Leonardo Journal Volume 47, Issue 4, 2014

Leonardo is a print journal, published five times a year. Leonardo is edited by Leonardo/the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology, and published by the MIT Press.

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SPECIAL SIGGRAPH ISSUE

TABLE OF CONTENTS

SIGGRAPH 2014 ART PAPERS AND ACTING IN TRANSLATION ART GALLERY

Guest Editorial

by Teri Rueb

ACM SIGGRAPH DISTINGUISHED ARTIST AWARD FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN DIGITAL ART

Harold Cohen

Art papers

Art papers Jury
AESTHETICS OF BIOCYBERNETIC DESIGNS: A SYSTEMS APPROACH TO BIOROBOTS AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

by Reynaldo Thompson and Tirtha Prasad Mukhopadhyay

ABSTRACT: The authors identify some of the theoretical premises of biocybernetic art objects, with reference to the works of Nam June Paik, Edward Ihnawitz, Ulrike Gabriel, and most notably, Gilberto Esparza, the Mexican biocybernetic artist. Systems theory anticipates stochastic convergences in nature, defying the classic certitude of the teleological notion of form. Evidence for this paradigmatic shift is found in the biocybernetic creatures conceived by these roboticists. In much biocybernetic art, beauty emerges in the form of adaptive mechanisms, such as in robotic tetrapods or self-organizing artificial plants. Such structures provide a template for survival mechanisms in an increasingly entropic environment.

THE AESTHETICS OF LIMINALITY: AUGMENTATION AS ARTFORM

by Patrick Lichty

ABSTRACT: From ARToolkit’s emergence in the 1990s to the emergence of augmented reality (AR) as an art medium in the 2010s, AR has developed as a number of evidential sites. As an extension of virtual media, it merges real-time pattern recognition with goggles (finally realizing William Gibson’s sci-fi fantasy) or handheld devices. This creates a welding of real-time media and virtual reality, or an optically registered simulation overlaid upon an actual spatial environment. Commercial applications are numerous, including entertainment, sales, and navigation. Even though AR-based works can be traced back to the late 1990s, AR work requires some understanding of coding and tethered imaging equipment. It was not until marker-based AR, affording lower entries to usage, as well as geo-locational AR-based media, using handheld devices and tablets, that augmented reality as an art medium would propagate. While one can argue that AR-based art is a convergence of handheld device art and virtual reality, there are intrinsic gestures specific to augmented reality that make it unique. The author looks at some historical examples of AR as well as critical issues of AR-based gestures such as compounding the gaze, problematizing the retinal, and the representational issues of informatic overlays. This generates four gestural vectors, analogous to those defined in “The Translation of Art in Virtual Worlds,” which is examined through case studies. From this, a visual theory of augmentation will be proposed.

MALLEABLE ENVIRONMENTS AND THE PURSUIT OF SPATIAL JUSTICE IN THE BRONX

by Melanie Crean

ABSTRACT: A design team in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the South Bronx used methodologies of performance and collaborative, location-based storytelling to contend with the effects of urban spatial injustice in the community. Ideation via a series of participatory performances led to creation of a mobile cinema application as the starting point for public, location-based cinema walks. The application accepts user-generated content, acting as a new form of generative monument to the neighborhood as it evolves. The project exemplifies how installing situated technologies for an embodied form of participation can help translate local concerns to outside audiences, in this case using a metaphorical, locative media platform to discuss the evolving nature of environmental discrimination, over-incarceration, and urban spatial justice in New York City.

NERVOUS ETHER: SOFT AGGREGATES, INTERACTIVE SKINS
by Kathy Velikov, Geoffrey Thün, Mary O’Malley and Wiltrud Simbuerger

ABSTRACT: This paper describes the authors’ exploration and experimentation with cellular pneumatic aggregates for kinetic, environmentally responsive envelope systems. The work is situated within the history and technology of pneumatic structures, biological paradigms, the agency and aesthetics of material, information translation, and the tension between performance and affect within responsive environments. The paper elaborates on the physical and computational development of novel pneumatic systems, experimentation with their interactive capabilities, and a recently completed installation, Nervous Ether, a pneumatic spatial envelope that operates as an instrument to register and communicate remote environmental information while also developing affective interaction with inhabitants.

OBJECT INTERMEDIARIES: HOW NEW MEDIA ARTISTS TRANSLATE THE LANGUAGE OF THINGS
by Kayla Anderson

ABSTRACT: This paper uses Walter Benjamin’s concept of translation between people and things as a focal point for analysis of the work of contemporary new-media artists Paula Gaetano Adi and Lindsey French, who utilize robotics and interactive technology to explore interspecies communication. Framed by materialist, poststructuralist, and posthumanist theory, along with recent discourse in object-oriented ontology, this paper poses the work of Gaetano Adi and French as potential models for visualizing object-oriented and vital materialist interactions. In the age of the Anthropocene, thinking beyond the human has become increasingly vital in both ethical and ecological terms, making the ability to envision less anthropocentric, more object-oriented worldviews both novel and timely.

A PIECE OF THE PIE CHART: FEMINIST ROBOTICS
by Annina Rüst

ABSTRACT: This paper analyzes the robotic gallery installation A Piece of the Pie Chart. The project addresses gender inequity in the tech world. It consists of a computer workstation and a food robot. The food robot puts pie charts onto edible, pre-baked pies. They depict the gender gap in technical environments. Visitors use the robot to create pies. Pictures of the pies are disseminated via Twitter, and the physical pies are mailed to the places where the data originated. In the following text, the author disassembles the machine in the context of feminist theory, feminist technology research, visualization, and political robotics.

POSTURE PLATFORM AND THE DRAWING ROOM: VIRTUAL TELEPORTATION IN CYBERSPACE
by Luc Courchesne, Emmanuel Durand, Bruno Roy

ABSTRACT: Three-hundred-sixty-degree audio/visual immersion and the restoration of non-verbal communication cues are essential features for interfaces inviting the human body in cyberspace. The Posture Platform is a network of bases that offers access to a shared virtual environment. Each base is composed of an immersive 360-degree visual display, a surround-sound system, an array of image capture devices, a microphone, an omnidirectional controller/pointer, and a computer with wifi and an internet connection. The Drawing Room is the most recent virtual space developed for the platform. It invites participants to a blank shared space where they draw their own environment collaboratively. The platform, and the project it hosts, is an example of the art, design, and engineering challenges and opportunities associated with development of inhabitable cyberspace.

TRANSMISSION: A TELEPRESENCE INTERFACE FOR NEURAL AND KINETIC INTERACTION
by Oliver Gingrich, Alain Renaud, Eugenia Emets, Zhidong Xiao

ABSTRACT: Transmission is both a telepresence performance and a research project. As a real-time visualization tool, Transmission creates alternate representations of neural activity through sound and vision, investigating the effect of interaction on human consciousness. As a sonification project, it creates an immersive experience for two users: a soundscape created by the human mind and the influence of kinetic interaction. An electroencephalographic (EEG) headset interprets a user’s neural activity. An Open Sound Control (OSC) script then translates this data into a real-time particle stream and sound environment at one end. A second user in a remote location modifies this stream in real time through body movement. Together they become a telematic musical interface-communicating through visual and sonic representation of their interactions.

XEPA - AUTONOMOUS INTELLIGENT LIGHT AND SOUND SCULPTURES THAT IMPROVISE GROUP PERFORMANCES
by Philip Galanter

ABSTRACT: XEPA anticipates a future where machines form their own societies. Going beyond mere generative art, machines will exhibit artistic creativity with the addition of artistic judgment via computational aesthetic evaluation. In such a future our notions of aesthetics will undergo a radical translation. The XEPA intelligent sculptures create animated light and sound sequences. Each sculpture “watches” the others and modifies its own aesthetic behavior to create a collaborative, improvisational performance. No coordination information or commands are used. Each XEPA independently evaluates the aesthetics of the other sculptures, infers a theme or mood being attempted, and then modifies its own aesthetics to better reinforce that theme. Each performance is unique and widely varied. XEPA is an ever-evolving artwork, intended as a platform for ongoing experiments in computational aesthetic evaluation.


ACTING IN TRANSLATION

ACTING IN TRANSLATION ART GALLERY JURY
INTRODUCTION

by Başak Şenova

APPARITION

by Paul L. Stout

THE EVOLUTION OF SILENCE

by Rachele Riley

LEVITATE

by Yunsil Heo and Hyunwoo Bang

LINEOGRAPHS

by Joseph Farbrook

LOOKING GLASS TIME

by Yoichi Ochiai

MODERN VIDEO PROCESSOR

by Yunsil Heo and Hyunwoo Bang

MOTHER

by Inmi Lee and Kyle McDonald

POINTS OF VIEW

by Zohar Kfir

SEEMORE
by Sam Blanchard, Kirk Cameron, Robert Redfern, Sergio Bernales, Bo Li, Michelle Will, Hung-Ching Chang, Kelsey Farenholtz, Brandon Deaguero, Timmy Meyer, John Mooring, Ali Butt and Tamar Petersen

SPECULATORUM OCULI

by Erik Brunvand

SUBWAY STORIES
by Alon Chitayat, Jeff Ong

TRANSICONMORPHOSIS
by Emilio Vavarella and Fito Segrera

 


Leonardo Network News

Updated 11 August 2014