Davis & Strathmann: A Case Study in IP arising in art/science performance research and transdisciplinary collaboration

Coordinator: Josie E. Davis, Artist

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 first conceived by the author and developed by Davis & Strathmann as part of a 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. These projects foreground the collective expertise of Davis & Strathmann in audio and media production, performance and critical studies, visual design and specifically, the application of these shared involvements toward art/science research.
Issues arising from collective and shared practices including divergent views on the role of performance as documentation, artistic ownership, process versus product, ethics and professional discourse, and transparency are examined in the context of these works. 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 and the dissemination of the collective including image rights and the abuse of online web permissions. Furthermore, this study will examine the actions taken 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 make suggested actions for how these lessons can be observed and utilized by individuals and transdisciplinary collaborations hoping to avoid and move through IP conflict in the field.