Leonardo, Volume 34, Issue 3

June 2001

Contents

Special Section: Synesthesia and Intersenses

  • Visions Shared: A Firsthand Look into Synesthesia and Art
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    The author discusses her experiences as an artist and synesthete. She describes her synesthetic perceptions—her experiences of touch, sound and other sensory input in the form of often strikingly colorful visions. She explains the development of her awareness of her synesthesia and of methods and preferred techniques for communicating these experiences through painting and sculpture, thus allowing her to express what would otherwise not be fully expressible. The author finds that art inspired by synesthesia may convey information of significance to everyone, observing that more general aspects of perception may be illuminated by the study of synesthesia.

  • The Touch through Time: Raoul Hausmann, Nam June Paik and the Transmission Technologies of the Avant-Garde
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    This essay outlines the historiographic implications of the strange convergence between Berlin Dadaist Raoul Hausmann's Optophon (1920–1936)—a “synaesthetic” instrument designed to transform sound signals into light signals and vice versa—and Nam June Paik's pioneering 1960s television work. Hausmann articulated a new, “televisual” form of presence, which also implied a new form of tele-tactility. As his notion of tactility returns in Paik's work, the Optophon might be construed as the historical origin of the genre called “video art.” Yet, it could be argued that Hausmann's technological reasoning produced an interruption at the very site where such art-historical legacies are constituted.

  • Machine Head: Raoul Hausmann and the Optophone
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    Dadaist Raoul Hausmann, famous for his photomontages, is perhaps less well known as a pioneer of synaesthetic machines designed to transform sound into form and vice versa—not unlike primitive computers, in fact. The author has located the patent for one such invention, artist Peter Keene's realization of which accompanies this historical account

  • Living Melodies: Coevolution of Sonic Communication
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    The authors have constructed an artificial world of coevolving communicating agents. The behavior of the agents is described in terms of a simple genetic programming framework, which allows the evolution of foraging behavior and movement in order to reproduce, as well as sonic communication. The sound of the entire world is used as musical raw material for the work. Musically interesting and useful structures are found to emerge.

  • Iterated Nonlinear Functions as a Sound-Generating Engine
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    This article describes a method of digital sound synthesis and algorithmic composition based on iterated nonlinear functions. The mathematical framework of Functional Iteration Synthesis (FIS) is outlined, and the dynamics of a specific FIS model are explained. Given the model's peculiarly chaotic system dynamics, an empirical, exploratory attitude is needed in order to achieve compositionally relevant controls. The required method of this exploration is interactive computer music systems. Some examples are discussed bearing on the author's compositional experience with his Sound Fury project. The approach is described in terms of real-time interaction with a source of chaotic but structured flow of sonic information. The relevance of an “ecological” view of composing is emphasized.

  • The Language of Iconica
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    Visual languages play an important role in electronically mediated communication. In particular, iconography has developed as an important component of user interface design. Interactivity makes an icon an active agent in communication, rather than a passive communicator. The author's interactive work Iconica uses icons to represent the function and structure of an artificial-life model. In this work, iconic elements are the basic building blocks of a world literally made of language. This world has the capacity to evolve, change and mutate through human interaction and its own evolutionary process. Communication with the resident life forms occurs via the iconic language that defines the world, including its elements, forms, entities, spaces and behaviors.

  • Client-Side Distributed Denial-of-Service: Valid Campaign Tactic or Terrorist Act?
  • Leonardo Web Resources
  • Music, Cognition, and Computerized Sound: An Introduction to Psychoacoustics
  • The Tulip
  • Turn-of-the-Century Viennese Patterns and Designs
  • Fonts and Logos: Font Analysis, Logotype Design, Typography, Type Comparison, and History
  • The Swastika: Symbol Beyond Redemption
  • Ereia
  • The Hyperstring Project
  • La Musique Electroacoustique
  • Distant Shores: The Odyssey of Rockwell Kent
  • Ruskin's Journey: Teaching People to See
  • Topsy: William Morris
  • Materials Received
  • Leonardo/ISAST News

Technical Note

  • Greek Origami: A Sculpture Exploring the Golden Ratio
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    The author created a sculpture using a rigorous mathematical procedure informed by aesthetic decisions. The form is based on the relationships found in the golden triangle and its spiral folded into three dimensions. In creating the form, the author discovered a three-dimensional motif (the “golden gnomonoid”) with interesting mathematical properties and sculptural ramifications.

Historical Perspective

  • Leonardo da Vinci's Struggles with Representations of Reality
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    Virtual reality systems seek to simulate real scenes so that they will be seen as three-dimensional. The issues at the heart of virtual reality are old ones. Leonardo da Vinci struggled with the differences between the perception of a scene and a painting of it, which he reduced to the differences between binocular and monocular vision. He could not produce on canvas what, in the terminology of Ames, was an equivalent configuration. This was provided 300 years after Leonardo by Wheatstone's stereoscope. Modern approaches to virtual reality that can incorporate moving viewpoints would have fascinated Leonardo

Special Section: First Iteration

New Media Dictionary

Special Section: Leonardo Fights Back!

Leonardo Reviews

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