Posted:Jun 26, 2007

Hideki Nakazawa’s “Art Patent Sustaining Project” @ Kandada / Project Collective Command-N

This show, organized within a series of exhibitions curated by Command-N, an activity-based art collective directed by artist Masato Nakamura, highlights the newest activities of artist Hideki Nakazawa, focused on the actual patents he has obtained during the past recent years.

His main patent deals with the very simple idea of a “3D bitmap”. If you know what a “pixel” (= abbreviation of pictures + element) is, you just need to think of a pixel in 3 dimensions. This 3D pixel is called “Voxel” (= combination of “volumetric” and “pixel”) and Nakazawa owns the patent for deploying any 3D bitmap art form. He claims that the purest artistic form of expression does not lie in the use of a medium, but rather in the act of creating the medium itself, just like Leonardo Da Vinci who spent a considerable amount of time just on preparing his ideal pigment. With this hypothesis, Nakazawa claims that the artistic quality of his work only resides in the following table.

In this exhibition, you can take a look at the actual patent certificates that the artist obtained both in Japan and the US, along with a showcase of the 3D Bitmap editing software he directed and published in 1996.

I was invited to one of his talk shows. As someone who researches the digital copyright licensing system, my initial interest vis-à-vis Nakazawa’s project was inevitably focused on his use of the patent, a right managing system parallel to the copyright system.

Although Nakazawa’s interest to the law was only secondary, I found the way he sells his ‘art patent’ to be by far the most interesting point: you can spend ¥150,000 to become one of the patent’s stake-holders, allowing you to get a capital bonus when the patent receives licensing fees. Even if Nakazawa’s ‘invention’ technically does not have anything new in it, his concept of the creation of the medium its very stimulating to the information age we are living in.

Dominick Chen

Dominick Chen

Born 1981 in Tokyo. Citizen of the Sixth French Republic (not the current one, but the next). Originally from a Media Arts &amp; Design and Contemporary Arts study background, he is currently conducting research into massive micro creativity through online media technology as a Fellow Researcher of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science at the University of Tokyo, Initiative in Interdisciplinary Information studies (iii). Also committed to developing a freer Internet culture, he is the Public Head of NPO Creative Commons Japan, and served as member of the International Advisory Committee for Ars Electronica 2007's Digital Community category. Parallel and on-going projects include: - <a href="">HIVE</a>, the open video archive for NTT InterCommunication Center [ICC] - <a href="">DIVVY/dual</a>: open-ended art practice platform - <a href="">pri/pro</a>: electronic circuit developed by Ryota Kuwakubo