Omnibus Filing

       Omnibus Filing, is a legal term used to describe a collection of a number of disparate and perhaps unrelated ideas in a single patent application. In the context of creative collaboration, the intellectual framework of an Omnibus Filing contains A) a mechanism to formalize ideas at the edge of imagination and reality, B) a critical dialectic for cross-disciplinary work on the basis on invention, and C) a real-world metric of the utility, originality and feasibility of creative concepts. The title of this exhibition references this intellectual space both in metaphor and in reality, and in a cross-disciplinary practice, the lines between the two are blurred. When scientists, engineers, artists and researchers collaborate, hypotheticals become realities, daydreams become tangible and the optimism of imagination infects the culture of the lab.


       The premise of this exhibition began with the idea that artists are everyday innovators, whether they invent a new way to use a material, or create machines and processes to realize visions that are on the edge of imagination. Acknowledging that both the laboratory and the innovation process could vastly benefit from these types of creative disruptions, Asst. Prof. James Sham and Dr. Brian Korgel devised a program, Rapid Design Pivot, to embed artists into the laboratory environment to conduct creative projects alongside and in collaboration with UT researchers. The artists in this exhibition, Daniel Bozhkov, Patrick Killoran, Steven Brower and James Sham have been inserted into various laboratories from 2016-2017 with the mandate to collaborate, cross-pollinate and catalyze innovation with UT researchers and scientists. By training the artists in the basic skills required to function semi-independently within the laboratory environment, the effects and outcomes have been widespread and varied in nature. Some projects materialize as contemporary art installation while others manifest as research papers, prototypes and demonstrations of emerging technology. By releasing artists as a radicalizing presence in the laboratory, research trajectories have pivoted and taken radical directions within the contexts of these creative projects.

       Often in the innovation process, finding the right application of new materials and technologies is a long, expensive and cumbersome process. After achieving amazing and proven results in laboratory, there is often incredible difficulty bringing emerging technologies and research in the world. The costly, timely and problematic process of discovering applications for new materials often nullifies their impact in the world. This exhibition began as a way to catalyze innovation by bringing artists-specialists in using materials in unexpected ways-into the laboratory environment to create projects with experimental new innovations. As a punctuation to these creative collaborations, each project has been submitted to the University of Texas Office of Technology Commercialization for patent consideration, an arena in which odd ideas meet the limit or acceleration of their impact in the world.

       Omnibus Filing showcases a new approach to innovation that combines arts, sciences and engineering in a fully collaborative process. Treating UT Austin as an innovation hub, artists have worked with researchers, scientists, engineers and emerging companies to import some radicality and creative disruption into the laboratory environment. The resulting projects demonstrate that:
A) Artists promote collaboration, by fusing the work of vastly different research laboratories into cross-disciplinary art projects that lead to new research directions;
B) Artists catalyze rapid pivots in research direction, by enabling exploration of radically new ideas in a short time frame in a way that is not possible within the parameters of directed research funding;
C) Artists provide a direct link between society and the fundamental science and engineering work that goes on at a University in the form of tangible projects that bridge the gap between the lab-scale prototype and large-scale manufacturing;
D) Artists create new insight about products and applications that have commercial potential by using materials and technologies in unexpected applications within the framework of creative projects, rather than directed research.

The exhibition is now on at Visual arts centre in UT Austin. The exhibit closes on February 24th.Click here to have a look at the exhibition guide.