Friday, March 20, 2009

[Yasmin_discussions] ARTISTS AS INVENTORS, art as invention

Dear Alejandro and All,

Thank you for your understanding on my patenting to serve as a way
for disseminating my ideas in a clear way.

I also understand your saying that the creative technological
outcome can provide so many cultural benefits if left open.
I think this your idea is close (or the same) to the so-called
open source/copyleft/creative commons. I suppose you might also
have considered so.

However, I do not always agree to the idea like open source/
copyleft/creative commons.

First, I think there are two types of invention.

One is improving invention whose value can be understood as to be
needed from the first at least by those who concerned the matter,
because the field has been already existing and is considered
meaningful. Almost all inventions, like blue diode, are of this
type, and I think this type matches well with the idea like
open source/copyleft/creative commons. The talk on open source/
copyleft/creative commons is effective only after the consent
(often being tacit) having been made that the inventions are the
inventions to be valuable self-evidently from the first.

The other type is basic invention whose value is hard to be
understood as to be needed at the first, because nobody is aware
of the existence of the field, or nobody is aware of the field to
be meaningful. Basic (or principled or fundamental) invention is
an action to establish meanings or values on a field where nobody
recognizes being meaningful nor valuable. Only few inventions
are of this type, I consider including mine. What is necessary
primarily on this type is to be consented as a matter being
meaningful and valuable. The idea like open source/copyleft/
creative commons is necessary mere secondarily, and I think
it is even harmful before the consent having been made, because
the idea like open source/copyleft/creative commons will sometimes
work to block establishing the value of the invention, likely to
be said, "Your new idea is interesting, although being not valuable.
Being suitable for toys for kids." As for this latter type, the
process of invention is not the response of a recognition of a need.

Secondly, I am not sure that the idea like open source/copyleft/
creative commons always work good for providing cultural benefits.
On the contrary, I experienced several cases that other persons or
other companies have recieved benefits or honor for originalities or
inventions in spite of that I was the originator or the inventor.
I do not deny the idealistic thinking that the open idea can provide
cultural benefits like essential communists' world, but I see the
actual outcomes were far from being idealistic or communistic.
I think the new idea as knowledge is good to be opened always,
while the new idea as rights is good to be paid sometimes. I think
patenting is a scheme to let the new idea being opened always as
knowledge, while being paid sometimes (not always) as rights.

Formerly, in 1980s and in early 1990s, I used to be an advocator who
claimed anti-copyright and anti-patent as a post-modernist from a
communistic or anarchistic point of view. I also denied being a
fine art artist at that time and styled myself an illustrator,
because a fine art artist is a modernist who has to claim originality
and has to establish values of his/her own works separating from many
things being not so valuable. However, after I believed that my
inventions to be nothing other than fine art, I reformed character
to claim copyright and patent sometimes (not always) as a modernist
and turned to be a fine art artist with totally changing my style.

Besides, my project "Art Patents" is not business. It is a failure
if it were business because applying and maintining patents costed
great expense, because there was a risk not to be patented even
though I applied them, because there was a risk not to be used by
anyone even after they were patented, and because there was a high
risk to be regarded as an enemy by big companies after my invention
having been recognized valuable. My project "Art Patents" has been
only an artistic matter derived from my righteous indignation toward
the truth in the world of the fine art, modeling vs carving.


Hideki Nakazawa

>Date: Sat, 14 Mar 2009 14:08:18 -0700 (PDT)
>From: alejandro tamayo <>
>Subject: Re: [Yasmin_discussions] ARTISTS AS INVENTORS, art as
> invention
>Message-ID: <>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
>Dear Hideki and All,
>I've been following this discussion from afar and some times I have
>skipped some emails, so my apologies if some of these ideas have
>already been covered.
>I quiet understand your feelings about being considered mad for your
>3d printing proposal back in 1996.
>However, I think that there is a fine line between madness and genius
>and, for good or for bad, they are not mutually exclusive, they can
>coexist, and art sometimes happens to be precisely in that borderline.
>It is up to the understanding of others which classification to put
>on you or on your work.
>As for the patenting issue, I personally don't have any, although I
>have been tempted to apply for more than one. But I have never ended
>up filling out any application, specially after considering that the
>creative technological outcome can provide so many cultural benefits
>if left open. Although I agree that patenting (as well as writing
>books) could serve as a way for disseminating your ideas in a clear
>I just feel that today we are more and more understanding the
>importance of open and free processes and the benefit we all gain in
>supporting a collaborative, unrestricted, construction of human
>knowledge, and technology in particular. Perhaps what we need is to
>find new strategies for disseminating *clearly*, and *openly* our new
>--- On Sat, 3/14/09, Nakazawa Hideki <> wrote:
>From: Nakazawa Hideki <>
>Subject: [Yasmin_discussions] ARTISTS AS INVENTORS, art as invention
>Received: Saturday, March 14, 2009, 2:08 PM
>Dear Robert,
>Because patenting was the closest way to describe fully my original
>of my invention.
>The actual product software "Digital Clay," which I persuaded Ask
>to produce, had very limited functions (i.e. only 32x32x32 voxels)
>because of the then machine specs in 1996 and to save on expenses
as well.
>However, I could describe ideal 3D bitmap software with full
functions in
>my patent even in 1996.
>I could persuade no company to produce 3D bitmap printers at that
>However, I could describe 3D bitmap printers in my patent.
>As for my invention of 3D bitmap printers, patenting was the only way
>which made 3D bitmap printers "exist" in this world.
>Anyway, I can say as the following also: describing idea as intangible
>idea like patents is more perfect than making actual tangible
>especially in the case of basic invention, not mere improvement.
>(Close to Plato's Idealism)
>Writing monographs to a scientific society might be another
intangible way.
>However, my invention is actual invention rather than to be
academic study.
>Writing books might be another intangible way. However, I was
afraid that
>my claim to be seen mere mad. To be patented by nations was one
way to
>prove my claim being rational, not mad.
>Hideki Nakazawa
>Dear Hideki,
>Why did you choose patenting as a way to represent, communicate ,
>and/or embody your method of "inventing 3D bitmap materials; software
>and printers (product 3D bitmap software 'Digital Clay' in 1996,
>patents for 3D"?
>There are other ways to establish a "new basic genre '3D
>bitmap' as
>digital modeling."
>Robert Thill
>On 3/9/09, Nakazawa Hideki <nakazawa at> wrote:
>ARTISTS AS INVENTORS, art as invention
>Hideki Nakazawa
>Dear Yasminers,
>Thank you to Roger and Robert for inviting me as one of the
>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
>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
>places non-art objects into an art context. NOT because non-art
>objects (such as invention) can be called art in the sense of
>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
>of the artists as inventors. We know that Shoenberg himself
>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
>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
>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
>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
>"Method of Art and Art of Method" carried on
>"Philosophy Vol. 7,"
>Iwanami Lecture Series, 2008.
>Hideki Nakazawa

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