Editorial 4: Copie

Manny and Josephine par Pierre Dalpé

Copie. Copy.

This is such a fascinating concept–the copy–isn’t it?

Think about it. There’s the act of copying that is defined by reproducing, duplicating, or in some way replicating something that already exists. But copy is also a noun, the product or object of the action, the act of copying.

That the act and the consequence/product have the same name only hints at the philosophical weirdness of “copy”.

Copy what? Copy how? Copy who?

Copy an original, cover a song, print a photo, photocopy a chapter, multiply cells, replicate a document, (re)represent, imitate, mime, reproduce, etc… Are we constantly copying?

Isn’t everything we do online an act of copying? Copy & paste. Download. Save a new version. Copy. Copy. Copy. But what exactly are we copying? Binary bits? Information? Conditions? Ideas? Structures? Actions? Habits?

Do we copy what’s normal? What’s right?

Two incredibly rich articles in this fourth issue of NMP, by Yasmin Nair and by Laura J. Murray, are in dialogue around discussions of family structure and the conditions of reproduction: what does the straight family model reveal about the so-called original? And, what does the queer copy invoke?

Drawing parallels between reproductive technologies and issue of reproduction more broadly, Murray leads us through the complicated labyrinth of copy law in Canada.

Nair considers the consequences of the struggles for the acceptance of gay marriage in the US, and what it reveals of a culture fixated on “copying” straight culture.

Alexandra Juhasz and Jane Anderson also consider the copy – what the fake means and what the limits of authenticity and of visibility may be.

Juhasz writes “the queer copy marks and thus unsettles binaries of stable being, knowing, and showing and inserts a question, joke, or angry exclamation where once only certainty held firm.”

What of disbelief in the age of the ubiquitous copy?

What about frauds, forgeries and fakes? What about knockoffs and counterfeits? They are copies too.

Why do we need to know what is real? What does it reveal about us? What does it say about our past and our relationship to history, to knowledge production, to archives?

How does the visibility afforded by mass copying and the proliferation of media more generally come to affect communities in different ways?

To this, Jane Anderson puts into question the way copyright is seeped in liberal individualism, including the ways in which rationalities of ownership and authorship are upheld in copyright law. Anderson’s questioning is around the marginalization of indigenous people within the archive.

Bernie Bankrupt’s “Lesbian Concentrate” is a welcome reflection on lesbian music herstory. Part of Lesbians on Ecstasy, Bernie Bankrupt reveals the thinking behind the band’s concept as borrowing and adapting songs from the lesbian musical canon. A lot of so-called tampering goes into a copy, especially when cover song becomes dance remix.

Prized filmmaker, Dana Inkster talks to Dayna McLeod about her diverse practice, life on the prairies, identity, and fucking. All things complicated. All things messy. A perfect match for the theme of “copy”, Inkster’s Redux is proudly featured on the site.

For the cover, Pierre Dalpé seemed like the obvious choice. With his duplicitous heart revealed, Dalpé thwarts the idea of authenticity, and of representation in photography. His personae series is a beautiful and eerie look into the possibilities and limitations of twinning.

As part of a series of incredibly well-researched and thought-provoking articles, NMP contributor Nicholas Little explores the current realities of the suffering of sex workers at the hands of the police and media.

Elisha Lim – another incredible comic, each time more insightful.

Stay tuned: our September 2009 theme is “fixate” and our November 2009 theme is “crux”. Got ideas? Write us. And don’t forget to subscribe online, and get yourself a copy of the magazine while you are it.

Remember to comment a lot (contributors still love that) and as always, dear readers, we are committed to bringing forward a defiant and eye-catching magazine bimonthly.

Mél Hogan