magnus-Opus

Sound artists Jon Drummond and “Dr Sonique” have done the unthinkable - rubber stamped the “melody” of every possible telephone number combination as their own.

Their Magnus-Opus is a playful way of challenging copyright law, which Dr Sonique - better known as artist Dr Nigel Helyer - says often benefits the “corporates” before creators of artistic works.

Sixteen two-note chords were thrown into an algorithmic generator, which produced 10 billion melodies. “It is not without reason, therefore, that we claim to be the world’s most prolific composers,” the site proclaims.

Coincidentally, it says, some of the melodies - copyrighted in 1974 in London - correspond to tones used in phones, modems and other Internet devices. Anyone can plug in their number and see if their melody is in use. If so, anyone who dials it is infringing the artists’ copyright. The site provides application forms for licence agreements which can be filled out.

The work, Helyer says, “turns the power relationship on its head”. “It comes from someone at the bottom of the food chain, speaking from the point of view of someone at the top.” http://www.magnus-opus.com

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