THE HORRORS VS JESSE KANDA, AND OTHER STORIES OF COULD-BE-PLAGIARISM

The Horrors vs Jesse Kanda, and other stories of could-be-plagiarism
Comments

THE HORRORS VS JESSE KANDA, AND OTHER STORIES OF COULD-BE-PLAGIARISM



Written by Oscar Henson
15 Thursday 15th June 2017

Within the arts, the question of originality is a complex and reoccurring one. If we accept that creativity is fuelled by external influences, then of course art tends to reiterate itself – but at what stage does influence become imitation? And how do we draw the line between honest reference and blatant rip-off?

This week these questions were raised afresh with the release of a new single by The Horrors, 'Machine'.

The cause of the controversy was not the music itself but the cover art, which features a distorted and deformed model of a human face. Critics quickly took to social media to accuse the band of ripping off Jesse Kanda – a young visual artist known best for his collaborations with experimental artist, Arca.

But are the accusations fair? Sure, the similarities are there: the distorted facial features, the plasticine skin. But these aesthetics are far from revolutionary. If The Horrors are guilty of ripping off Kanda’s work, then surely he too is guilty of ripping off a whole host of other artists, from Francis Bacon to Chris Cunningham.

This point was eventually put forward by Kanda himself, who took to Twitter to settle the dispute:

"In defence of both The Horrors and I, as well as every artist ever, sometimes we might step on each others' toes, that's actually out of love and admiration, coincidence, or even unconscious echoing too." 

"It's obvious that none of us are totally original. But I do know in my heart that I've always done my best to express myself as honest as I could. Maybe the Horrors feel the same?"

So at what point do we draw the line? At what point do we cross over from influence to imitation? Take a look at these historic cases and decide for yourself.

 

Zayn Malik  vs Lil Wayne 

 

Kanye West vs Madonna

 

Rage Against The Machine vs Oasis

 

Earth, Wind & Fire vs Iron Maiden

 

Bjork vs Britney Spears (1999)

 

Harry Styles vs Shed Seven

 

Roy Ayers Ubiquity vs Smif-n-Wessun

 

My Bloody Valentine vs Squarepusher

Don't Panic attempt to credit photographers and content owners wherever possible, however due to the sheer size and nature of the internet this is sometimes impractical or impossible. If you see any images on our site which you believe belong to yourself or another and we have incorrectly used it please let us know at panic@dontpaniconline.com and we will respond asap.



Comments

MORE FROM DON'T PANIC