YASMIN discussion on ARTISTS AS INVENTORS March 2009

A new generation of artists is making technical and social inventions in pursuit of their artistic production. There is new interest in the work of artists from laboratories, companies and public organizations seeking ways of innovating in science and engineering. The ARTSACTIVE network was established to promote these initiatives:

ARTSACTIVE member Robert Thill is compiling a resource directory of patents filed by artists:

This work has stimulated a number of deeper questions about the nature of invention, intellectual property and the ways that the arts, sciences and technology interact in society.@ The recent book edited by Dieter Daniels and Barbara Schmidt Artists as Inventors - Inventors as Artists Ostfildern 2008, Hatje & Cantz, 240 pages, 77 images, English ISBN 978-3-7757-2153-0 was also a trigger for this discussion.

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 fields?

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.


THILL, Robert
Robert Thill is currently publishing "Intellectual Property: A Chronological Compendium of Intersections between Contemporary Art and Utility Patents in Serial Form" on the Web site of the Clandestine Construction Company International, which is devoted to issues related to art and law (see the project at In addition, Thill is an administrator at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York.


HALES, Derek
Derek is an Architect and co-founder of the Digital Research Unit, UK.  Derek works on interdisciplinary studies in culture and innovation through an international artist in residency programme, R&D commissions, public events and creative labs.

Sylvie Lacerte is an independent curator, scholar and author. She holds a Ph.D. in Art Theories and Practices from Universite du Quebec a Montreal (UQAM). Her publications include her book La mediation de l'art contemporain (2007). She has been teaching, since the winter of 2007, the seminar on the Documentation and Conservation of Media Art, both at McGill University (2008) and at UQAM (2007, 2009)

Arantxa Mendiharat was born in France and works in Donostia-San Sebastian (Spain). She has been coordinating DISONANCIAS, a platform that promotes relationships between artists and companies, research centres or public organisations in order to develop joint investigations, since the beginning of the platform, in 2005. She studied political sciences in Bordeaux and arts management in Paris and Edinburgh. Her main interest has to do with the link between artistic practices and social changes. She is the coordinator of ArtsActive

Japanese artist.  Graduated in Medicine from Chiba University.  Acrylic Painting, 1983-1989.  Silly CG, 1990-1996.  Method Painting, 1997-2005.  Serious Painting since 2006.  Published "Methodicist Manifesto" with the presence of a poet and a musician on January 1, 2000.  Books "Text on Modern Art History," "The Lives of the Western Painters," "Contemporary Art History: Japan."  Patents "Voxel Data Processing Using Attributes Thereof," "Solid Object Generation."  CD "Nakazawa Hideki Music Works."  Web

SCHMIDT, Barbara
Barbara U. Schmidt is researcher at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute Media.Art.Research in Linz, where she directs a research project on the institutional development and objectives of the Ars Electronica. She recently publishe with Dieter Daniels: Artists as Inventors - Inventors as Artists Ostfildern 2008, Hatje & Cantz, 240 pages, 77 images, Englisch ISBN 978-3-7757-2153-0 Between 2003 and 2005, Schmidt worked as an assistant professor at the Institute for Media/Media Theory at the University of Arts and Industrial Design in Linz and as director of the research project "New Media Images," supported by the Austrian Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture.

TRON, Colette
Cultural journalist, she is currently working as an author, using different media of communication of language (radio, books, theater, audiovisual, multimedia...), and in questioning their function experimenting with creation that is specific to each. She collaborates with artists from different disciplines, in France and elsewhere (Japan, Italy, Morocco, Russia. Founder of the association Alphabetville in 2000 in Marseille, she has created a place of reflection around the connections between language and the media.

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The Discussion begins March 1 2009 and runs through the end of March.