Above: Robert Hovden's four nanolithographs in When Art Exceeds Perception at the Jill Stuart Gallery, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Courtesy of Robert Hovden.
When Art Exceeds Perception is an exhibition of works produced and conceived by Robert Hovden, a PhD candidate in Applied Physics at Cornell University. Hovden has mounted an exhibition to probe our assumptions about the copy, authorship, and ownership. Predictably, he has provoked the ire of one (dead) artist's estate and the admiration of those who dispute the wisdom of overreaching copyright, including the editor of this blog. See below for excerpts from blurbs and press.
~ the editor, NEWSgrist (where spin is art)
Cornell Council For the Arts - Intimate Cosmologies Projects Biennial
WHEN ART EXCEEDS PERCEPTION
Dates: Oct 30, 2014 - Dec 15, 2014
Location: Jill Stuart Gallery, Human Ecology Building
When Art Exceeds Perception explores the implications of replication and plagiarism by reproducing famous works of art inscribed onto the surface of a silicon crystal wafer at 500x smaller than the eye can see and 5x smaller than the wavelength of light.
The art was inscribed by accelerating charged ions to high-speeds and focusing them on the silicon wafer. By scanning an ion beam in an image pattern, molecules on the wafer surface were sculpted and etched like clay. The material sculpted at this scale is high-purity, crystalline silicon with an atomically smooth, flat surface. This is the same silicon medium used in modern digital devices for transistors and provides an exceptional medium for physical manipulation and design.
In a digital era where information is encrypted and stored in the atomic bits of nanoscale devices, answers to philosophical, moral, and legal questions surrounding artistic ownership and copyright become muddled. When Art Exceeds Perception focuses on this issue through the creation of tangible, if immediately inaccessible, art — not stored as bits, but rather as an indirectly interpretable image. Its final representation is not digitized or encrypted, but identical in image to the original, if merely too small to be perceived.
This ease of copying has provoked legal aggression and endless debate as to the purpose of copyright law and its role in protecting the interests of artists. In particular, entertainment industry companies often declare that no matter what its nature, infringement negatively affects those creators. But is that always the case?
A new project developed by Dr Robert Hovden at Cornell University aims to provoke discussion on that very topic by pushing replication of content – and indeed the law – to their absolute limits.
A self-confessed gradeschool downloader and former undergraduate at Jet Propulsion Labs, NASA, Hovden went on to study nanoscience at Cornell. His passion for studying the world at the tiniest possible levels has given birth to “When Art Exceeds Perception”.
The project, which will be exhibiting at Cornell University this November and December, explores the implications of copyright infringement, replication and plagiarism when the ‘pirated’ works are so tiny they cannot be perceived by human senses.
To this end, Hovden has ‘pirated’ four famous works of art by scribing them into the surface of a silicon crystal using a focused ion beam. The features in the artwork replicas are five hundred times smaller than the eye can perceive and five times smaller than the wavelength of light. [...]
Above image courtesy of Robert Hovden.
via Torrentfreak, cont'd:
“To take a piece of art, copy it, and share it with the world without the original artists’ permission is traditionally viewed as wrong and, in most cases, violates copyright laws,” Hovden says.
“Such laws are intended to protect an artist’s financial interests and provide incentive to create. However, in a digital era where information is encrypted and stored in the atomic bits of nanoscale devices, answers to philosophical, moral, and legal questions surrounding copyright become muddled.”
This leads to Hovden’s big question: When a copyright work is copied, framed and presented for public consumption on a nanoscale as it will during November and December at Cornell, has something been taken from the original artist?
“Thus far, people have discussed this project from a science or art perspective, but I believe that the readers of TorrentFreak are best equipped to understand this work. The exhibition is highly conceptual – completely beyond perception – and critical of current views on replication,” Hovden told TF.
via The Verge:
Artist M.C. Escher died in 1972, leaving behind iconic optical illusions that are now generations old. Painter Joy Garnett was born in 1965, and her career is in full swing. But when nanoscience researcher Robert Hovden copied works from both for a recent project, he could use Garnett’s with impunity. Escher’s estate, meanwhile, thinks he’s breaking the law.
Unless he told you, though, you’d never know he’s ripping off someone else’s work.
When Art Exceeds Perception looks like an exhibit of blank gray discs. Those silicon discs, however, hold a series of miniscule etchings: sketches made by a process called nanoscale lithography, in which charged ions blast away silicon atoms like an invisible chisel. The technique can be used for beautiful effects, like sandcastles printed on a single grain of sand. In this case, the images' individual details are roughly a tenth of a micron wide, and each picture is so small that it’s impossible to see even with a high-powered optical microscope — you’d have to turn to more recent inventions like the scanning tunneling microscope. At Cornell University’s Jill Stuart Gallery, where the installation will hang until December, "people will stare, and they usually find small imperfections in the disk," says Hovden. "They think maybe that's where the art is. But probably not."
Above: Joy Garnett, "Laylah K.", 2003, oil on canvas, 26x36 inches. Courtesy of the artist. CC-BY-SA.
You're looking at a reproduction of an M.C. Escher drawing, but you'd never know it. It's inscribed onto the surface of a silicon crystal wafer at a scale 500 times smaller than the eye can see.
Robert Hovden etched the Escher tessellations using focused high-speed ions. Why? Because he's a nanoscientist who spends his days studying objects with electron microscopes. And because maybe no one will notice he's copying famous works of art if the reproductions are so tiny.
But don't call the intellectual-property cops just yet. Hovden has copied famous works of art deliberately and openly for his exhibit “When Art Exceeds Perception,” an exploration of plagiarism in the age of bits and bytes.
"To take a piece of art, copy it and share it with the world without the original artists' permission is traditionally viewed as wrong and, in most cases, violates copyright laws...However, in a digital era where information is encrypted and stored in the atomic bits of nanoscale devices, answers to philosophical, moral and legal questions surrounding copyright become muddled," reads Hovden's statement for the exhibit, part of the Cornell Council for the Arts Biennial "Intimate Cosmologies: The Aesthetics of Scale in an Age of Nanotechnology."
For the campus-wide show, which runs through December 22, artists and scientists "explore the cultural and human consequences of seeing the world at the micro and macro levels, through nanoscience and networked communications." Participants have done things like render the microscopic textures of a sheet of paper as a 3D inhabitable landscape and create wearable sensors to detect methane and poisonous gases.
Hovden, a Cornell Ph.D. student in applied physics, etched works of art onto the atomically smooth, flat surfaces of silicon wafers used in modern digital devices. He chose works "where copyright is relevant to the discussion" -- pieces by Escher, Magritte, Matisse and contemporary artist Joy Garnett, who releases work under a Creative Commons license.
Above: Robert Hovden: "Nano-Laylah K," 2014, nanolithography. Dimensions: diminutive. Courtesy of Robert Hovden.
via Art Law Blog:
M.C. Escher is well-known for his finely crafted compositions integrating mathematics and art, creating brain-teasing images, transforming creatures and impossible architectures. Escher’s optical illusions, explorations of geometric patterns and perspectives make him a favorite among scientists and mathematicians. So it is no surprise that Nanoscientist Robert Hovden chose Escher’s Regular Division of the Plane as one of the microscopic etchings in his new show, When Art Exceeds Perception. Hovden chose this Escher work for its ” lovely tessellation with symmetries that can be found in the crystalline silicon substrate on which it was etched.” Unfortunately, the Escher Estate sees the use of Escher’s image as nothing more than a copyright infringement.
As readers of the Art Law Journal are keenly aware, Copyright Law has few bright lines, made even hazier when confronting issues surrounding new technologies, such as nanolithography. Is copying art that nobody can see an infringement? Does this new technological process, or the pattern created by millions of Escher’s, transform the work such that it is considered fair use? Does an analysis of this issue even work within the bounds of the Copyright Act and current case law? Let’s take a look.
Above: Focused Ion Beam device. Courtesy of Robert Hovden.
Cornell Council For the Arts
Exhibition: WHEN ART EXCEEDS PERCEPTION
Artist: Robert Hovden (Applied Physics)
Dates: Oct 30, 2014 - Dec 15, 2014
Installation Location: Jill Stuart Gallery, Human Ecology Building
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Inviato il 03/12/2014 da Luca Chiappini