Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] Fwd: Wtrlt: Antw: artist as inventors

Robert, Barbara and Yasminers,

I think it might be useful at this point in the discussion to have yet
another glance at the questions Robert had brought forth at the outset. They
are quite clear and without much ambiguity. It seems, thus far, we have been
mostly preoccupied by issues of intellectual property, copyrights and
patents. Although these questions are very important, we should not overlook
the metamorphosis the definition of art has gone through, since the end of
the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, with the advent of photography
and film (moving pictures). An ontological shift as it were.

These are formidable examples of inventions that allowed in time, with much
resistance from the advocates of the romantic paradigm, the creation of
artforms in and of themselves. The technological devices such as the camera
obscura, the celluloid film (pellicule) etc., were patented to be sure, but
these tools allowed many artists such as Moholy-Nagy to make artistic
experiments with black and white and color photography, as well as with
photograms. Some of these experiments later became artworks in their own
right. M-N came to believe, through his exploration of these new tools, that
light had become a key element in the creation of the artwork, replacing
paint and its color pigment. He was also among the first artists of the 20th
C. who wished to create matches between art & industry. It is on this
principle that he created the New Bauhaus in Chicago and that he wrote
«Vision in Motion», in which he said «Design is not a profession, but an
attitude». Moholy-Nagy's ideas and philisophy inspired, among others,
engineer Billy Klüver to do the same in the 60's with the production of the
9 Evenings, matching teams of engineers and artists, where technological
devices were created solely for the performances, such as the TEEM (Theatre
Electronic Environmental Module), which allowed, for instance, to control
light, sound and objects from a distance.

I think this short historical perspective could answer, in part, questions
no 1& 2 . (And I'm sorry if I am repeating myself yet another time, since
the beginning of this discussion).

In an attempt to give partial answers to questions 1, 2, & 3, concerning
artists who are our contemporaries, I will stress again on David Rokeby's
contribution with the invention of his software softVNS 2, originally
devised for his own artworks (and still is) and that has found other uses in
different domains, scientific and other.

Another such example is that of Luc Courchesne, a Montréal artist and
designer, who invented the Panoscope, « an immersive existence simulator».
Courchesne used it first for his own artistic purposes, but the Panoscope,
has found other fruitful venues such as the Laboratoire de muséologie et
d'ingénierie de la culture at Laval University in Québec City, where
archaeologists use this device to create immersive environments simulating
the search sites they are working on. Now on view in a Montréal gallery,
Courchesne shows us how he has recently applied the functions of his
Panoscope, in an inverted manner, so to speak, to create video tableaux,
that are quite poetic. )

In another post, I could try to give an answer to question 8. by talking
about another Montréal artist, Jean-Pierre Gauthier for whom, his
artworks/inventions are pure works of fiction.

Best until then,


*YASMIN in collaboration with ARTSACTIVE is organizing a discussion around
questions which include: *

1. What makes a work an invention
2. How have artists used " inventorship" to establish originality in the
past and today?
3. What are some examples of artists' inventions? How have artists
inventions pioneered new areas of technological development ?
4. How is an art-related invention different from an invention that is not
tied to the conventions of art? How is an art-related invention different
from invention in other fields?
5. When art-related inventions attempt to transcend the art context, what
are some of the outcomes?
6. How have artists appropriated existing inventions to create innovative
art? Is some innovation culturally sterile.
7. To what degree has the idea of intellectual property shaped the
discourse between art and science and/or shaped discourse within these two
8. Under what circumstances does "invention" mean "fiction"?*
*9. Often innovations in social organization and practices are as crucial as
technological innovation. What examples do we have of artists contributions
of this type.*
*10. While inventing can be expressed, documented, and put into practice,
can it be taught? Pedagogical views on inventing are welcome.*


> Barbara and Yasminers,
> Yes, one can see your point from our discussion, which is going in
> many directions at once, with many wonderful ideas emerging from all
> over the world.
> About your point of precise descriptions:
> What I am very much interested in, are more precise descriptions of
> the concepts of "invention", "innovation", "creativity"including the
> concepts of "work" and "authorship" in relation
> to this different fields.

> Roger,
> "Leonardo" has been very good about keeping glossaries. Could this
> discussion be a way to establish _contextual_ definitions/descriptions
> of these terms? If so, what would be a plan of action?
> Maybe there is already something in place as a starting point.
> Best,
> Robert
> >> Dear Yasminers,
>> while working on the "Artists as Inventors - Inventors as
>> Artists" book together with Dieter Daniels I sometimes had a
>> feeling like walking on quicksand: Discussing "art" in relation to
>> "invention" strikes so many different fields of knowledge (fine
>> arts, design, technology, law, industry for instance) and along with
>> this different systems of values, practices, different concepts of
>> "work", "authorship", "creativity" and so forth.
>> Facing this plurality is important though, as the discourses of media
>> art on the one hand and neo liberal discourses of creativity on the
>> other hand enforce the opening of boundaries, the linking of different
>> social systems.
>> Thus, Simón Pérez' emphasis on the need to define the categories we
>> are discussing is very important. But as the comments on this pointed
>> out: There are not "right" and "wrong" definitions" as they
>> always depend on the fields of knowledge we are referring to.
>> What I am very much interested in, are more precise descriptions of
>> the concepts of "invention", "innovation", "creativity"
>> including the concepts of "work" and "authorship" in relation
>> to this different fields. Only If we know about the given differences
>> - even contradictions -, about the given values and interests we can
>> figure out about "beneficial partnerships" (Gavin Arth). As the
>> Yasminers represent so many different professional and cultural
>> backgrounds, this should be a great opportunity to achieve valuable
>> results.
>> Very best,
>> Barbara

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