Saturday, March 28, 2009

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] Artists as Inventors : art and the technic into the times of new technologies

Dear Yasminers,

In my last post on this topic I want to remain with the notion of
invention (technology) as embodiment of our knowledge of problem
solving - a difficult term to use in art contexts. I also want to
return to the idea of the invention of systems of invention. Coming
at this from a background in architecture I can see 'problem-solving'
in the systematised design of artefacts, structures and spaces,
requiring both the design of tools, machines, the manipulation of
materials, the choreography of processes and the avoidance of chance
operations and variation (which seems to me to be terrifying). I am
interested in invention as a nexus of the real and the imaginary which
is framed in the question raised by Roger of invention as fiction.

I have been occasionally working as a guest critic at the Bartlett
School of Architecture where Neil Spiller is currently using (amongst
many other things) the rather wonderful Parallel Botany an illustrated
'non-fact' book by Leo Leonni.

Leonni's Parallel plants *oddities of an elusive, frequently
invisible, and wholly imaginary plant kingdom that coexists with
botany as we know it...exhibit "masslessness," seem frozen in time,
lack internal structure, and generally collapse to dust at a human
touch. Some defy the laws of perspective. When visible, their
coloration tends to be "a gamut of blacks." The latest, still
unclassified discovery is black but casts luminous shadows...Tirils,
resembling dense-packed fields of grissini, include species that emit
strange whistles, strangle one another, or implant themselves
disturbingly in the memory like Jorge Luis Borges' Zahir. Woodland
Tweezers' distribution patterns echo positions in the game of Go.
Giraluna the moonflower, once perhaps "an aerial plant," is naturally
visible only by moonlight....and so on* the Borges reference is
another reminder that artists create worlds (think Tlon/uqbar)

Spiller describes the AVATAR programme here:

*Philosophically and artistically, AVATAR is convinced that the new
technologies prompt a re-evaluation of Surrealist spatial protocols
and tactics. Also it believes that Alfred Jarry's proto- surrealist
poetic pseudo science of 'Pataphysics and its idea of the 'Clinamen"-
the swerve (chance) has great import on what we do. The choreography
of digitally enabled chance allows us to create architecture of
blossoming possibility where events are fleeting, exceptional and

If botany can be described as a science (and how could this be
disputed?) or rather if parallel botany is a science then what are its
instruments? what are its technologies? what are these imaginary
technologies of the virtual and imaginary instruments of the actual?

Is it possible for a technology to exist as an invention only in the
imagination? Roger pointed us to science fiction - the Russian science
fiction author and inventor of the system of innovation TRIZ is
perhaps worth a mention here. Genrich Altshuller invented the
pseudonym for himself G. Altov - presumably he had to re-invent
himself so that he was free to invent worlds. Altov's short stories
collected in Ballad of the Stars - stories of Science Fiction and TRIZ
imagination, although it has to be said that these are perhaps only
really of interest because of the relationship between TRIZ and
science fiction - Alshuller analysed science fiction for its
references to invention - new technology sci-fi futurology. TRIZ is a
*methodology of inventive problem solving - a self proclaimed
engineering of creativity a facinating if delusional work of fiction
in itself it seems to me!

I wonder what a 'pataphysical problem solving might be - how do you
use *the science of imaginary solutions, which symbolically attributes
the properties of objects, described by their virtuality, to their
lineaments* as a system of invention?

Thanks again for the invitation to contribute - it has been a very
demanding but productive process. Looking back through the posts an
after a month of fascinating discussion there are only more questions
- perhaps this is the way it should be, a process of raising
questions...perhaps this is inventiveness of the list?

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