Leonardo, Volume 34, Issue 4

August 2001

Contents

Editorial

Special Section: A-Life in Art, Design, Edutainment, Games and Research

  • The Art of Creating Subjective Reality: An Analysis of Japanese Digital Pets
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    A variety of digital pets can be found in Japan, from virtual pets on palm-top game screens to physical entertainment robots. They are successful because they succeed in promoting a sense of reality in users' minds. While visual reality is a familiar element of realism, a subjective sense of reality can also prove effective. By designing interaction in a mode that takes users' psychology into account, such a sense of reality can be enhanced, especially when a user perceives an independent personality in his/her digital pet. Japanese traditional culture, which allows treating animals on an equal basis with human beings, is behind this psychology.

  • Creating Artificial Life for Interactive Art and Entertainment
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    This article consists of two sections: the first provides a brief overview of artificial-life art and entertainment software, some of the main products and their peculiarities; and the second describes one of the authors' artificial-life software products, called Life Spacies II, which was created between 1997 and 1999. This system consists of a web page that allows users to create artificial-life creatures by simply typing in text characters using a web page “editor.” Written text is used as genetic code to model the creature's body. The body shape subsequently influences the creature's ability to move, which in turn determines the creature's behavior, survival and reproduction within the Life Spacies II environment. In addition, users of the system can feed the creatures with text characters and thus even more actively influence the creatures' survival and reproduction in their environment.

  • TechnoSphere: “Real” Time, “Artificial” Life
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    This paper focuses on the real-time 3D version of the artificial-life art piece TechnoSphere, a collaborative project by the author, Mark Hurry and Gordon Selley. It begins by positioning TechnoSphere's simulated landscapes in relationship to the English landscape and its tradition in painting and problematizes ideas of “the natural.” The TechnoSphere creatures are evaluated as both artificial wildlife and domesticated animals before the authors consider the relationship between creature and environment. This is followed by a comparison of the Internet and real-time versions of TechnoSphere and concludes by outlining the work-in-progress—a merging of the two systems.

  • Aesthetically Evolved Virtual Pets
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    The author applies aesthetic, emotional and empathetic selection to a derivative of Karl Sims's Evolved Virtual Creatures. The resulting Creatures can be beautiful or strange and provoke strong reactions in human observers. The author posits that it may therefore be possible to evolve virtual pets to which humans can form strong emotional bonds.

  • Color Plates
  • Mathematics and Peace: A Reflection on the Basis of Western Civilization
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    This essay considers the relationship between science and mathematics and the social order that they both rely upon and reinforce. A peaceful and egalitarian world, the author argues, will require instilling a sense of responsibility in those who work with mathematics for the uses society makes of their efforts. Such an understanding of their social responsibilities would also require mathematicians to become more sensitive to history and to the social and psychological dynamics of the presentation of knowledge.

  • New Media as Resistance: Colombia
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    The author proposes possible ways for artists and cultural activists to use the Internet and other new media to help counter the currently devastating situation in Colombia.

  • Data Culture Generation: After Content, Process as Aesthetic
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    The concepts of process and data, inherent in the technology of contemporary music, are contributing to a new musical practice and aesthetic. The role of technology in musical production has cast music into data (a tangible entity, commodity or product) and thus made data a kind of cultural object itself in certain contexts (LPs, CDs, MP3 files). This condition suggests that a rethinking/transformation of contemporary audio arts based on process is taking place. Increasingly, sound may be only one of several simultaneous and expressive components constituting a cultural experience. Here process can suggest and define a set of possibilities as an artistic statement irrespective of whether something or anything is manifest by any artist. With the environment saturated with music, the creative design of musical processes might become an art in itself.

  • The Abstract Organism: Towards a Prehistory for A-Life Art
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    The author examines historical precedents for contemporary art practice using artificial life, in particular in the work of Paul Klee and Kasimir Malevich. Similarities are identified between artificial life and the philosophical tradition of organicism; specific examples from Klee and Malevich indicate that those artists were engaged in a form of creative organicist thought that imagined the realization of living structures in artificial media.

  • Improvisational Lumia: Painting along with Musicians
  • A Light-Musical Alliluia
  • On K. Saragev's “Color Hearing”
  • Was Scriabin a Synesthete?
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    This survey and summary of documentary material on Scriabin's “color hearing” is being presented for consideration by researchers studying his ideas of light-music synthesis. On the basis of their analysis, the authors conclude that the nature of Scriabin's “color-tonal” analogies was associative, i.e. psychological; accordingly, the existing belief that Scriabin was a distinctive, unique “synesthete” who really saw the sounds of music—that is, literally had an ability for “co-sensations”—is placed in doubt.

  • Open Letter on Synesthesia
  • American Monster
  • What is Life?
  • Color and Meaning: Art, Science, and Symbolism
  • The Robot in the Garden: Telerobotics and Telepistemology in the Age of the Internet
  • Takahiko Iimura—Film et Vidéo
  • AIUEONN—Six Features and a Game of Words which Starts with the Letter A
  • A Arte No Século XXI: A Humanizacao Das Technologias
  • Arte Vision: Una Historia Del Arte Electrónico en España
  • Double Feature: New Works by Nick Crowe and Gary Hill
  • Electrohype 2000
  • Materials Received
  • Leonardo/ISAST NEWS

Special Section: Artists and War

  • Thermonuclear Gardens: Information Artworks about the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex
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    The author traces the evolution of her installations about the military-industrial complex during the 1980s and early 1990s and artworks that emerged as a result of her research. In addition to national and international data, maps, graphs and statistics about the industry, the author over time progressively added regional, site-specific information in order to empower viewers. The process of creating these works revealed the place of the nuclear industry in the author's own family, which ultimately facilitated the design of later installations.

Special Section: First Iteration

  • Breaking the Art and Science Standoff
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    This review of the First Iteration Conference held in Melbourne in December 1999 discusses several of the presentations made and includes brief summaries of the keynotes. Related issues like the problems of gender representation as well as shortcomings in the education of artists are also mentioned.

Special Section: Synesthesia and Intersenses

  • Blueprints: Sound Recordings of Experimental Drawings
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    In this note the artist and his collaborators describe the process behind Blueprints, an ongoing body of work composed of abstract blue ballpoint pen ink drawings on found plotter paper, accompanied by a digitally manipulated, ambient-style soundtrack. The soundtrack is created from the sounds of the ballpoint pen's strokes marking the surface of the plotter paper. The artist also reflects on his concerns regarding the practice and meaning of blending the two mediums within his own conceptual processes.

Technical Note

  • Holistic Polyhedrons: A New Concept of Making Mobile Members
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    This note illustrates how to utilize the geometric interiors and exteriors of the ridges, corners and surfaces of polyhedrons in creating unique configurations of mobile members.

Artist's Statement

New Media Dictionary

Leonardo Reviews