The Department of Exhibition and Performance Spaces at Columbia College Chicago’s Glass Curtain Gallery is presenting: FAIR USE, a multimedia exhibition that looks at how the action of copying, sampling, altering (hacking) and recycling of existing material is being used as a creative tool in contemporary culture. The exhibition sets out to foster discussion through the examination of work by contemporary artists and designers who develop alternatives to the way we share ideas, images and objects.

Fair Use is a multimedia exhibition that sets out to foster critical discussion about intellectual property rights. The exhibition looks at how contemporary artists and designers challenge proprietary cultural material through its appropriation, reconfiguration and redistribution.

The recent strategies of open-source and “copyleft” licensing serve to encourage collaboration and innovation through the free sharing of information. Together these two paradigms form a critique of the conventional modes of distribution and ownership to imagine a more fluid and inclusive economy of cultural meanings.

Participating artists include: Guy Ben-Ner, Bea Correa, Line Langballe and Christina Okai Mejborn of Totem Collective, Sze Lin Pang, Pratchaya Phintong, Seth Price, Kay Rosen, Salter/Snowden and Siebren Versteeg.  

This exhibition is curated by Brandon Alvendia.


In conjunction with the Fair Use exhibition, Totem Collective will be visiting Columbia College and conducting a workshop for Columbia College students.
Totem Collective, a design firm, based in Copenhagen, Denmark, which specializes in industrial design, graphic and conceptual design visited the college this fall, prior to the exhibition for the express purpose of collaborating with students and creating a work to be included in the exhibition.

Students were given the opportunity to attend and work directly with Totem members in two workshop sessions held during the week of October 12th – 16th, 2009.  During the workshops students were asked to create designs and scale models for modular shelving and seating systems.  The best design will be created in full scale and exhibited alongside Totem’s C plus system in the FAIR USE exhibition along with the other models and designs.  In the spirit of exhibition, the designs will also be made available online for anyone to adapt, alter and re-create.

All work in FAIR USE will be featured in a full color exhibition catalog. Totem has also expressed interest in exhibiting the selected student design in future exhibitions both in the U.S. and internationally.


In conjunction with the Fair Use exhibition, the curator will be working with ShopColumbia to create a mobile display, workshop, store system that could be used by ShopColumbia as a satellite store around campus and throughout the city. In addition to serving the shop the cart will be easily adaptable for multiple uses by multiple groups on and off campus. In this way the cart will serve as a platform to aid individuals in producing and distributing their own products outside of traditional and limited workshops and stores. The completed cart will also be displayed in the FAIR USE Exhibition alongside plans for its design, and will be included in the exhibition catalog.


ShopColumbia will be using the cart as a portable display and sales station at campus events as well as local art and craft fairs.  Events that ShopColumbia has participated in the past include: Industry Night, Manifest Alumni Bazaar, Printer’s Row Lit Festival, Printer’s Ball and Faculty and Staff holiday party. In the future ShopColumbia hopes to participate in the Renegade Craft Fair and other local fairs and events.