Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] re. ARTISTS AS INVENTORS ON YASMIN

this is a very interesting discussion - a little hard to keep up with
though, as the posts are coming thick and fast and there is so much
else to do...

so maybe while i've been writing this its already been covered, but
i'd like to add a couple of points about utility and the imperative
to find new solutions.

firstly utility; i'm wondering if an invention, when framed in an
artistic context, needs to exhibit utility. does it need to be
useful? does it need to be useful on the level that it actually
works? does it need to be useful on the level that someone else can
then take that end product and apply it to their own needs?

an artist that sprung to my mind when the topic was first raises is
panamarenko - an artist whose work is pure invention, albeit
invention in a speculative manner. does it matter that his inventions
don't really function? maybe there are parallels with the way in
which many of da vinci's inventions didn't work - at the time - even
though today we credit him, to a degree, with being the inventor of
contact lenses, the helicopter and any number of other things.
perhaps these artists' works inhabit one of those fuzzy areas where
invention and conjecture share the same territory. for what its worth
i consider it vital that art inhabits as many of these fuzzy areas as
possible, as this is where the important questions/discussions reside.

i think this has maybe been mentioned already, but artists are more
and more able to generate unique solutions to unique problems. and
are increasingly driven to. the rapid process of increasing
accessibility to technology and methods of production and fabrication
allow us to bypass older ways of making the things we need. whether
these things are tools that allow us to work or the actual art work
itself. there are an increasing number of artists whose main interest
is the development of novel technological devices, whether they are
based in software, or microcontrollers, or labware for those art/
science crossover projects. maybe these are the true artist/inventors
- those who create objects or systems that can be passed on and used
in a variety of ways by a variety of people.

myself, i regularly have to come up with a device that doesn't exist
to enable me to make the things i need to make. for example, recently
i jointly devised and created a device which fits under a microscope
and allows microorganisms to be subjected to strong magnetic fields.
it didn't exist already so we had to make it, and nobody else will
probably ever need it. i don't see it as an invention, more as a
unique solution. this kind of thing is happening all over the world
every day.

maybe it not so much that artists nowadays are being inventors, more
that they are acting in a similar way to inventors...

i could go into more detail but i don't want to make this post too
long. i look forward to exploring these and other points as the
discussion continues.


andy gracie

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