What we like about the notion of the “cover version” is that whole tension between the “standard” and the “variation”—the idea that a standardized format (or standardized language) can still serve as a platform for subversive accents and critical dialects.
“And this metaphor of smuggling goes for graphic design as well. After all, what is graphic design but the practice of pushing materialized information from one sphere to another, forever crossing the porous borders between art and industry, between poetry and pornography, between pop and politics?
Graphic design is a practice that was born in the vague borderlands between disparate disciplines, so trespassing feels natural to us. Graphic designers are bootleggers, forgers, smugglers—and because of that, graphic design will always be regarded as a slightly clandestine discipline, as a lumpen-activity, as a practice without any real morals (other than the proverbial “honor among thieves”). And that’s exactly what makes graphic design such a relevant force in culture, we think.”
— Experimental Jetset
A bootleg is an alternate version, a take on the original, a spinoff. In my eyes, it is something that is often done without approval or in dialogue with the original maker. To be honest, I have never used the word bootleg in relation to my practice, because I feel it has a somewhat negative connotation. However, my work is very much concerned with the political gesture through appropriation and subversion. I would like to add to the definition of “bootlegging”: openness, kindness, politeness. Bootlegging to open up, to start a conversation. So nothing is done behind someone’s back, or in secret.