Hmm: Does Current Intellectual Property Law Impede Art Science Practice; A SEAD new Thought


Here is the next in our series of featured SEAD White Papers which confronts some of the difficult

issues of Intellectual Property and how these issues can be impediments to innovation and deep

art science research practice. Comments and responses welcome on this blog or to rmalina(at)
Roger Malina


A Case Study in IP arising in Art/Science Performance Research and
Transdisciplinary Collaboration

Author: Josie E. Davis

In this paper, I will discuss the projects and practice of the art/science research collective
Davis & Strathmann. I will use Davis & Strathmann as a sample case study in
transdisciplinary, collaborative, practice-based performance and design research with a
unique history of unresolved trademark and intellectual property conflicts between
members. I will consider the history of two projects, Sink and Hunter/Symbiosis, as an
example of work conceived by the author and developed as part of a collective mobile
exchange between the U.S. and Argentina and, later, as part of a six-week art/science
residency at the Helen Riaboff Whiteley Center at Friday Harbor Laboratories. I will focus
on the expertise of the collective in audio and media production, performance and critical
studies, visual design and specifically, on the application of these practices toward the field
of art/science research.
Issues arising from shared practice including divergent views on the role of performance as
documentation, mutual access to photography and media archives, process versus product,
ethics and professional discourse, and transparency are examined in the context of these
works, with attention to the dissemination of the collective and role of the author in
retaining artistic ownership of image rights, concept application, and administrative access.
In particular, this study will examine a series of unresolved IP challenges facing the author
over a period of two months following the end of the residency at Friday Harbor Labs
including the abuse of online administrative permissions, exploitation, irresponsive
behavior toward the collective identity, threats of legal action and IP misconduct in regard
to the exhibition of future work, subversive efforts to deface fundraising platforms, and the
withholding of media for personal gain. Furthermore, this study will examine the actions by
both members that contributed to these issues, how certain actions may have been avoided,
and steps currently taken by the author to prevent the recurrence of IP conflict and to
protect future stages of these and additional works. In closing, the study will offer
suggested actions for how these lessons can be observed and utilized by transdisciplinary
collaborations seeking to avoid IP conflict in their respective field.




As part of the NSF SEAD Study on how to enhance collaboration between arts/design/humanities with

science/engineering we are posting abstracts of the 100 white papers received. We solicit comment

and feedback which will be fed back to the authors of the white papers. Send comments to rmalina(at)

or post on this blog.


The SEAD white papers can be found at


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