中西方关于“山寨”的文化冲突

【中西方关于“山寨”的文化冲突】赫芬顿邮报编辑Biance Bosker在自己的新书《原始副本》Original Copies中对中国山寨文化的评论和解释:在西方,创意被视为一个个体独自的创作,以将一个理念付诸实践。作品凝聚了一个人的智慧。因此抄袭他人不仅不合法而且不合道德。中国的山寨不仅仅是懒于创新和对知识产权顽固的蔑视。它发源于历史悠久且值得崇敬的中国审美传统,认为复制不仅是一项学习工具,其本身就是一项艺术上的满足。中国人眼中模仿复制不仅仅是对一种对原著最忠诚的致敬,甚至可以是另一种创新的方式。新浪微博也许是其中抄袭的成功案例之一,日趋成为促进“对话”的工具,甚至比原作Twitter更加“辉煌”。

Why Imitation Can Be the Sincerest Form of Innovation

If you visit the Tianducheng housing complex near Hangzhou, China, you’ll see a peculiar sight: the Eiffel Tower. Not the real Eiffel Tower, of course. It’s a one-third-scale replica, built a few years ago as part of a simulation of nineteenth-century Paris. The residents of Tianducheng inhabit a fake corner of France, working and living in imitation Parisian architecture.


And that isn’t the only reiteration of a famous Western neighborhood in China; in recent years, developers have built dozens. Hangzhou also has a miniature Venice, complete with gondolas navigating canals, while Chengdu has a “British Town” modeled on Dorchester, England. Shanghai has not only a generic English-style hamlet but a copy of the White House. What’s going on?


It’s “duplitecture”—a coinage by Huffington Post editor Bianca Bosker, who explores the phenomenon in her new book Original Copies. And as becomes clear from her work, duplitecture is crucial to understanding China’s penchant for copying Western products.




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As high tech folks know, China copies a lot of intellectual property. The shanzhai electronics world is jammed with flagrant knockoffs of Western tech, including fake iPhones and tablets. Western inventors have long complained about this, and some US firms are now “insourcing”—moving production back home—partly to prevent Chinese manufacturers from copying their wares. Some Chinese pundits even worry that young entrepreneurs aren’t culturally conditioned to come up with new, unique designs.


But as Bosker documents, this craze for duplication isn’t just creative laziness or a willful disregard of intellectual property rights. It grows out of old and venerable Chinese aesthetic traditions, in which copying is valued not only as a learning tool (as it is in the West) but as artistically satisfying in its own right. As early as the fifth century, a Chinese art scholar wrote approvingly about the power of a copy to capture the spirit of an original. A good copy was like “a wild goose that flies along with its companion,” as one scholar explained. Replicating a preexisting work was a way to display one’s technical virtuosity—and, crucially, to imbibe the best foreign design concepts. As the scholar Wen Fong notes, even outright art forgery in China “has never carried such dark connotations as it does in the West.”


Duplitecture is an offshoot of this tradition. It’s quite old: In the third century BC, Qin Shihuangdi conquered six holdout kingdoms and, as a marker of his triumph, created mini-scale versions of the palaces from each. “People in the US look at copies of these buildings and go, ‘How unoriginal!’” Bosker says. “But in China they go, ‘Isn’t this awesome? Look what we’ve done! We made the Eiffel Tower!’”


The upshot is that maybe we need to stop thinking about the intellectual-property collisions of China and the US in terms that are purely legalistic or table-poundingly moral. In the West, we often see creativity as a deeply individual act—an idea that bursts into reality, uninfluenced and unassisted, out of our personal genius. Copying someone else isn’t just illegal; it’s lame. That’s bound to conflict with a tradition that regards skillful copying as praiseworthy.


“Maybe we’re the ones who have an unhealthy attitude toward copyright,” Bosker says.


In truth, each side could learn from the other. Those fretful Chinese tech leaders are probably right; their nation’s new entrepreneurs could benefit from striving for Steve Jobs-style, mold-breaking design. But here in the West, legislators and rights holders could ease up on their endless quest for longer, stricter, and tighter IP rules. Because as the Chinese experience shows, copying can lead to creativity. Witness Sina Weibo, the Chinese service that started as a Twitter clone but has gradually added conversational tools that make it much more delightful to use than its predecessor.


Sometimes imitation is more than just the sincerest form of flattery; it can be a way to innovate as well.

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文章作者:CLIVE THOMPSON 
文章来源:http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/02/clive-thompson-imitation/

 


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