Bilawal Bhutto

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1 stack of A2 prints of an image of Bilawal Bhutto placed on floor near an ‘unmade’ stall.

Henry Proctor produced a stack of posters bearing the image of Bilawal Bhutto, the son of Benazir Bhutto and heir to her title. Bhutto is currently studying at Oxford and as such is afforded some anonymity from the press, however he is soon to become a global figure, his face will be known to us all. Proctor bought an image of Bhutto from Getty Images, paying nearly £100 for it. He was contracted to certain limitations regarding its distribution; the image has a print run limited to 10,000, it may only be distributed for one month and must not be reproduced digitally. As the months license is up any distribution of the image breaks Proctor’s contract agreement with Getty, after the deadline the image is activated legally as well as politically. However, since the start of Proctor’s use of the image, Bhutto has become more and more photographed, even appearing in the Daily Mail dressed as a devil. Therefore, the power of the image has decreased from the start of the project, however, Procter is still bound by the agreement he has with Getty. At the start of the project he wanted to free the image. I suggested something else, not so much a freeing of the image, but a more passive engagement with it. The stack will appear at the market stall but its ‘sale’ or ‘exchange’ will be prohibited by the contract agreement Proctor has engaged in. However, as it will just be left in a stack and not ‘guarded’ there shall be no instruction as to whether the image should or should not be taken. In the climate of the Market I expected the ‘audience’ to become activated to the extent they expect to be able to pick up the poster, much like you would at a trade fair or the like. As the circulation of the image is prohibited by law they will be dealing in contraband material, effectively entering into a smuggling operation. The moment the image is taken Procter will have broken his agreement with Getty, the person taking it will then become implicit in a crime they are unaware they have committed. Yet, we will not have either allowed them, nor disallowed them to remove it from the space. We will have adopted a passive position (knowingly so) putting into question the nature of exchange, the position of the spectator, the marketplace itself and how one negotiates the language of commerce and freedom of information in this setting. On the reverse of the image we outlined the contract Procter has entered into by purchasing the image.

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