Leonardo Journal Volume 50, Issue 2, 2017

Leonardo is 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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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Editorial

Culture and Epigenetics
by Michael Punt

Artists’ Article

Art-Science Interactions in the Destruction of an Archive:
The after | image Project

by Amanda Reichelt-Brushett and Grayson Cooke

ABSTRACT: The after | image project is an inquiry into notions of material memory and forgetting and as they intersect with archival preservation and dissolution. The project involves the intentional destruction by the authors of a photographic archive using various acids, chemical compounds and oxidizing agents; this destruction is recorded using time-lapse macrophotography. The authors thus challenge the often-intense human desire to retain a record of the past, a “hard copy” of memory. In the process of destroying the negative film, the authors create something new and by doing so are afforded the opportunity to revisit memories and their materialization within photographic media. In theoretical terms, the article focuses on the notion of “repeatability” as a trope that foregrounds the intertwining of artistic and scientific approaches. Collaborations like after | image facilitate the development of knowledge that is underpinned by both aesthetic qualities and experimental design and is thus both artistically and scientifically “true” at the same time.


Artists’ Notes

Scanning, Framing and Close-Up: Reimaging the Brain in
265 Looping Snapshots

by Silvia Casini

ABSTRACT:This article stems from a broader research project that explored the aesthetics of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Here the author focuses on firsthand experience of undergoing an MRI as an experimental subject within two different laboratory projects. The self-produced video created after the two examinations, 265 Looping Snapshots, muses on the role played by MRI sound and images, the notion of surveillance and the experience of undergoing a scan. The video attempts to resist the reading of MRI as a “vision machine” for surveillance purposes. Far from being a mere representation of an inner condition unavailable to the senses, MRI images slowly become more abstract—a pulsating, rhythmical light from which other forms can emerge.

Mestizo Robotics

by Gustavo Crembil and Paula Gaetano Adi

ABSTRACT: With a cultural and material “cannibalistic” approach, the authors aim to revise certain technological discourses by introducing TZ’IJK, a “mestizo” robotic artwork developed in the Peruvian Amazon. Far from the utopian visions of Hollywood sci-fi movies populated by highly intelligent, anthropomorphic and responsive machines, TZ’IJK employs a combination of high and low technologies that embody Latin America’s anthropophagic, postcolonial and hybrid nature. Mestizo Robotics proposes an alternative approach to the development of embodied artificial life forms, from both theoretical and technological viewpoints.

Abject Digital Performance: Engaging the Politics of
Electronic Waste

by Daniël Ploeger

ABSTRACT: Abstract: Building on anthropologist Mary Douglas’s writing on the ritual function of dirt, this article presents a strategy in digital performance art that engages with electronic waste (e-waste). It is suggested that planned obsolescence in electronics is of a particular nature that facilitates the representation of consumer technologies within the logic of a “symbolic order of technological progress,” where digital devices act as mere signifiers for abstract notions of connectivity, well-being and innovation. Conceptualizing discarded electronic devices as abject technology that is positioned outside this symbolic structure, a performance practice is proposed where abject body parts and abject technologies are connected to challenge this techno-ideology.


General Articles

A Study on Proprioception and Peripheral Vision in Synesthesia and Immersion

by Marc Boucher

ABSTRACT: Building on the one hand on the link between immersion and peripheral vision, and on the other hand on the visually induced perceptual illusion of self-motion (vection), the author examines synesthesia through the relationship between peripheral vision and proprioception. The author maintains that immersion in installations results from multimodal perception grounded in motor-sensory activity, and he considers installations and scenographies in which the viewer’s peripheral vision, balance, motion and posture play an important role.

Evidentiary Earthquakes: Design and Discontinuity through Seismic Methods

by Jennifer Ferng

ABSTRACT: The science of seismology has long wrestled with the problem of discontinuity when evaluating terrestrial phenomena such as earthquakes. Discontinuity arises between the cause of an earthquake and its resulting effects, making it difficult to ascertain what triggered such a seismic occurrence in the first place. This article revisits documented case studies of earthquakes in the United States and the impact of these tectonic upheavals using observations, quantitative measurements and narrative accounts to interrogate the so-called ordered relationship between events and their causes. Architecture as a discipline stands to gain substantial ground through the study of seismology as a discontinuous model of science and of history; diachronic frameworks for comprehending physical evidence are used to reflect on how architects may engage with geological singularities beyond analogy and formal imitation.

Electronic Media Art from China: New Visions Bring Messages from the Distant Past

by Jean M. Ippolito

ABSTRACT: This article introduces a number of contemporary artists in China who use digital technologies for art production. The author explores how these artists embed ancient philosophical values into an international mix of content in these new technological forms.

A Strong Couple: New Media and Socially Engaged Art

by Sjoukje van der Meulen

ABSTRACT: Despite the relevance of new media art for the critical understanding of the information and network societies today, it is largely ignored as a socially engaged practice—certainly compared to other forms of socially engaged artistic practices in the international field of contemporary art. This article outlines the reasons for this relative neglect and specifies different kinds of new media art that qualify for the category of socially engaged art beyond leftist politics and ideologies transposed to the realm of art. Proposing and mobilizing a “media-reflexive” art theory, which emerged from the author’s doctoral dissertation, this claim is substantiated by the analysis of three exemplary digital art projects by Joseph Nechvatal, George Legrady and Blast Theory, respectively.


General Note

Rule-Based Automatic Generation of Logo Designs

by Yi-Na Li, Kang Zhang and Dong-Jin Li

ABSTRACT: This article proposes the application of shape grammar to the automatic generation of logo designs based on artists’ logo creation knowledge and visual structures of logos. The authors propose a set of rules to encode the design knowledge and enable automatic generation. They then present an experiment that was conducted to validate the feasibility of the proposed approach.


Statements

Reactivating the Neural Dimension Role in Interactive Arts

by Diaa Ahmed Mohamed Ahmedien

ABSTRACT: The author created a neural interactive artwork in the form of a holographic puzzle in an attempt to expand the functional role of the neural brain activities in the interactive artistic processes. With synchronous neural communication being the structural concept for this project, the experimental setup connects the display system of puzzle pieces with the participant’s electrical brain activities via an EEG system. This experiment reveals the effect of the functional expansion of the participant’s neural responses and the possibility of analyzing the interactive processes quantitatively in an operational interpretation of the neural dimension in interactive arts.

Abstract of “Cognitive Innovation: A View from the Bridge”

by Susan L. Denham and Michael Punt

ABSTRACT: The paper abstracted here is about creativity. It proceeds from an understanding of the promise of the concept of cognitive innovation as a focus for collaboration between the sciences, arts and humanities. The value of the concept in this context lies in its approach to creativity as a bootstrapping cognitive process in which the energies that shape the poem are necessarily indistinguishable from those that shape the poet.

Annie and the Shaman: Exploring Data via Provocative Artifacts

by Julian Kilker

ABSTRACT: Designed as a “provocative artifact,” the multimedia piece Annie and the Shaman raises questions about how information is collected, archived and employed. The work connects two contexts with notable data histories: Nevada’s aboveground atomic testing and its Basin and Range region. To highlight an empirical engagement with location, audio and visual data from the famous 1953 Annie test was visually integrated into a relevant context on location, rather than composing visuals post hoc. The project proposes onsite data visualizations as a method to encourage researcher and public engagement, especially when original data and process information is included with the exhibit.

Acoustic Ecology Data Transmitter in Exclusion Zone, 10 km from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

by Hill Hiroki Kobayashi and Hiromi Kudo

ABSTRACT: Acoustic ecology data have been used for various types of soundscape investigations. Counting sounds in the soundscape is considered an effective method in ecology studies and offers comparative data for human-caused impacts on the environment. The authors constructed an Acoustic Ecology Data Transmitter in Exclusion Zone (Namie, Fukushima, Japan), 10 km from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. It aims to transmit and store a live stream of sound from an unmanned remote sensing station in the area. They expect this data to prove useful for studies on topics, which include radioecology and the emerging dialects for future observations.

The Brain as Muse: Bridging Art and Neuroscience

by Patricia Maurides and Marlene Behrmann

ABSTRACT: This article describes a partnership between an artist and neuroscientist who share common interests. The authors discuss bridging the fine arts and neurosciences through the development of transdisciplinary courses and public engagement through an art and science exhibition. Their NeuroArt partnership promotes dialogue and creates community among students and faculty by sharing access, tools and probing questions common to both disciplines.

Retro-Engineering and Alternative Histories: Possible Roads toward Media Archaeological Reconstruction

by Morgane Stricot

ABSTRACT: This article gives insight into research on media archaeological reconstruction of media and digital artworks. This experimental approach, illustrated by two practical cases, results in a duplication of the artworks within their original machines and languages. Based on retro-engineering, this approach is becoming a way to investigate the known, unknown and alternative stories by and for the machines, the goal being to produce archives, witnesses of the machines’ related history and inherent imaginary.


Special Section: Art and Cancer

Introduction by Guest Editor Dhruba Deb

3D Bio-Printing: An Introduction to a New Approach for Cancer Patients at the Interface of Art and Medicine

by Eugen Bogdan Petcu

ABSTRACT: Cancer patients require a complex multidisciplinary therapy. In this context the 3D additive biological manufacturing could represent a significant development with potential significant medical and social consequences. This article reviews the 3D bioprinting methods and clinical settings in which this new revolutionary method could be applied. Apart from the actual field of post-cancer therapy prosthetics and medical education, this method could be applied in the actual molecular cancer research and organ regeneration/fabrication. Considering all of these, it is possible that in the future, 3D biological printing could be used on a regular basis in clinical oncology.

Et In Arcadia Ego: Addressing Cancer-Associated Death and Immortality Using Art and Science

by Charlotte Jarvis and Hans Clevers

ABSTRACT: Charlotte Jarvis has collaborated with Hans Clevers to grow her own tumor. Here, the authors discuss the project’s aims to examine mortality and create a dialogue with and about cancer.


Special Section: Highlights from the IEEE VIS 2014 Arts Program (VISAP’14): Part 2

Introduction by Guest Editors Angus Forbes and Fanny Chevalier

Data in Context: Conceptualizing Site-Specific Visualization Projects

by George Legrady and Angus Graeme Forbes

ABSTRACT: Site-specific data visualization installations have distinct conditions of data collection, data analysis, audience interaction and data archiving. This article describes features of five data visualization projects related to their successful staging within different contexts.

Beyond Data: Abstract Motionscapes as Affective Visualization

by Chao Feng, Lyn Bartram and Diane Gromala

ABSTRACT: Motionscapes—the compositions of visual forms in motion— have often been used for the evocation of affects in recent interactive artifacts and environments. While the motionscape aesthetic can be informed by art theory and history, previous empirical work investigating the affective affordances of motionscapes brings new perspectives to the design language of motionscapes. The authors argue that motionscapes that are commonly employed in artistic contexts can be appropriated for the design space of human-computer interaction (HCI) as a rich modality for affective visualization. The authors propose an initial set of principles and guidelines for evoking affect through motionscapes in interactive and immersive environments.

The Living Canvas: Interactive Chloroplasts

by Margaret Dolinsky and Roger P. Hangarter

ABSTRACT: The Living Canvas is a science/art/educational exhibit of artwork created by using the positioning of chloroplasts in leaf cells as an artistic medium and using light to control that medium. The work reveals the process of chloroplast movements as they occur in leaf cells and how those subcellular changes affect the optical properties of whole leaves to maximize photosynthesis. The works are designed to stimulate a sense of intrigue and awe to enhance the viewers’ awareness of plant life and their relationships with plants in their environment.

Culturegraphy

by Kim Albrecht, Marian Dörk and Boris Müller

ABSTRACT: Culturegraphy visualizes the exchange of cultural information over time. Treating cultural works as nodes and influences as directed edges, the visualization of these cultural networks can provide new insights into the rich interconnections of cultural development such as that seen in movie references. All findings reported in this article were made through a process that involved network scientists, a media theorist and a sociologist; the role that visualization can play in bridging scientific communities was central to this work. The visualizations were in fact the result of a process to bring researchers from different disciplines together. While traditionally physicists have used different methods than those used by media theorists or sociologists, physicists are increasingly asking questions similar to those asked by media theorists or sociologists as they study the dynamics in networks. Visualization can serve as a common language that brings fields together and identifies the differences between them but that also has its own idiosyncratic views.


Leonardo Reviews

Reviews by Kieran Lyons, James Sweeting, Jan Baetens, Cecilia Wong, Amanda Egbe, Amy Ione, Rob Harle, Giovanna Costantini and Mike Leggett.


Leonardo Network News


Endnote

Realization in Arts and Sciences

by Lewis Pyenson


Supplemental Files Available

See <mitpressjournals.org/toc/leon/50/2> for supplemental files (e.g. video clips, sound files, additional images) related to articles in this issue.


About the Cover

after | image, copper nitrate production still, 2014. The image is the result of submerging black-and-white 35mm film in a copper nitrate solution. (© Grayson Cooke) See the article by Amanda Reichelt-Brushett and Grayson Cooke in this issue about their after | image project—an inquiry into notions of material memory and forgetting and how they intersect with archival preservation and dissolution.

 

Updated 7 April 2017