Monday, March 9, 2009

[Yasmin_discussions] ARTISTS AS INVENTORS, art as invention

ARTISTS AS INVENTORS, art as invention
Hideki Nakazawa

Dear Yasminers,

Thank you to Roger and Robert for inviting me as one of the discussants.

I am a fine art artist who invented the first 3D bitmap software and
printers in the levels of both products and patents. In this my case,
I believe invention itself is ART, rather to call art-RELATED invention.
Yes, my interest is whether art as invention or invention as art can be
accepted or not.

Besides, I do not want to think about some kind of conceptual art which
places non-art objects into an art context. NOT because non-art
objects (such as invention) can be called art in the sense of conceptual
art, I believe some of inventions are core of art as they are.

Here I am giving 3 past cases with 1 my case.

1) George Seurat's pointillism
Purpose = representative painting focusing color
Method = pointillism (color division and touch division)
Result = many of Seurat's pointillist paintings

I think creating method from the purpose is invention, while creating
art works using method is making-art. Here, pointillism is invention.
We can say with no doubt that pointillist paintings are art and Seurat
is one of the artists as inventors. Then, can we say inventing
pointillism itself art? We know that Seurat himself disliked to be
called pointillist. But I think inventing pointillism itself was core
of visual art.

2) Arnold Shoenberg's dodecaphony
Purpose = music composition using 12 notes equally
Method = dodecaphony (forming tone rows symmetrically)
Result = many of Shoenberg's dodecaphonic pieces

Here dodecaphony is invention, the method created from the purpose.
We can say Shoenberg's dodecaphonic pieces are art and Shoenberg is one
of the artists as inventors. We know that Shoenberg himself emphasized
dodecaphonic "COMPOSITION" denying "DODECAPHONIC" composition. But I
think inventing dodecaphony itself was core of music composition.

3) Leonard Da Vinci's inventions of paint material and drawings of ideas
Purpose = representative painting
Method = preparing better paint material and better drawings of ideas
(later called academism)
Result = very few Da Vinci's paintings in spite of many tried paint
materials and many drawings of ideas

We know that Da Vinci tried each different paint material for each
different painting and even he often invented it. We know that he
prepared many drawings of ideas. (Attention: drawings came to be
considered art today, while not in those days. Drawings were kind of
invention.) We also know that once he thought his invention has done,
he lost interest to continue making art works. Only few paintings
remain till today; one reason is that some of his paint material which
he invented was defective, another reason is that he lost interest
after invented paint material or finished his drawings of ideas.
Let's think more about the latter. I believe the core of Da Vinci's
art is inventing paint material or drawings of ideas rather than making
art works. In this case method as invention itself turned to be the
purpose again. I want to say method is art and invention is art in
this case.

4) My 3D bitmap software and printers
Purpose = to establish new basic genre "3D bitmap" as digital modering,
while so-called "3D" is only the world of 3D vector as digital carving
Method = inventing 3D bitmap materials; software and printers
(product 3D bitmap software "Digital Clay" in 1996, patents for 3D
bitmap software and 3D bitmap printers in 1996)
Result = no 3D bitmap art works of mine yet

First I have to say that I have produced many art works as a fine art
artist, but I have never produced 3D bitmap art works except examples
for my software. When I decided to apply patents in 1996, I consider
patents themselves art. Again the method turned to be the purpose.
No need my 3D bitmap art works, because I do not think that 3D bitmap
materials are mere steps to making 3D bitmap art works. My purpose,
establishing a genre "3D bitmap," is more essential than making art
works, I thought. I named this project "Art Patents" that is to claim
my intangible patents themselves being art without any tangible art
works. However, I am feeling to be misunderstood even today, 2009.
If you also have questions, I am willing to hear.

If you want to know more on my inventions, please visit:

If you can read Japanese, the above argument is written in my monograph
"Method of Art and Art of Method" carried on "Philosophy Vol. 7,"
Iwanami Lecture Series, 2008.

Hideki Nakazawa
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