Leonardo Journal Volume 42, Issue 5, 2009

Bookmark and Share

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.

ONLINE ACCESS: Subscriptions to Leonardo include access to electronic versions of journal issues available on The MIT Press website.

ORDER: Subscriptions, individual issues and articles can also be ordered from The MIT Press.

PAST ISSUES: Browse tables of contents and abstracts of past issues of Leonardo and LMJ


Guest Editorial

An Information Sublime: Knowledge After the Postmodern Condition

by Robert Pepperell

Leonardo Gallery: Coded Cloth

Coded Cloth: A 21st Century Revolution in Art, Fashion and Design

curated by Melinda Rackham for Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) with work by Donna Franklin, High Tea with Mrs Woo, Elliat Rich, Alyce Santoro and Gina Matchitt.

Special Section: Space Art

Universal Cognitive Maps and the Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe

by Gullermo A. Lemarchand and Jon Lomberg

ABSTRACT: For almost 50 years the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) research program was pursued under the hypothesis of the universality of the physical laws in the cosmos. The authors call attention to some epistemological issues that make it necessary to seek other aesthetic, spiritual and ethical "cognitive universals." They propose the participation of a broader community of scholars from natural, social, artistic and humanistic disciplines to explore all the possible "universal cognitive maps" that eventually might favor the detection of extraterrestrial intelligent life.

Special Section: Lovely Weather: Art and Climate Change

Ground-breaking: Scientific and Sonic Perceptions of Environmental Change in the African Sahel

by W. Paul Adderley and Michael Young

ABSTRACT: Soils surrounding ancient settlements can hold evidence of the activities of past societies. To seek an understanding of how past societies have reacted and contributed to environmental change requires many data sources. The real-time audiovisual installation Ground-breaking problematizes the presentation of such data, gained in this case through the image-analysis of soil materials. These data are used to connote environmental events and consequent human responses. By combining these data with audiovisual synthesis and environmental recordings, the authors present a basis for developing conceptualizations of new locales undergoing environmental change; the visual and social narratives that are developed allow the art-science interface to be explored.

Architecture as Nature: A Biodigital Hypothesis

by Dennis Dollens

ABSTRACT: The author's 2005 Leonardo publication documented a biology-based procedure for generating experimental digital architecture. The text evolved out of Louis Sullivan's morphological lexicon and design process as articulated in A System of Architectural Ornament. The present article is rooted in that paper but here infused with theoretical ideas from Leibniz, Deleuze, Rajchman and Dawkins emphasizing biodesign and bioarchitecture's role as part of nature. In addition, new projects and digitally grown tree/truss experiments illustrate generative, digital-botanic designs integrating biological simulation and/or 3D parametric components inspired by nature.

Articles and Notes

Words, Images and Avatars: Explorations of Physical Space by Japanese Electronic Media Artists

by Jean M. Ippolito

ABSTRACT: While this article discusses the philosophical and even spiritual relevance of the cultural imprint of individual artists' work, especially for artists orginating in a unique environment such as that of Japan, its main purpose is to address how artists capture the character of physical place, whether consciously or subconsciously, when producing creative work in a virtual environment, and how recent artists are exploring their desire to produce tangible objects from their virtual creations.

Prayer Bead Gestures and Television: A Case Study on Cultural Inspirations for Interaction Art Education

by Oguzhan Özcan, Emre Akdemir, Mary Lou O'Neil and A. Ayça Ünluer

ABSTRACT: The authors, interactive design-art educators, recount their experience in using cultural inspirations as part of student exercises. The authors found that, although students proposed various design concepts drawing from the surrounding culture, very few moved beyond experience design art. In order to remedy this situation without giving explicit direction, the authors encouraged students to examine cultural habits and/or artifacts from their past or their current lives in the hope that this could generate innovative design ideas. One such project is the Prayer Bead Gesture Based TV Input Device.

Henri Matisse Drawing: An Eye-Hand Interaction Study Based on Archival Film

by John Tchalenko

ABSTRACT: Henri Mattise (1869-1954) attached fundamental importance to his drawings, in particular to the famous Themes et Variations series. These were accomplished following a precise method, starting with arduous life studies and evolving into brilliant spontaneous drawings. A 1946 archival documentary film showing the artist drawing four portraits of his grandson Gerard was shot in such a way as to allow the present author to undertake a detailed eye-hand interaction analysis of the drawing process. It was found that Matisse's temporal working rhythm and use of motor memory resulted in a more direct approach than that used by most painters. Taken together with remarks the artist made throughout his lifetime, these results provide a cognitive interpretation of his drawing method.

Music Neurotechnology for Sound Synthesis: Sound Synthesis with Spiking Neuronal Networks

by Eduardo R. Miranda and John Matthias

ABSTRACT: Music neurotechnology is a new research area emerging at the crossroads of neurobiology, engineering sciences and music. Examples of ongoing research into this new area include the development of brain-computer interfaces to control music systems and systems for automatic classification of sounds informed by the neurobiology of the human auditory apparatus. The authors introduce neurogranular sampling, a new sound synthesis technique based on spiking neuronal networks (SNN). They have implemented a neurogranular sampler using the SNN model developed by Izhikevich, which reproduces the spiking and bursting behavior of known types of cortical neurons. The neurogranular sampler works by taking short segments (or sound grains) from sound files and triggering them when any of the neurons fire.

Temporal Convergence in Shared Networked Narratives: The Case of Blast Theory's Day of the Figurines

by Steve Benford and Gabriella Giannachi

ABSTRACT: Day of the Figurines, developed by Blast Theory in collaboration with the Mixed Reality Laboratory at Nottingham University, is a massively multiplayer board game for up to a thousand participants. Players can interact remotely with other participants via SMS through their mobile phones from anywhere in the world. Following an analysis of this game's complex use of time, the authors introduce a framework structured around five layers of time, from authorial to perceived time, that will facilitate the management and investigation of networked narratives shared by mobile communities over prolonged periods of time.

Special Section: Leonardo Celebrates Leonardo da Vinci

A Film on Leonardo da Vinci by Luciano Emmer

by Michele Emmer

ABSTRACT: Leonardo da Vinci probably did not consider the possibility of realizing images with real movement. Many centuries later, however, the author's father, Luciano Emmer, had the idea of reinterpreting the images of the famous artist and scientist using the technique of cinema.

Leonardo Reviews


Re-inventing Fourier

by Jean-Julien Aucourturier

ABSTRACT: Artists asked to represent sound in a visual way mysteriously re-invented many of the concepts that preside over the mathematical signal transforms used in computer music. Their drawings adopted a systematic 2-dimensional structure and somtimes resembled time-frequency representations such as the Fourier transform. This makes us ponder here over the different criteria of what makes a "good" computer representation for the scientist, and what makes a "good" visual work for the artist.

The Monument Project (Si Monumentum Requiris Circumspice)

by Chris Meigh-Andrews

ABSTRACT: This paper describes the concepts, ideas, background and operations of The Monument Project (Si Monumentum Requiris Circumspice), a digital video installation that produces a continuous stream of weather-responsive panoramic images from the top of the Monument in the City of London. The work, which was commissioned by Julian Harrap Architects, was part of a £4.5 million refurbishment of the 17th-century landmark, designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Dr. Robert Hooke to commemorate the Great Fire of London, in 1666.

Emergence and Generative Art

by Gordon Monro

ABSTRACT: Emergence, the idea that in some sense more comes out of a system than was put in, is the holy grail of generative art. yet emergence is a slippery concept. Originating in the philosophy of science, it has been taken up in systems theory, cognitive science annd Artificial Life. As a consequence there are numerous definitions of emergence in the literature, but none well-suited to discussions of generative art. The paper reviews some existing definitions and proposes a new definition ofgenerative-art emergence.

Processpatching, Defining New Methods in aRt&D

by Anne Nighten

Keywords: Art and technology, collaborations, artistic methods, interface design, electronic art, engineering and computer science.

Leonardo Network News

Updated 23 September 2009