT:

Princess Rose:

Greg Tito:
Like I said, I usually don't have a strong opinion on what is art and what is not, but spending time stealing content - even if many of the games and other content might be out of print - and putting it on display just doesn't impress me. To say nothing of literally putting piracy on a pedestal, Palou was just lazy and went for the big catch-all collections instead of curating what ended up on the drive.

I mean, if he had hand-picked each piece of content to be meaningful or culturally important, at least that would have been something. But with a high speed internet connection, this "5 million dollars, 1 Terabyte" might have taken Palou an afternoon to download.

And that's just not art at all.

**sigh**

I find it really sad how many people have no idea what they're talking about when it comes to art.

This project is most certainly art, because it makes a comment about today's society. Art is not (just) about looking nice or creativity - it's about chronicling who we are as a people.

At the moment, according to this artist, we're a society that makes it possible to pirate 5 million dollars with comparatively little effort.

The artist isn't putting piracy up on a pedestal - he's CRITICIZING our society due to how easy piracy is. Why list the sources? Perhaps to get those sites shut down? Or perhaps to point out how many of these sites there are, and how no one is doing anything about it.

This piece is a powerful anti-piracy message. If you don't like it, fine, but don't say it isn't art when it very clearly is. People in glass houses arguing that video games are art shouldn't throw "this isn't art" stones when they don't even understand the piece.

You said it so much better than I.

Society has just reached a new low. It's things like this that make me ashamed to be part of the human race.

So? I have 2 terabyte hard-drives full of hentai and you don't see me bragging, although I think my tissue collage is art, its coming along nicely. *nudge nudge*

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