The Leonardo Awards Program: Award Recipients
Leonardo/ISAST, through its Awards Program, recognizes artists and organizations involved in the use of new media in contemporary artistic expression. Artists and organizations are nominated by Leonardo/ISAST Associate Members. Since the inception of the Awards Program, the following award recipients have been named:
Mary McMahon and Jason Brown (U.S.A.) are 2018 recipients of the Leonardo Pioneers Award for their significant contributions to the success of the LABS (Leonardo ABstracts Service) program. LABS is an evolving, comprehensive database of thesis abstracts (PhD, Masters and MFA) on topics at the intersection of the arts, sciences and technology. This English-language database is hosted by Pomona College (Claremont, CA) and is part of the Leonardo Educators and Students program. For more information, read the announcement of this 2018 Pioneer Award.
Conor McGarrigle (Ireland/U.S.A.) is the 2014 recipient of the Leonardo Award for Excellence for his article “Augmented Resistance: The Possibilities for AR and Data Driven Art” (LEA 19, No. 1). McGarrigle’s work is concerned with the integration of location-aware technologies into the everyday and the spatial implications of ubiquitous data collection regimes. His practice is characterized by digitally mediated urban interventions, with projects ranging from situationist dérives to augmented reality mappings of the geography of the Irish financial collapse. Read his LEA article.
Richard Wirth (U.S.A.) is the recipient of the Fall 2014 Leonardo Fellowship. Wirth is a Master’s candidate in the Arts and Technology program at the University of Texas at Dallas. Richard’s fellowship was designed around his research of MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) as interactive storytelling environments, comparing the function of secondary oral media across different modes of social interaction through the lens of video game ethnography.
Michael Bullock (U.S.A.) received the second Leonardo-EMS Award for Excellence in 2008 for his paper "Noise to Signal: Consumer electronics and the rise of underground electro-acoustic scenes." Bullock is an academic research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY). He also performs experimental music with bass and electronics. Read the announcement of the 2008 Leonardo-EMS Award for Excellence and the abstract of his paper.
criticalartware (U.S.A.) received the first Leonardo-EMS Award for Excellence in 2006 for their paper "likn: A Flexible Platform for Information and Metadata Exchange". criticalartware (Ben Syverson, Jon Cates, Blithe Riley, Christian Ryan and Jon Satrom) is a collaborative art project that emerged in 2002 as a means to connect certain threads of discussion surrounding 1960s and 1970s video art to present-day new-media practice. criticalartware develops new media discourse by facilitating interviews with key players, participants and those involved in formative early moments of code/concept-based experimental media art/artware, conversations related to these interviews and shared cultural resources connecting these conversations. Read the announcement of the 2006 Leonardo-EMS Award for Excellence and their winning paper.
Abraham Palatnik (Brazil), is the recipient of the 2005 Frank J. Malina Leonardo Lifetime Achievement Award announcement. For over a half century, pioneering Brazilian artist Palatnik has been working at the forefront of "new media," creating a comprehensive body of work inspired by his broad-reaching interests in the arts, sciences and technology. Over the years, Palatnik has continually pushed the limits of innovation, beginning with his motorized light and color machines (termed "cinechromatic" machines by Brazilian critic and theorist Mario Pedrosa) and continuing through many experiments with kinetic art, as well as the creation of several patented inventions. For more information please see the 2005 Frank J. Malina Leonardo Lifetime Achievement Award announcement.
Abdel Ghany Kenawy and Amal Kenawy (Egypt), are the recipients of the 2005 Leonardo Global Crossings Award. The Kenawys are a brother-sister team who have been collaborating on large-scale installations since 1997. These works, whether tower-like structures containing glass balls rising up towards the ceiling or tunnels leading to a block of frozen ice in a room surrounded by chiffon, demonstrate that there is no "natural" barrier between the worlds of art and science. The Kewanys’ unique collaboration is built partially upon Abdel Ghany's background in the physical sciences and Amal's background in filmmaking, yet their individual efforts cannot be so neatly defined as singularly "scientific" or "artistic." Committed to their creative processes, they work very closely together on every aspect of their projects from conceptualization and structural design to production and execution in their workshop. Characteristic of all their projects is the power of texture and image, and sensorial play with surfaces between spaces (loosening up the inside/outside polarity)—whether it is a "textured" video, the texture of light projected on a triple screen of chiffon, the texture of human hair bows on a pair of wax legs in a display case, or the textures (acoustic and visual) of a beating heart on which a pair of lace gloved hands is sewing a white rose appliqué. For more information, please see the 2005 Leonardo Global Crossings Award announcement.
Steve Mann (Canada) is the recipient of the 2004 Leonardo Award for Excellence. In his winning article, the author presents "Existential Technology" as a new category of in(ter)ventions and as a new theoretical framework for understanding privacy and identity. Mann has written more than 200 research publications and has been the keynote speaker at numerous industry symposia and conferences. His work has been shown in museums around the world, including the Smithsonian Institute, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Triennale di Milano and the San Francisco Art Institute. He received a Ph.D. from MIT in 1997 and is now a faculty member at the University of Toronto. Read his Leonardo article.
Critical Art Ensemble (U.S.A.) are the recipients of a special 2004 Leonardo new Horizons Award for Innovation in recognition of their artistic work in fields such as biotechnology, robotics and tactical media. Their performances and installations have reached viewers around the world and have broken new ground in the often controversial area of new technologies. The Leonardo/ISAST Governing Board voted to give CAE this special award to affirm the principle that artists should engage emerging technologies and be willing to take critical stances that may be at odds with those of the mainstream. Freedom of artistic expression and research form a part of the foundation of an open society. For more information on Critical Art Ensemble, please visit http://www.critical-art.net.
Arthur Elsenaar and Remko Scha (The Netherlands) were the recipients of the 2003 Leonardo Award for Excellence for their article "Electric Body Manipulation as Performance Art: A Historical Perspective," published in Leonardo Music Journal 12. Arthur Elsenaar is an artist and electrical engineer who ran his own pirate radio station and built the transmitters for many illegal radio and television stations throughout the Netherlands. Elsenaar’s recent work employs the human face as a computer-controlled display device. Remko Scha is an artist, DJ, and computational linguist. He has built an automatic electric guitar band ("The Machines"), designed an image generation algorithm ("Artificial"), and developed a theory about language-processing ("Data-Oriented Parsing"). Arthur Elsenaar and Remko Scha have jointly developed a series of automatic performance pieces and video installations that involve computer-controlled facial expression, algorithmic music, and synthetic speech. These works have been presented at scientific conferences, theatre festivals, and art exhibitions throughout Europe and the United States. Elsenaar and Scha also explore the use of automatic radio stations as a medium for computer art. Read their Leonardo article.
Ewen Chardronett (France) is the recipient of the Leonardo-@rt Outsiders 2003 New Horizons Award for his installation OPEN SKY, which utilizes the Soviet-era radio-telescope RT32. OPEN SKY was created in the context of the ongoing research projects of the Acoustic Space Lab collective. The RT32 is a 32-meter former espionage antenna in Latvia that has been converted for use in radio-astronomy and fundamental science. Since 2001, artists, radio amateurs, and scientists have worked together to explore the tactical and artistic possibilities of the dish. For more information, go to http://acoustic.space.re-lab.net/
Bill Seaman (U.S.A.) was the recipient of the 2002 Leonardo Award for Excellence for his article "OULIPO | VS | Recombinant Poetics"(Leonardo, Vol. 35, No. 5, 2001). Seaman's work explores text, image and sound relationships through virtual reality, video, computer-controlled video disc, CD-ROM, photography and studio-based audio compositions. He is a self-taught composer and musician, and he completed his doctoral studies at CAiiA (Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive Arts), University ofWales, U.K. His works have been included in numerous international festivals and exhibitions. Read his Leonardo article.
Jose Carlos Casado and Harkaitz Cano (U.S.A.) were recipients of the 2001 Leonardo Award for Excellence for their article "'Reality,' Artificial Reproduction, and Sexuality" (Leonardo 33, No. 5 (2000). Jose Carlos Casado is a multimedia artist currently working in New York. His work has been included in individual and group exhibitions in several cities in Spain, Italy, Finland, Britain and the U.S. His work has been awarded with several prizes, grants, and honorable mentions. Harkaitz Cano is a novelist and a scriptwriter for radio and television. He also writes for several newspapers. Read abstract of their article
Gregory Barsamian (U.S.A.) was a co-recipient of the Leonardo New Horizons Award in 2000. Barsamian creates dream-based animated sculptures—zoetrope-like machines that produce three-dimensional animations. In these works, he fashions narratives composed of images from the unconscious and presents them on spinning armatures in a darkened space. His most recent traveling exhibition, Innuendo Non Troppo, was shown in Tokyo and throughout the United States. He lives and works in New York. More information.
Graham Harwood (U.K.) was a co-recipient of the Leonardo New Horizons Award in 2000. Harwood is a member of the technological media group Mongrel, which focuses on collaborative, socially engaged products—art, software and workshops. Harwood started out in the 1980s working with publications on such topics as working-class culture and new media in culture and society, moving on to studies and work in programming and education. Most recently he was commissioned by the Tate Gallery, London, to produce an exploration of the Tate collection, the history of Millbank and its prison and a "reversioning" of the Tate's website. Harwood lives and works in London. More information.
Hubert Duprat and Christian Besson (France) are the recipients of the 1999 Leonardo Award for Excellence for their article "The Wonderful Caddis Worm: Sculptural Work in Collaboration with Trichoptera" (Leonardo 31, No. 3, 1998) on Duprat's work with insects to create "sculptures." By removing the aquatic caddis fly larvae from their natural habitat and providing them with precious materials, Duprat prompts the larvae to manufacture cases that resemble jeweler's creations. The article covers Duprat's artistic processes and background, along with discussions relating to of information theory, art and biology, history and animal behavior. Duprat, an artist who lives and works in Claret, Hérault, France, works with a variety of media and experiments. Christian Besson, a philosopher and art critic, teaches semiotics at the Université de Bourgogne.
La Cité des arts et des nouvelles technologies de Montréal (Canada) is the recipient of the 1998 Makepeace Tsao Leonardo Award in recognition of its work in increasing public awareness of art forms involving science and technology. La Cité, founded and directed by Ginette Major and Hervé Fischer, has provided a forum for a wide range of artists using new technologies and has helped establish new media as viable forms of artistic expression. In their annual Images du Futur exhibitions held from 1985 through 1996, as well as through their current work on-line, La Cité has shown a provocative international selection of diverse types of technology-enhanced art, ranging from kinetic sculpture to interactive multimedia and electronic art. La Cité's projects include an international science film festival focusing on the challenges of science and technology in the new millennium. Through its Images du Futur exhibitions, which were held annually from 1985 through 1996, La Cité des arts et des nouvelles technologies de Montréal has provided a forum for a wide range of artists using new technologies and has helped establish new media as viable forms of artistic expression. La Cité's efforts are representative of the important work being done by many such small institutions. Both in their exhibitions and on their Web site, La Cité has shown a provocative, international selection of diverse types of technology-enhanced art—ranging from kinetic sculpture to interactive multimedia and electronic art—and encouraging interactivity while transcending international borders. La Cité's Electronic Café (part of a gallery space in Old Montreal) and their Cyberworld (a permanent exhibition inaugurated in 1997) help visitors learn more about the Internet and multimedia. Other ongoing projects include the Multimedia International Market, an international showcase of multimedia technology, and the Telescience Festival, an international scientific film festival focusing on the challenges of science and technology in the new millenium. For more information about current and future activities of La Cité, contact La Cité des arts et des nouvelles technologies de Montréal, 85, rue St-Paul ouest (angle St-Sulpice), Vieux-Montréal, Canada. Web site: http://interresa.ca/act/cda/. See article by Fischer.
Eduardo Kac (U.S.A.), Brazilian artist, editor and author based in the United States, was the 1998 recipient of the Leonardo Award for Excellence for both his writings in the journal and his role as guest editor of the Leonardo Special Project "A Radical Intervention: The Brazilian Contribution to the International Electronic Art Movement. His writings in the journal include "Ornitorrinco and Rara Avis: Telepresence Art on the Internet," published in Leonardo 29, No. 5 (1996) p. 389. Special Project articles published in Leonardo under his guidance include: Mario Ramiro, "Between Form and Force: Connecting Architectonic, Telematic and Thermal Spaces," Leonardo 31, No. 4 (1998); Simone Osthoff, "Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticia: A Legacy of Interactivity and Participation for a Telematic Future," Leonardo 30, No. 4 (1997); Carlos Fadon Vicente, "Evanescent Realities: Works and Ideas on Electronic Art," Leonardo 30, No. 3 (1997); Flo Menezes, "To Be and Not To Be: Aspects of the Interaction between Instrumental and Electronic Compositional Methods," Leonardo Music Journal 7 (1997). See the " Radical Intervention" special project articles.
Karen O'Rourke (France), the 1997 recipient of the Leonardo Award for Excellence in the journal Leonardo, is an American artist who has been living in Paris for a number of years. She teaches at the Université de Paris I (Pantheon-Sorbonne), where she is "Maitre de conferences" in art and communication and "Directeur adjoint" de Centre d'etudes et de recherches en Arts Plastiques (CERAP). O'Rourke's award-winning article was entitled "Paris Reseau" and was published in Leonardo 30, No. 1 (1996). Since the publication of her article in Leonardo, O'Rourke, along with several other members of the art group Art-Reseaux, has made an exhibition version of Paris Reseau, which has been shown in the Musuem of Contemporary Art, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Kitsou Dubois (France), a French choreographer who conducts research on movement and weightlessness, was awarded the Leonardo New Horizons Award for Innovation in 1995. In her Leonardo article "Dance and Weightlessness: Dancers' Training and Adaptation Problems in Microgravity," published that year, she addressed the prevention of space sickness in astronauts by relating the problem to dancers' perceptions of space and time. Dubois developed a training program based on dance techniques to improve the physical consciousness of astronaut that is intended to complement astronauts' medical programs in space.
Alvin Curran (U.S.A.), composer and musician, received the Leonardo Award for Excellence in 1995 for his article "Music from the Center of the Earth: Three Large-Scale Sound Installations," Leonardo Music Journal Vol. 4 (1994).
George Gessert (U.S.A.), the 1992 recipient of the Leonardo Award for Excellence in the journal Leonardo, is an American artist who has raised the fusion of artmaking with science and technology to a new height. Gessert raises ethical and moral issues in his conceptual artwork involving nuclear weaponry, ecology and genetic engineering. His three award-winning articles are "Notes toward a Radioactive Art" (Leonardo 25, No. 1, 1992), in which he discusses his proposals for artworks made of discarded nuclear weaponry; "Flowers of Human Presence: Effects of Esthetic Values on the Evolution of Ornamental Plants" (Leonardo 26, No. 1, 1993), in which he discusses the influence of plant breeders on the environment; and "Notes on Genetic Art" (Leonardo 26, No. 3, 1993), in which he discusses his and other artists' works involving DNA. He has exhibited extensively in the United States and Canada and was a recipient of the New Langton Arts Interdisciplinary Grant in 1990. He is also a graphic artist for the University of Oregon and was previously an art editor for Northwest Review.
I Wayan Sadra (Indonesia), an innovative young composer from Indonesia, is the 1991 recipient of the Leonardo New Horizons for Innovation Award. Sadra combines disparate musical elements from widely ranging musical traditions, as is evident in his commissioned piece featured in the premier of Leonardo Music Journal (1, No. 1, 1991). He is well-known for his multimedia performances, which include pieces dealing with the interaction of music and the physical senses. Sadra composes instrumental music as well as music for dance and theater, and is a regular contributor to several Indonesian newspapers, writing reviews and commentary on the relationship between the artist and society. In his writing and teaching, he shows a concern for the social context of performance as well as the musical content. He is interested in musical technology and the introduction of visual elements into musical performances. Embracing a wide range of conceptual and technological approaches to music and creativity, Sadra plays an active part in the international community of experimental artists.
Christian Schiess (U.S.A.), sculptor, received the 1990 Leonardo New Horizons for Innovation Award for his extension of the environments in which neon can be used as a medium. He has primarily been concerned with luminism and kineticism in his work. Schiess developed frame technology for using neon underwater. He further expanded neon as a medium by creating "light suits" custom fitted to dancers, who were then able to express the kinetic qualities of light. Through a series of time-lapse videos, Schiess has experimented with the rhythm and movement of kinetic neon with dramatic results. He has also constructed a completely portable neon fabrication system on wheels that allows site-specific use. He has embarked on three different projects: the Fire/Water Series studies the four archaic elements of earth, air, fire and water, attempting to achieve a harmonious interaction between man-made fire and the natural environment; the Ignus Series explores the combination of Fire/Air elements by utilizing luminous, inflated, colored vinyl sculptures that hold neon light elements and are passively kinetic to gentle air currents; the Cyber-Flower Series comprises sculptures that produce a variety of flower-like petal patterns and colors by attaching high-speed commutators to spinning neon elements.
Patrick Boyd (U.K.), a British holographer who has received international recognition for his ground-breaking work, was the 1990 recipient of the Leonardo New Horizons for Innovation Award. His work is unique in that it allowed holography out of a controlled environment for the first time, enabling holographers to capture the outside world in holographic images, therefore freeing them of the previous artistic restrictions of the studio. Boyd uses existing photographs as the basis of his holograms, combining them with film to expand the versatility of the medium. He has further developed his mixed-media approach with the introduction of computer-manipulated photographic and video-generated images. In addition, he has received the Shearwater Foundation Holography Award (1991), the European Holography Prize (1991) and the Fulbright Arts Fellowship in Light Transmission (1989).
Peter Callas (Australia), an Australian video and computer graphics artist, received the 1989 Leonardo New Horizons for Innovation Award for innovation in a new medium. His investigation of graphic language involves the use of low-resolution computer graphics to "write" with icons. He develops icons by delineating forms, compressing space onto flat surfaces, importing imagery and manipulating it contextually as layered foreground and background patterns. Urban images—graffiti, advertising, street signs, people, decorative fragments, logos, maps—are treated as fields of energy in that the flow or character of the video does not result so much from the images themselves as from the interruptions and connections of the images. His socially responsible work uses sweeping themes, such as the evolution of current culture, the repression of Australian aborigines and the economic subjugation of the United States by Japan. Callas was awarded "Most Socially Relevant Video Art" at Portopia '81, International Festival of Video Art in Kobe, Japan. Social, ethnic conflict, environmental and international relations continue to pervade his work.
Donna Cox (U.S.A.) is one of two recipients of the 1989 Leonardo Award for Excellence in the journal Leonardo for her article "Using the Supercomputer to Visualize Higher Dimensions: An Artist's Contribution to Scientific Visualization" (Leonardo 21, No. 3, 1988). She is the artist contributor to a team exploring interdisciplinary research through supercomputing. Cox recounts her role as a member of the "Renaissance Team" discovering visual representations of multidimensional computations. Supercomputing is particularly valuable for complex simulations as its speed, vector environment and parallel processing enable many equations to be solved simultaneously. These experiments are valuable in distinguishing appropriate new tools to enable scientists to find correlations in data. Scientific simulations are further evidence of the shared quest of artists and scientists—to make visible the complex, yet invisible, structures of the universe.
Janet Saad-Cook (U.S.A.), sculptor, is one of the two 1989 recipients of the Leonardo Award for Excellence in the journal Leonardo. In her award-winning article, "Touching the Sky: Artworks Using Natural Phenomena, Earth, Sky and Connections to Astronomy" (Leonardo 21, No. 2, 1988) four artists are discussed who produce monumental works in which a larger order of space and time and of celestial bodies can be experienced. These artists' work permits the observer to personally perceive relationships with solar bodies—space, time and cycle—well outside an individual's lifetime. A sense of wonder and, observer permitting, the possibility of sharing real time with a larger order is possible.
Takis (France), Greek Sculptor and experimental artist, was the 1988 recipient of the Frank J. Malina-Leonardo Award. He began his sculpture in 1946 without formal training and went abroad in 1954, living in London and Paris. In London, he created Signals (1954–1958), abstract kinetic sculptures made of steel wire that were either weighted at the top in order to put them into constant motion or else used springs as sources of energy for movement. During the 1960s he explored the field of electro-magnetism, and in his Magnetic Ballets and other such works he created objects that moved in controlled magnetic fields and that existed less for the sake of their intrinsic form than to reveal the operation of a natural force. In particular his work using iron filings in association with powerful magnets focused attention not on the presence of the object but on a mysterious and apparently inexplicable manifestation of natural energy. With his kinetic works he sometimes combined light effects and musical sound.
Jaroslav Belik (Canada) was awarded the Leonardo New Horizons for Innovation Award for his innovative work in 1988. Born in Czechoslovakia, the Canadian kinetic sculptor and mechanical engineer describes his work as aiming to create a moving machine in which motion itself plays the most important role and the work's function as an object is minimized. Belik's artwork originated directly from technology. After studying classical sculpture in Czechoslovakia, he began to create artworks that included vibrating wires, electromagnetic vibrations and, finally, motors. In 1979, Belik expanded his investigation of the emotional effects of different kinds of motion through careful selection of musical accompaniment. Experimenting with large-scale and architectural settings for his kinetic sculpture, Belik began his fountain series. These large-scale water pieces contain the same thoroughness of design and originality as his well-crafted plastic and metal works. He is a founding member of the Center for Contemporary Arts of Quebec in Montreal and has received official recognition by the Czechoslovakian government as a national inventor.
Charles Ames (U.S.A.) is one of the two 1988 recipients of the Leonardo Award for Excellence in the journal Leonardo. In his article "Automated Composition in Retrospect: 1956–1986" (Leonardo 20, No. 2, 1987), he chronicles computer programs for automated musical composition over the last 30 years, providing musical examples from 11 computer-composed works. Examining the factors that have motivated composers to use computers, as well as the actual computer programs, Ames notes that computers are increasingly recognized not only as legitimate creative tools, but as effective tools as well.
Frieda Stahl (U.S.A.), one of two 1988 Leonardo Award for Excellence in the journal Leonardo recipients, discusses relationships between language, logic and scientific explanation in her award-winning article, "Physics as Metaphor and Vice Versa" (Leonardo 20, No. 1, 1987). She explores the limitations inherent in Western logic for modern physics and the metaphoric nature of terminology in physics, both classic and contemporary. She describes non-verbal metaphors in representations of physical behavior and, in the final sections, illustrates the reciprocal contributions from physics vocabulary to contemporary American English and the deployment of physics ideas and language in English prose and poetry.
Jean-Marc Philippe (France), a Parisian artist and research engineer, received the 1987 Leonardo New Horizons for Innovation Award for his shape-memory alloy sculptures. Nickel-titanium shape-memory alloys are alloys that retain the memory of a shape imposed on them at another temperature. Sculptures from these alloys change their shapes as the ambient temperature changes. The "Bicentennial Tree," a commission from the French Revolution Bicentenary, is a 30-foot tree-shaped sculpture for the Jardins des Tuilleries completed in 1989. The tree's shape evolves over both the diurnal and the annual temperature cycles. Philippe's innovation demonstrates his commitment to the synthesis of art, science and technology.
Max Bill (deceased) was a Swiss painter and sculptor who received the Frank J. Malina Leonardo Award in 1987. Bill studied at the Zurich School of Arts and Crafts and, later, at the Bauhaus. His art is a form of Constructivism that relies on mathematical formulae to build up components from which the work is constructed. He joined the association of modern Swiss artists, Allianz, and in 1941 founded the Allianz Press. In addition to publishing and teaching, Bill focused on product design. The expression of Bauhaus Functionalism is central to his art. In 1947, he founded the Institute for Progressive Culture and mounted a series of exhibitions that culminated in 1951 in an important retrospective exhibition of his work by the Sao Paulo Museum. That same year, Bill developed a "university" for design techniques from his appointed position as Rector of a Hochschule fur Gestaltung (Institute for Design) at Ulm. His influence has been recognized worldwide—in Brazil he was awarded the Grand Prix for sculpture at the Sao Paulo Biennale of 1951, and, in Italy, the Grand Prix for Swiss Pavilion at the Milan Triennale in 1951. He has held more than 200 one-man exhibitions of his work.
Rudolf Arnheim (deceased) was one of the two 1987 recipients of the Leonardo Award for Excellence in the journal Leonardo for his editorial "To the Rescue of Art" (Leonardo 19, No. 2, 1986) He was a gestalt psychologist who was recognized as a leader in the academic field of the psychology of art. Arnheim bridged the studies of perception and thinking through careful study of art and art-making, while utilizing the tools and discipline of psychology in the interpretation of art. His books include Art and Visual Perception (1954, 1974), Visual Thinking (1969), Entropy and Art(1971), and The Power of the Center: A Study of Composition in the Visual Arts (1982).
Otto Piene (U.S.A.) is one of the two 1987 recipients of the Leonardo Award for Excellence in the journal Leonardo for his article "Sky, Scale and Technology in Art" (Leonardo 19, No. 3, 1986) Piene, a painter, light sculptor, designer, writer and environmental artist, also co-founded Group Zero in 1957. He has been director of the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies since 1974. Piene's artwork evolved from "Light Ballet" in 1959 to helium-lifted sculptures as operatic characters. One of Piene's "Sky Art" projects was the 1972 "Olympic Rainbow" for the closing ceremony of the Munich Olympic Games. Through his artwork, Piene urges us to develop and experience a world of full existence by advancing the physical, elemental and technological features of art, rather than attempting to reduce it to a purely internal activity.
Evelyn Edelson-Rosenberg (U.S.A.), detonographer, received the 1986 Leonardo New Horizons for Innovation Award for her multi-metal murals. The artist was selected for her work using explosives to create large murals. The concept of fusing the detail of printmaking and the large scale of mural-making spurred Edelson-Rosenberg to develop the new technique. The explosives create bas-relief metal murals by fusing various combinations of stainless or conventional steel, aluminum, copper, brass and bronze. Various metal oxides add color to the multidimensional metal designs. Explosives act as a giant stamping press, driving the metals into the mold where the design is reproduced, down to the last detail. Following careful polishing, the mural surface achieves a jewel-like quality. Edelson-Rosenberg is further evolving her fusion of printmaking and mural-making from her initial bas reliefs to three-dimensional columns.
Nicolas Schöffer (deceased) received the 1986 Frank J. Malina Leonardo Award for his lifetime of work as a composer of sculptures integrating visual art and sound. Schöffer studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. During the 1950s he turned toward the creation of a new art which he based on cybernetics. This led him to collaboration with artists in other media, with whom he could apply his ideas on temporal control of space and light. His three sculpture series were begun in 1948: Spatiodynamic, Luminodynamic and Chronodynamic Programs (Space, Light and Time) are environmentally responsive, interactive, multisensory structures programmed so that the artworks can be activated at any time. In 1985 he developed a system of computer graphics that he called "ordigraphics." Because he worked from a conceptual point of view, he could apply the same kind of rhythmic structures to computer graphics that he had used in the past with his sculptures, transcending media with disconcerting ease.
Gyorgy Kepes (U.S.A.), the 1985 recipient of the Frank J. Malina Leonardo Award, founded the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to advance new technologies and relationships among scientific discoveries and art. The Hungarian artist, a founder of the New Bauhaus and a "light artist," wrote that the revolutions that keep changing the concept of form must give way to more serious commitment. He wished to contribute to the successful reunification of man and nature. He called on other artists to break out of the claustrophobic space of the gallery and museum and tackle new ways of bringing together artwork and the public. Kepes argued that the artistic imagination belongs to the larger environmental field of nature and society and that, in this context, contemporary artists must deal with society's problems on an immense scale, from ecological disasters and social tragedies to the realities of confused and impoverished human relationships. Kepes believes that, in one and the same form, the tragedy of the environment can be dramatized while means can be provided to convert a scene of ecological regulation into a stirring focus on civic art.
For more information about the Leonardo Awards Program, contact the Leonardo/ISAST Editorial office.
Updated 6 October 2014