Leonardo Journal Volume 47, Issue 2, 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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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Editorial

Algorithmic Art

by Frieder Nake


Artist’s Article

The Immortalisation of Billy Apple®: An Art-Science Collaboration

by Craig James Hilton

ABSTRACT: In The Immortalisation of Billy Apple®, Billy Apple® is simultaneously a subject of art and of scientific endeavor. This project has resulted in the first biological tissue made available for artists and the first biological tissue for science research made available by an artist as art. It has long been understood that Homo sapiens are a selective force of nature. Here the tissue and genetic information survive artistic and scientific natural selection. The Immortalisation of Billy Apple® provides an ongoing opportunity for cultural engagement with biological technology. This paper poses the question: Can genuine science and art output emerge from collaboration? As the author explores this question, other questions emerge around the scope of art in the realm of science and the roles of collaborators.


General Articles

Imagery and Astronomy: Visual Antecedents Informing Non-Reproductive Depictions of the Orion Nebula

by Shana Cooperstein

ABSTRACT: The author analyzes the visual similarities between early astronomy images and advanced practices such as produced by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). While 19th-century images generally were supposed to match what an observer could see if s/he were standing behind the telescope, HST public outreach images are not based on any such match, yet such images resemble photographs that do aim to represent what we see. This paper attempts to explain the insistence on producing images that appear to represent visible phenomena. Emphasizing the ways in which non-reproductive photographs deploy conventions that were originally utilized in reproductive photography, the paper seeks to add to the existing literature concerning the non-reproductive capacities of photography.

Ten Questions Concerning Generative Computer Art

by Jon McCormack, Oliver Bown, Alan Dorin, Jonathan McCabe, Gordon Monro and Mitchell Whitelaw

ABSTRACT: In this paper the authors pose 10 questions they consider the most important for understanding generative computer art. For each question, the authors briefly discuss its implications and suggest how it might form the basis for further discussion.

Art as a Stimulus for Structural DNA Nanotechnology

by Nadrian C. Seeman

ABSTRACT: The linear, double-helical structure of DNA was initially recognized as beautiful, as well as being informative about the mechanism of heredity. Recently, branched DNA molecules have been used to produce nanoscale objects, crystals and machines, all the products of a new field: structural DNA nanotechnology. The inspiration for much of this work has been art, starting from the notion that Escher’s woodcut Depth was analogous to a molecular crystal of branched DNA. The article describes how connecting branched molecules together with the “sticky ends” used by genetic engineers has led to 3D crystals, and how Dalí’s Butterfly Landscape illuminates the relationship between wrappings of DNA and the crossings in knots or links. Disparate aesthetic patterns are related to branched DNA motifs and constructions.


Historical Perspective

The Logic of Color: Theory and Graphics in Christine Ladd-Franklin’s Explanation of Color Vision

by Jeremy Kargon

ABSTRACT: In the years after 1870, two theories of color vision vied for primacy: the “trichromatic” theory and a four-color theory, also known as an “opponent” theory of color vision. Among scientists who participated in this debate, mathematician Christine Ladd-Franklin (1847–-1930) made special use of graphics as a rhetorical template for reasoning and explanation. Her later work included figures modeled upon novel graphic representations of logical relationships to describe chemical reactions fundamental to visual processes. These and other illustrations demonstrate, in retrospect, how innovation in graphic notation can underlie shifts in the practice and perception of science.


THEORETICAL Perspective

Dispositional Realism and the Specificity of Digital Media

by Ian Verstegen

ABSTRACT: Discussions of the specificity of digital media are in a state of fruitful flux. After the dismissal of mediality in the utopian glow of media convergence, new theoretical developments allow us to reconceive this idea. Using the critical realist precept that properties in the world have real dispositions or powers, the author expands this system of thought to provide a framework with which to understand digital media. This is presented to add to and help direct the current debates.


Special Section of Leonardo Transactions: 3rd Art and Science International Exhibition and Symposium, Beijing, 2012

Embodiment, Interaction and Experience: Aesthetic Trends in Interactive Media Arts

by Lu Xiaobo and Liu Yuelin

ABSTRACT:The relationship between technology and art has always been an important issue in the field of art. With the application of information technology in interactive media arts, the traditional aesthetic theories can no longer fully interpret an emerging morphology of artistic styles. The unification of interaction, experience and aesthetics based on the “indwelling” idea of tacit knowledge theory and embodiment theory of phenomenology may be seen as a total framework for analyzing interaction aesthetics from three dimensions: information, space and time, which embodies three important features: full sensory experience, dynamics and psychosomatic oneness.

Ecological Outlook in Chinese Classical Design: From “Union of Heaven and Man” to “Following Natural Rules of Heaven”

by Li Yanzu

ABSTRACT: Originating from human thinking on the relation between man and nature, the ecological design outlook is a new concept that arose in recent years with great significance for the sustainable development of design. In fact, the same concept has always been running through Chinese classical design notions. From the ages when the principle that "in compliance with the rules under heaven, things are created for human use" dominated design notions, to the rise and prevalence of the later principle of "following natural rules of heaven", ancient Chinese had always dealt prudently with the relations among human, nature and zao wu (creation), which benefits the contemporary ecological design.

Information-Based Development Trend of Building Skin Design

by Liang Feng et al.

ABSTRACT: From the perspective of Information design science, this thesis discusses the fact that in the transition of the entire society toward informatization, building skins have unprecedentedly picked up more complex functions and borne more social responsibilities, as shown in the following aspects:  As the interaction between outdoor advertising media and humans and environment, as the media that link up indoor and outdoor information and as the media for indoor householders to express their needs, the infiltration of being digital into the architectural field has made building skins the interface for human-computer interaction in a broad sense. Accordingly, in addition to professional skills, architectural designers must keep on learning the knowledge and methods of digital interactive design and develop the awareness of studying inhabitants’ behaviors. Architectural design has become an integration process of massive information in a way that is different from traditional design ideas. Therefore, designers need to look for more appropriate building skin design methods in this new period of architectural design.

Fusion of Art and Technology in Professional Cycling Sportswear Design

by Jie Luo et al.

ABSTRACT: Cycling sportswear that meets the multiple functional requirements of thermal comfort, biomechanical protection and aesthetics is highly demanded by cyclists. These multiple functional requirements lead to innovations in cycling sportswear design based on multi-disciplinary knowledge integration and fusion of art and technology. A theoretical model for cycling sportswear design is developed in this paper to model the design process by systematically integrating different knowledge and identifying the relationships between them. This model demonstrates that the design innovation of cycling sportswear is the fusion of aesthetic design with thermal and biomechanical functional design, which meets cyclists’ demand for wearing comfort, relief of muscle fatigue and beautiful appearance.

Searching for Authenticity in Fashion Design and Art Collaboration (FDAC)

by Yuli Bai et al.

ABSTRACT: This paper explores theoretical issues around authenticity in fashion design and art collaboration (FDAC). The aim is to understand the marketer’s actual momentum and cultural properties of this phenomenon. Based on multiple case studies and interview surveys, this research identified that: FDAC is in widespread use as a way of above commerce; additionally, it bridges a gap between authenticity and fashion (especially youth fashion), while it represents the value of being free, true to the self and having passion for life. It is also heavily linked with creative youth culture and fashionisation featuring fun, excitation and hedonism.

Ancient Chinese Thought of Character Formation & Modern Logo Design

by Dai Wusan

ABSTRACT: The pictograph is the core of ancient Chinese characters. In recent years, Chinese characters, especially the ancient oracle-bone inscriptions and seal characters, are often adopted in logo design in China. This article analyzes the concise thought adopted in ancient character-creating, such as “highlighting characteristics”, “simplifying”, and “less for more”, and probes into the application of such ancient thought with modern design cases, in an attempt to establish evaluation standards for the integration of culture and art.


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Updated 7 April 2014