Date:Tue, 13 Mar 2007 06:47:04 -0500
Novel ways of thinking and doing can be socially, economically and politically beneficial. The wonder of invention is a creative springboard allowing the more adventurous to remix the given. Negotiating territorial discourses and practices requires tenaciousness and makes significant learning demands on the border-crossers. Mironov’s suggestion about living, removable tattoos as possibly being a form bioart , is something to think about. Certainly within the traditions of body and performance art possibilities abound. Many artists have used their own bodies as malleable sites of sculptural form. From Beuys and Nauman to Hannah Wilke and Orlan, performance art is very much alive within the cultural establishment of the artworld. In an earlier post, Orlan talks about a prospective collaboration with Oron Catts. Mironov’s idea about removable tattoos may in fact one day cross the art/sci divide as well.
Invention can also be looked upon as incorporating an element of chance. There are many historical examples in this regard, the discovery of penicillin being one. For the artist, recognizing nuance and possibility in the process of making, is part of artistic creation. Another aspect, furthering collaboration and creative process is the random and not so random meeting of various practitioners at cocktail parties, lectures art exhibits and the like. The scientific laboratory and artist’s studio are generally off-limits to a public audience. Perhaps shared laboratory/studio visits could be arranged?
I am very intrigued to learn about Thomas Edison's tattoo machine. In some ways it can be compared to Paul Winchell's prototype for an artificial heart. The comparison is not one of function, but one of migration between the worlds of art, science and entertainment. Most Americans (of a certain age) are familiar with Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney, as a ventriloquism duo performing on early television. Paul Winchell being sentient, Jerry Mahoney, a puppet. However, what is not well known is that Winchell was also an inventor. He studied acupuncture, was engaged in medical hypnotism and had a close relationship with Dr. Henry Heimlich. In consultation with Heimlich, Paul Winchell designed the first the prototype of what we now know as the artificial heart.
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