Leonardo Journal Volume 46, Issue 5, 2013

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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In Praise of Hybridity: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Frank J. Malina

by Roger Malina

Artists’ Articles

The Complexion of Two Bodies. Part One: Nuance Drawn Out

by Janine Breaker

ABSTRACT: Motion capture, eye-tracking and digital image capture technologies are rapidly replacing traditional life drawing practice. We are led to believe that such technologies provide high-quality movement-analysis resources, yet these new tools are only in the early developmental stages. The author employed cutting-edge movement-analysis technologies and traditional drawing practice to create a series of “transparent” key-frame drawings based on Muybridge-style movement sequences, depicting specificity of the skeleton and musculature at key anatomical landmarks as though seen through the skin to stimulate perception of both movement and structure simultaneously.

Soft Moon: Exploring Matter and Mutability in Narratives and Histories of the Earth-Moon System

by Jane Grant

ABSTRACT: Theories of the formation of the Earth-Moon system allow us to understand not only our historical relationship to science and observation but also how we have perceived ourselves in the context of the vastness of the universe. In this paper the author discusses her work Soft Moon---a computer-generated film that explores the mutual attraction of two planetary spheres, with reference to the story of the same name and other works by Italo Calvino and by Stanislaw Lem. The development of the film is inter-contextualized with a series of ancient and modern historical theories of the formation of the Earth-Moon system.

Artists’ Note

Light Perfume: A Fashion Accessory for Synchronization of Nonverbal Communication

by Yongsoon Choi, Rahul Parsani, Xavier Roman, Anshul Vikram Pandey and Adrian David Cheok

ABSTRACT: People mirror each other’s body language as a way of bonding, seeking acceptance and creating rapport. Light Perfume is an interactive wearable system designed in the shape of a bangle that helps the wearer mirror their partner through lighting and olfactory cues. During a conversation, the Light Perfume system on each person’s wrist uses multiple inputs from the surrounding environment to generate a synchronized output expression. This consists of a color and blinking frequency of light along with a perfume fragrance that is stimulated simultaneously from each system. The Light Perfume system was designed to foster social interactions and make people feel more empathy towards each other.

General Articles

Re-Visioning Reality: Quantum Superposition in Visual Art

by Lynden Stone

ABSTRACT: The counterintuitive phenomenon of quantum superposition requires a radical review of our ideas of reality. The author suggests that translations of quantum concepts into visual art may assist in provoking such a revision. This essay first introduces the concept of quantum superposition and points out its divergence from conventional perceptions of reality. The author then discusses how visual art might provide insight into quantum superposition. Finally she discusses the visual representation of quantum superposition by contemporary artists Jonathon Keats, Julian Voss-Andreae, Antony Gormley and Daniel Crooks; the problematic and paradoxical nature of such representations; and how these works might provoke a revision of our views of physical reality.

Toward the Use of Chua’s Circuit in Education, Art and Interdisciplinary Research: Some Implementation and Opportunities

by Francesca Bertacchini et al.

ABSTRACT: This paper considers the merging of Chaos with art, including such forms as digital images, sounds and music, based on dynamic systems derived from Chua’s Circuit and using appropriate coding methods. Design elements, logos, musical instruments, software environments, multimedia theater performances and virtual museums with strange attractors have also been realized. In the field of education, the paper introduces environments that have foreseen the virtual manipulation of patterns derived from Chua’s Circuit, which has fostered a deeper understanding of the evolution of dynamic systems through computer simulation.

Inseparable Impulses: The Science and Aesthetics of Ernst Haeckl and Charley Harper

by Megan K. Halpern and Hannah Star Rogers

ABSTRACT: This article examines the role of aesthetics in scientific argument by analyzing two images. The first, from Ernst Haeckel’s Art Forms in Nature (1904), depicts 15 bats evenly spaced on a white field. The second, Charley Harper’s Darwin’s Finches (1961), shows 13 finches, similarly displayed. Although these two images may at first appear to have little in common, they both present a specific interpretation of Darwin’s theories using visual language. This article argues that the act of representation and scientific theory are inextricably intertwined.

Telling Stories within Immersive Virtual Environments

by Joan Llobera, Kristopher J. Blom and Mel Slater

ABSTRACT: Portraying an unfolding story within an immersive virtual environment (IVE) is difficult: In an IVE, participants can pay attention to and interact with whatever they choose within the scene. Moreover, the decisions taken by virtual characters must appear consistent with their personalities and motivations but also take into account the human participants’ actions, whenever relevant. Finally, the results of the interactions should satisfy a pre-established plot. In this article, the authors introduce a new two-part approach that addresses the dilemma regarding freedom of action and narrative.

General Note

Hypertext Revisited

by Jan Baetens and Fred Truyen

ABSTRACT: This article proposes a new approach to literary hypertext, which foregrounds the notion of interrupting rather than that of linking. It also claims that, given the dialectic relationship of literature in print and digital-born literature, it may be useful to reread contemporary hypertext in light of a specific type of literature in print that equally foregrounds aspects of segmentation and discontinuity: serialized literature (i.e. texts published in installment form). Finally, it discusses the shift from spatial form to temporal form in postmodern writing as well as the basic difference between segment and fragment.



by John Aycock

ABSTRACT: TransforMitt is a Dada art project that makes a statement about political campaigning using a computerized parody of U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s messages (tweets) on Twitter. The author describes the method used to generate the parody, issues that arose, how and why a human is still required, and whether Twitter is an effective medium.


by Lynn Cazabon

ABSTRACT: Junkspace is a time- and location-sensitive animation and corresponding mobile application that superimposes two forms of waste, one earth-bound (electronic waste) and the other celestial (orbital debris), and three different forms of space: outer space, physical space and virtual space. Using custom software, publicly available NORAD orbital debris tracking data and the GPS coordinates of the exhibition venue, the movement of animated e-waste on screen aligns with the orbital path of actual pieces of debris in orbit above the user’s location.

Tele Echo Tube

by Hill Hiroki Kobayashi

ABSTRACT: Tele Echo Tube (TET) is a speaking tube installation that allows acoustic interaction with a deep mountain echo through the slightly vibrating lampshade-like interface. TET allows users to interact with the mountain echo in real time through an augmented echo sounding experience with the vibration over satellite data network. This novel interactive system can create an imaginable presence of a mythological creature in undeveloped natural locations beyond our cultural and imaginable boundaries.

Global eMuseum System (GEMS): Building an International Sense of Collaborative Community History

by Elspeth McKay

ABSTRACT: A virtual global eMuseum system,(GEMS) is a digital knowledge sharing system, connecting young children and community elders through a ubiquitous design. Respecting the values and requirements of the broadest community possible, GEMS follows a traditional practice where much of what we learn is handed down by previous generations in a direct familial fashion through stories, games and pictures. Now the Internet escalates opportunities to pass on our folk history and traditions. Increasing access to generational wisdom in this fashion provides a living testimony of who we are. This project is using GEMS to implement a virtual interactive community history kiosk.

Give Me Gestalt! Preference for Cubist Artworks Revealing High Detectability of Objects

by Claudia Muth, Robert Pepperell and Claus-Christian Carbon

ABSTRACT: In cubist paintings by Picasso, Braque and Gris it is possible to detect everyday objects like guitars, bottles or jugs, although they are often difficult to decipher. In this art-science collaborative study the authors found that participants without expertise in cubism appreciated cubist artworks more if they were able to detect concealed objects in them. The finding of this strong correlation between detectability and preference offers wide implications for art history and human cognition as it points to a mechanism that allows us to derive pleasure from searching for and finding meaningful patterns.

Mapping Interstitial Urban Spaces through Performing the City

by Chengzhi Peng and Adam Park

ABSTRACT: Abstract: The project investigates how public perception of interstitial urban spaces could be elicited and recorded through Performing the City – participatory ‘walkabout’ performance practices produced and staged for specific urban sites. Interstitial urban spaces are ‘forgotten’ underused spaces awaiting public re-imagination and interventions. Following an ethnographic study of the UK theatre company Slung Low’s Mapping the City production in May 2011, the authors reflect on how the research propositions should be refined to better capture the transient transformative potential of spatial urban mapping through performing the city.

From the Distant Past

by Tim Otto Roth, Ken Sembach, Antonella Nota and Benjamin Staude

ABSTRACT: In collaboration with the Space Telescope Science Institute, the German artist Tim Otto Roth presented astronomical spectra as a core component of art exhibits in Venice, Baltimore, and New York City. "From the Distant Past" is not only a light based art and science project in public space about the origins of the universe, it is also an artistic reflection on the phenomenon of color by the means of concept art using laser light as a minimalist tool of graphical notation.

Concepts, Water and Reflections on Practice

by Jen Seevinck

ABSTRACT: This paper discusses the nature of the conceptual structure in art practice, by example. It draws on insights gained from a practice based research (PBR) approach to making art. The PBR methods used include Reflective Practice and are briefly described. They have informed an understanding of the conceptual structure as an instance of problem framing. This is demonstrated by two creative examples, taken from two interactive artworks. These were informed by an evolving conceptual structure concerned with water. Keywords: practice, Reflective Practice, practice based research, conceptual structure, framework, interactive art, interaction design, color.

Digital Mandala: The Post-Virtual as Meditation of Impermanence or a New Reality

by Joonsung Yoon, Kwanho Song and Insub Kim

ABSTRACT: This paper proposes the post-virtual as the second phase of media art. The post-virtual is an entity in reality from the virtual, in which the output of media artworks follow the physical condition based on physical computing. Digital Mandala captures the viewer’s face, processes the image, draws it in rough pixels made of black colored sand, and brushes it out soon. As an ephemeral repatriation of the virtual, the post-virtual is pronounced in the paper as a new reality in our technological scene

Leonardo Reviews

Reviews by Jan Baetens, John F. Barber, Roy R. Behrens, Edith Doove, Dene Grigar, Rob Harle, Amy Ione, Agnieszka Mlicka, Brian Reffin Smith and Flutur Troshani

Leonardo Network News

Updated 1 October 2013