Oliver Laric’s Versions, 2010, is a video essay that muses on the manipulation and [re-appropriation] of images throughout history.
[re-appropriation] Laric offers–through the text, but also through a carefully orchestrated succession of found images and clips–that no image, icon, or thing can be singular. Each is haunted by another version of itself, or by something else entirely.
Versions (2010) is the second of [three] official versions of this essay, and forms part of a larger project that includes “a series of sculptures, airbrushed images of missiles, a talk, a PDF, a song, a novel, a recipe, a play, a dance routine, a feature film and merchandise.” All of these components come together to create a meta-exploration of the topics raised therein: the relationship between copy and original, authorship, piracy, and reuse. Ultimately, Versions is a celebration of visual culture as a collective, social project, historically and in the internet-enabled present.
[three] From 2009-2012, Laric produced three iterations of the video essay Versions (2009), Versions (2010), and Versions (2012).
The videos all collage original text by Laric with stolen texts from other artists and thinkers, spoken by a feminine computerized voice. Laric pairs this audio track with with images, clips, and icons that jump back and forth across centuries, mixing original source material with Laric’s recreations.
[dig deeper] Read Dean Kissick's essay on Versions: https://rhizome.org/editorial/2018/apr/30/i-cook-every-chance-in-my-pot/
In one moment, Versions offers scenes from animated films side by side, displaying their uncanny similarity. It becomes clear that the two distinct scenes share a skeleton, a moving image sequence that may have been rotoscoped numerous times with with different characters and backgrounds.
“We are always somehow rereading a classic, because we have encountered some previous incarnation of it, a refraction, in other stories, texts, or versions. What are the many versions if not diverse perspectives of a moveable event, if not a long, experimental assortment of omissions and emphases?”
- Versions (2010)