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Contemporary Art & Utility Patents

Robert Thill is researching the relationship between contemporary art and utility patents in preparation for a book-length work.

His project strives to present an evolving compendium in which the roles of artist, inventor, amateur, and institution variously overlap, merge, and blur, offering new perspectives on unique intersections. 

Addressing issues of originality, aesthetics, labor, ownership, and value, the projects demonstrate a continuous link between art and patents and encourage thoughtful speculation about shared concerns, guiding ideologies, and forms.


The work considers that a set of diverse intersections between contemporary art and utility patents might reveal concerns tied to expressing forms of invention in order to achieve a ncontemporaneous and historical recognition and belonging.

"Intellectual Property: A Chronology Compendium of Intersections between Contemporary Art and Utility Patents," by Robert Thill, was first published by MIT Press in Leonardo: Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Science and Technology.


An expanded, adapted version of

it was published in serial form at Clandestine Construction Company International, with a different project in the compendium appearing biweekly. While each entry was a unique electronic publication and was not stored online after the two-week publication period, the sixteenth entry of this series, is preserved here.

To contribute ideas to the research, please contact:

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