The laboratory is a place devoted to inquiry and the creation of new knowledge. As such, it can be compared to the artist's studio, which also proves to be a research venue as well as a place for the production of original knowledge and forms infused with the complexity of the world around us. This part of the exhibition deals with the work of artists who recapitulate the scientific process by devising various experimental procedures, revealing an often bookish relationship to knowledge, patenting their discoveries or handling living matter that evolves and transforms itself. Their creations involve collaborations with scientists, take advantage of the possibilities offered by instruments from outside the field of art, and evoke a desire for mastery over the unknown.
The laboratory is a place devoted to inquiry and the creation of new knowledge. As such, it can be compared to the artist's studio, which also proves to be a research venue as well as a place for the production of original knowledge and forms infused with the complexity of the world around us. This part of the exhibition deals with the work of artists who recapitulate the scientific process by devising various experimental procedures, revealing an often bookish relationship to knowledge, patenting their discoveries or handling living matter that evolves and transforms itself. Their creations involve collaborations with scientists, take advantage of the possibilities offered by instruments from outside the field of art, and evoke a desire for mastery over the unknown.

© Galerie de l'UQAM 2007. All rights reserved

Patent written with the collaboration of the engineer Martin Snelgrove.

Photo: Catherine Richards
2000
© Catherine Richards


With Method and Apparatus for Finding Love Catherine Richards explores the patentability of inventions and calls into question the set of rules that govern the system of intellectual property and exclude certain categories of invention and creation, such as scientific theories, artworks and therapeutic methods. Using the codification and vocabulary of patent law as raw material for her work, the artist, with the help of engineer Martin Snelgrove, formulates a method for finding love. A highly complex apparatus emerges from procedures she has worked out over some 30 pages, illustrating how the emotions have become a language difficult to grasp and proposing a scientific interpretation as a corrective. The aridity of the patent shows how our era is producing individuals with emotional lives that are out of control, hooked up to all kinds of networks and devices that are not necessarily conducive to the establishment of relationships.

The work was part of the exhibition Excitable Tissues, held at the Ottawa Art Gallery in 2000. Before they could try out the patent, visitors were invited to sign a confidentiality agreement before being authorized to view the instal Read More
With Method and Apparatus for Finding Love Catherine Richards explores the patentability of inventions and calls into question the set of rules that govern the system of intellectual property and exclude certain categories of invention and creation, such as scientific theories, artworks and therapeutic methods. Using the codification and vocabulary of patent law as raw material for her work, the artist, with the help of engineer Martin Snelgrove, formulates a method for finding love. A highly complex apparatus emerges from procedures she has worked out over some 30 pages, illustrating how the emotions have become a language difficult to grasp and proposing a scientific interpretation as a corrective. The aridity of the patent shows how our era is producing individuals with emotional lives that are out of control, hooked up to all kinds of networks and devices that are not necessarily conducive to the establishment of relationships.

The work was part of the exhibition Excitable Tissues, held at the Ottawa Art Gallery in 2000. Before they could try out the patent, visitors were invited to sign a confidentiality agreement before being authorized to view the installation.

© Galerie de l'UQAM 2007. All rights reserved

A Patent: Method and Apparatus for Finding Love 2000

This project follows from my work Charged Hearts, where I examined the relationships of physics, emotion and new communications technologies. As part of Charged Hearts, we (myself and my collaborator, Dr. W. Martin Snelgrove) created a website with an intimacy simulation - an interactive, real time, java-based game - that led us to speculate about the mediation of emotion by technologies.

During Charged Hearts in 1996 I became increasingly convinced that the mediation of emotions was on the cultural/technological agenda with the unspoken implication that it would be a breakthrough to huge new markets. While developing these ideas we came up with a system of matching, though we say “love” in the patent title, it is any kind of matching and anticipates “security” matching. The major funding I would need to build technological work around these ideas was daunting. We found another way and created the piece as a patent.

A patent had important attributes. It implicated the discussion of intellectual property tha Read More
A Patent: Method and Apparatus for Finding Love 2000

This project follows from my work Charged Hearts, where I examined the relationships of physics, emotion and new communications technologies. As part of Charged Hearts, we (myself and my collaborator, Dr. W. Martin Snelgrove) created a website with an intimacy simulation - an interactive, real time, java-based game - that led us to speculate about the mediation of emotion by technologies.

During Charged Hearts in 1996 I became increasingly convinced that the mediation of emotions was on the cultural/technological agenda with the unspoken implication that it would be a breakthrough to huge new markets. While developing these ideas we came up with a system of matching, though we say “love” in the patent title, it is any kind of matching and anticipates “security” matching. The major funding I would need to build technological work around these ideas was daunting. We found another way and created the piece as a patent.

A patent had important attributes. It implicated the discussion of intellectual property that is increasingly privatizing human activity. It created a new site for an artwork, as in many respects patents are similar to art galleries in that they maintain well-established boundaries between subject and object. Consequently, just as I had used the gallery as a site-specific 19th century exhibition site, we used the patent as a site.
Patents are a different kind of shielded environment, for those who can afford it. A patent dictated a fixed form that opened an extraordinary opportunity to entwine both science and art as agents of desire. Finally, it was as if a patent was perfectly designed as a means for us to speculate on a terrain that is now increasingly being charted in research labs and used in security monitoring.

© Galerie de l'UQAM 2007. All rights reserved

Catherine Richards lives and works in Ottawa, where she is a professor in the Visual Arts Department of the University of Ottawa. She holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in English literature (York University) and one in visual art (University of Ottawa). A winner of numerous prizes, she was the first artist-in-residence at the National Gallery of Canada. In 1991, she presented Spectral Bodies in the Computer Department of the University of Alberta and at the Banff Centre for the Arts. With this work, she became the first Canadian artist to use a virtual reality system.

www.catherinerichards.ca

selected exhibitions
2004 The 14th Biennale of Sydney: On Reason and Emotion, Sydney (Australia) 2003 Excitable Tissues, Ottawa Art Gallery, Ottawa (Ontario) 2000 Engaging the Virtual, Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax (Nova Scotia) 1997 Catherine Richards: Charged Hearts, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (Ontario)
Catherine Richards lives and works in Ottawa, where she is a professor in the Visual Arts Department of the University of Ottawa. She holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in English literature (York University) and one in visual art (University of Ottawa). A winner of numerous prizes, she was the first artist-in-residence at the National Gallery of Canada. In 1991, she presented Spectral Bodies in the Computer Department of the University of Alberta and at the Banff Centre for the Arts. With this work, she became the first Canadian artist to use a virtual reality system.

www.catherinerichards.ca


selected exhibitions
  • 2004 The 14th Biennale of Sydney: On Reason and Emotion, Sydney (Australia)
  • 2003 Excitable Tissues, Ottawa Art Gallery, Ottawa (Ontario)
  • 2000 Engaging the Virtual, Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax (Nova Scotia)
  • 1997 Catherine Richards: Charged Hearts, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (Ontario)

© Galerie de l'UQAM 2007. All rights reserved

codification

An operation that involves using a coding system to convert information (such as a word or image) into another form of representation. This institution of codes makes it possible to structure information into organized systems.

intellectual property

This term covers the right to use a product of the mind. Industrial property constitutes one initial aspect of this and encompasses inventions, trademarks, industrial prototypes and geographical indications. Copyright concerns literary works, films, musical works, artworks and architectural creations.

patent

An industrial property title that confers on the maker of a discovery or invention an exclusive right to capitalize on it for a set period of time. A legal deposit must, however, be made.
codification

An operation that involves using a coding system to convert information (such as a word or image) into another form of representation. This institution of codes makes it possible to structure information into organized systems.

intellectual property

This term covers the right to use a product of the mind. Industrial property constitutes one initial aspect of this and encompasses inventions, trademarks, industrial prototypes and geographical indications. Copyright concerns literary works, films, musical works, artworks and architectural creations.

patent

An industrial property title that confers on the maker of a discovery or invention an exclusive right to capitalize on it for a set period of time. A legal deposit must, however, be made.

© Galerie de l'UQAM 2007. All rights reserved

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • demonstrate an understanding of how science and art can be linked;
  • try to explain the state of mind of the artist when she made this art piece.

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