Leonardo Journal Volume 47, Issue 5, 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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Art-Science Is a Conceptual Blend

by Jack Ox

Leonardo Gallery

Sleuthing the Mind

Curator’s Introduction by Ellen K. Levy

The subset of art presented in this Leonardo Gallery has counterparts within the recent history of neuroscience, but with notable differences, involving emotion and political content. The gallery curator raises the question whether the varied and original presentations of situated context in such art could be valuable to neuroscientists.

GALLERY ARTISTS: Robert Beck; Jennifer Bornstein,; Suzanne Dikker and Matthias Oostrik; Greg Garvey; Nicole Ottiger; Jane Philbrick; Jill Scott

Artist’s Article

An Album in 1,000 Variations: Notes on the Composition and Distribution of a Parametric Musical Work

by Oliver Bown and Sam Britton

ABSTRACT:  The authors discuss the making and distribution of an audio album that was created using parametric techniques and released in 1,000 distinct variations, as a kind of limited edition for the age of digital distribution. After describing the project, they discuss how the project has affected their thinking about the production of electronic music, the process of musical distribution and the concepts of tracks, musical works and uniqueness.

ATRIA: A Sound Installation Exploring the Interface between Art, Science and Technology by Remapping Cardiovascular Development

Abstract:  ATRIA was an immersive sound installation that was the result of a dynamic, reflective dialogue between artist Deborah Robinson and biologist Simon Rundle during Robinson’s residency within the Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre, Plymouth University. The work drew on theoretical ideas in developmental biology and the sociology of science and practical, laboratory investigations in developmental physiology. Data from videos of snail embryos used to map physiological function during development using conventional (scientific) diagrams wereremapped” as sound projections into a three-dimensional building space, transposing scientific knowledge into a public experience as a “mutable mobile.”

Tangible User Interface Design for Climate Change Education in Interactive Installation Art

ABSTRACT: The authors discuss how tangible user interface objects can be important educational and entertainment tools in environmental education. The authors describe their interactive installation artwork Reefs on the Edge, which incorporates tangible user interface objects and combines environmental science and multiple art forms to explore coral reef ecosystems that are threatened by the effects of climate change. The authors/artists argue that the use of tangible user interface in an installation-art setting can help engage and inform the public about crucial environmental issues.

General Articles

“He” Had Me at Blue: Color Theory and Visual Art

by Barbara L. Miller

ABSTRACT:  Schopenhauer and Goethe argued that colors are dangerous: When philosophers speak of colors, they often begin to rant and rave. This essay addresses the confusing and treacherous history of color theory and perception. An overview of philosophers and scientists associated with developing theories leads into a discussion of contemporary perspectives: Taussig’s notion of a “combustible mixture” and “total bodily activity” and Massumi’s idea of an “ingressive activity” are used as turning points in a discussion of Roger Hiorns’s Seizure---an excruciatingly intoxicating installation.

What’s Wrong with an Art Fake? Cognitive and Emotional Variables Influenced by Authenticity Status of Artworks

by Stefanie H. Wolz and Claus-Christian Carbon

ABSTRACT: What’s wrong with art fakes? The authors tested effects of art “forgery” on aesthetic appreciation and the perceived quality of paintings in a multidimensional manner comprising cognitive and emotional variables: When naïve participants were exposed to replicas of works by renowned artists, information about the alleged authenticity status had a major effect on the perceived quality of the painting, and even on artist-associated values such as the artist’s talent. All these variables were negatively influenced when depictions were labeled as copies compared to identical ones labeled as originals. The authors’ findings show the importance of symbolic and personal values as modulators in art appreciation.

general note

Design and Superconducting Levitation

by Julien Bobroff, François Azambourg, Clémentine Chambon and Veronica Rodriguez

ABSTRACT: When specific metals are cooled to a very low temperature (typically colder than 20 degrees from absolute zero, about -200 degrees C), they become superconductive and can make magnets levitate. This paper reports on a collaboration between physicists and designers to exploit this quantum levitation. The main goal of this collaboration was to create artistic displays, experiments and videos to engage a large public with fundamental physics. Beyond its public success, this “SupraDesign” project enabled an encounter between two communities: researchers in physics and designers. The collaboration revealed unexpected similarities in working methods, such as testing through experimentation, engaging in teamwork and making use of creativity in a constraining environment.

Historical Perspective

The Tragedy of Radical Subjectivity: From Radical Software to Proprietary Subjects

ABSTRACT:  Considering the aestheticization of post--World War II research in cybernetics as part of a cultural shift in art practices and human and machine subjectivities, the author brings these spheres together by analyzing encounters between the experimental artists and researchers who wrote for and edited Radical Software in the early 1970s, including Harry A. Wilmer, Gregory Bateson and Paul Ryan. She then connects their experimental uses of video feedback (a central tenet of cybernetics) to new and increasingly pervasive human-machine subjectivities.

Special Section of Leonardo Transactions: Balance-Unbalance

Papers by Ricardo Dal Farra; Leah Barclay and Susan Davis; Nina Czegledy; Ricardo Dal Farra and Pablo Suarez; Michel van Dartel and Anne Nigten; Leah Barclay; Krista Caballero and Frank Ekeberg; Mónica Mendes, Pedro Ângelo and Nuno Correia; Daniela Di Maro, Andrea Bene, Diego Bernini, Simone Bonetti, Giorgio De Michelis, Francesco Tisato and Gianluca Colombo; Andrea Polli; Lisa Chandler, Claudia Baldwin and Megan Marks; Julie Arrighi and Grady Walker; Roslyn Taplin; Nicolas J. Bullot; Ian Clothier


Reviews by Jan Baetens, Giovanna L. Costantini, George Gessert, Allan Graubard, Rob Harle, Amy Ione, Mike Leggett, Kieran Lyons

Leonardo Network News

Edited by Maryam Shamoul


Paula Findlen: Seeking a Job, Renaissance Style, with commentary by David Carrier


Updated 28 Septemer 2014