Ownership of Knowledge: Appropriation in Art & Technology

November 10 | 9:00 to November 11 | 17:00
Department III Workshop

Department III

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Boltzmannstraße 22, 14195 Berlin, Main Conference Hall

Ownership of Knowledge: Appropriation in Art & Technology

The workshop will focus on material expressions of ownership claims to technological and artistic innovation. It looks at material artifacts as active agents that framed the conceptualization of intellectual property and of notions like ‘originality’ and ‘novelty.’ Departing from a history that has identified reports, copyright registration files, patent models, or trademarks materials mainly as residues of abstract legal policies, we wish to tackle the performative nature of materials in claims to innovation and creativity and take a fresh view at the way knowledge was codified from a global view.

Theme 1: Bureaucracies and Materialities

- What is the role of bureaucratic practices in transforming objects into property? How do material technologies, such as models, inscriptions, systems of classification, depositories, and protocols of examination and registration affect notions of property?

Theme 2: Forensics of Authorship

- What defines authors, inventors, owners or “pirates”? How do material inscriptions (signatures, stamps, brushstrokes, handwriting, etc.) become evidence of authorship or appropriation? Which role does law or discipline-based protocols construe authors, or distinguish between followers/fans and appropriators/thieves?

Theme 3: Beyond Intellectual Property

- Which strategies of access, protection and reward can be observed beyond modern intellectual property protection? What frameworks determine the proprietary status of objects? What happens when these objects move through different cultures?

Over three days, the workshop will combine the in-depth conversations of five pre-circulated position papers and sixteen papers. The workshop is open to the public. 



Max Planck Institute for the History of Science,
Boltzmannstraße 22,
14195 Berlin, Germany
Phone: (+4930) 22667-0