I think this term applies to the direction my stuff is taking these days.
I am an art student. I copy Michelangelo, Kandinsky, Da Vinci, Matisse, Hopper, and on and on; only the best (IMHO). Somewhere (may have been in a dream) I received the following advice:
'Should you copy? Of course copy, how else would you learn? Everyone copies, though most would deny it. The real question is what, or rather who, should you copy. Copy only the best. Why would you copy some hack?'
Made sense to me but I can't play it straight, I have always changed what I copied: added friend's faces to Van Goghs, tarted up Hopper's colors, cropped and played with the angles. I'd subtly "improve" or munge them for my own amusement.
Lately, I have started quoting or appropriating (or what ever PoMo euphemism applies) multiple sources and smashing them together in ways that seem to relate the forms and spawn new meanings.
I'm having great fun with it.