In May 2011 my work Untitled (Hello World.) was exhibited at the ACFNY. It quickly went viral and got featured on several art & design blogs and social networks such as reddit, facebook or imagehost imgur.
A few month later a bunch of spanish "creative consultants" had the exactly similar idea for one of their clients.
Email from Manuel
On October 5th a very cryptic email from Manuel, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, reached me.
they think they have been inspired by your work.
I think they have copied.
After a few emails back and forth I found out that Manuel was actually involved in the production process. He explained that Pelonio commissioned Luisa Alvarez to build a bottle-shaped display, using illuminated On/Off-Switches. He wrote that they took images of my work and sent them to a carpenter and an electrician to rebuild it.
I have participated in the construction of the bottle.
This is the website of the company that contracted Luisa Alvarez:
Pelonio sent photos of your work to Luisa Alvarez in July.
The bottle was built in the first week of September.
What the Lawyer says
A few weeks later I talked to a lawyer. He explained to me that the situation is very complex: it all happened in a different country with different laws and it was hard to make out who the responsible contact person would be. Obviously, Luisa Alvarez publicly claims it to be her idea while Pelonio was acting on behalf of their client Absolut Vodka when commissioning her. He advised me to be careful, because all his services naturally needed to be paid. So we agreed to send a letter and wait for their response.
I tried to get in contact with somebody at Absolut Vodka in Spain because I was really curious to find out if they actually knew, that Pelonio sold them a second-hand idea.
I found this address on pernod-ricard.com
C/ Manuel Maraňón, 8
Tel : + 34 91 368 3067
Fax : + 34 91 377 44 19
I spoke to a Augustin Robinne, the marketing director, a very slick but nice guy, who claimed that he had never heard about me or my work before. When I asked him to simple google my name and "hello world" he refused. Augustin gave me a number at Pelonio´s and whenever I call, the guy in charge (I think his name is spelled "Sávio") was busy.
Lope de Vega, 47, Bajo D
Tel: +34 91 391 36 16