Patent Pending at ZERO1

Patent Pending at ZERO1

Written by Sieglinde Van Damme. Originally posted on Content Magazine here. 

Never failing to position itself as a discussion platform, the ZERO1 Garage is currently hosting the exhibit Patent Pending. Participating artists have either obtained or are in the process of obtaining a patent for the artwork they created. The exhibit is an invitation to contemplate the link between creative ownership, entrepreneurship, and the potential of the artistic process to drive innovation far beyond art gallery walls.
Upon entering the space one is instantly blown away, literally, by Scott Snibbe’s piece Blow Up. A small console invites the audience to record their breath. Data about the direction and velocity of the airflow is then translated to a bigger device with twelve industrial size fans. The result is a zen moment created by an artist and entrepreneur with no less than fifteen patents in his name. A visual play on the notion that there are always two sides to any story is delivered by Daniel Rozin in the form of three static digital prints that show a different image depending on the physical distance of the viewer to the piece.

Camille Utterback & Romy Achituv’s piece Text Rain is a crowd favorite. As the viewer enters the installation, a tiny camera captures his whereabouts and instantly projects his movements upon a blank wall amid falling text. A computer renders these moves   as “obstructions” which allows the viewer to bounce the projected letters around as if they were present in the physical space. What’s even more mind-blowing is that this piece was created in 1999, way before the world got hooked on the Wii (2006) or Xbox (2010).
Phil Ross has been developing green building materials for over 20 years. His installation Mycotectural Polyominous displays organic, sustainable, and non-toxic building blocks made from Reishi mushrooms. After growing the fungi within a contained cast, Ross bakes them to make sure the material remains stable…and surprisingly hard.
The giant pompom floating mid-air, next to the equally giant light bulb comes from the hands of Maggie Orth. The Fuzzy Apparatus was created especially for this exhibit and is an extension of the once commercially available Pompom Dimmer (also on display). Orth’s research focuses on electronic textiles and conductive yarns. In this case, touching the pompom controls the intensity of the light.

And last but not least, a non-disclosure agreement needs to be signed before entering ZERO1‘s project room to explore Catherine Richard’s Method and Apparatus for Finding Love. Her patent is still pending and one can’t help but question whether we can indeed intellectually own and simulate an emotion, such as intimacy.

Visit ZERO1, the art and technology network, in their physical hub better known as the ZERO1 Garage, located at 439 S. First Street in downtown San Jose. The exhibit Patent Pending is up through December 20, 2013. Open Wed – Sat, 12noon – 4pm.

Upcoming related panel discussions and debates (more info at 

Tuesday, November 5th, 6:30-8:30pm: Does the US Patent System stifle innovation?

Thursday, November 21st, 6:30-8:30pm: State of the Art: Art and the STATE.