Leonardo, Volume 36, Issue 1

February 2003

Contents

Editorial

Special Section: Global Crossings: The Cultural Roots of Globalization

  • City of Brass: The Art of Masking Reality in Digital Film
    Get at MIT Press

    The author's interest in film lies in its ability to expand consciousness and perception in ways unique to the medium. His films challenge the language of filmmaking, be it montage, color, sound, lighting, mise-enscène or acting. The author employs a wide palette of film vocabulary to mask reality and filter it through a personal vision. With the introduction of computers, new ways of seeing the world through film, and thus of acting in the world, may be accomplished.

  • Stereo Types: The Operation of Sound in the Production of Racial Identity
    Get at MIT Press

    Discussions of race and identity have often privileged the visual field and its representations as a site of cultural identity. In contrast, this paper examines how sound and its organization have been implicated in the constructions of “whiteness” as a normative category during the colonial epoch. Using a set of case studies, it examines the network formed between sound and vision through what the author calls a harmonic system of representation. After mapping this dominant system, the paper describes tactics that have been used to disrupt it. The possibility of heterogeneous subjectivity, often called the cyborg, is explored as an alternative, in relation to different organizations of sound.

Artist's Article

  • Existential Technology: Wearable Computing Is Not the Real Issue!
    Get at MIT Press

    The author presents “Existential Technology” as a new category of in(ter)ventions and as a new theoretical framework for understanding privacy and identity. His thesis is twofold: (1) The unprotected individual has lost ground to invasive surveillance technologies and complex global organizations that undermine the humanistic property of the individual; (2) A way for the individual to be free and collegially assertive in such a world is to be “bound to freedom” by an articulably external force. To that end, the author explores empowerment via self-demotion. He has founded a federally incorporated company and appointed himself to a low enough position to be bound to freedom within that company. His performances and in(ter)ventions over the last 30 years have led him to an understanding of such concepts as individual self-corporatization and submissivity reciprocity for the creation of a balance of bureaucracy.

  • Color Plates
  • Leonardo Network News. The Newsletter of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology and of L'Observatoire Leonardo des Arts et Technosciences

Artist's Note

  • The Artificial Natural: Manipulating Butterfly Wing Patterns for Artistic Purposes
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    Recent advances in biology allow interference with normal animal development, making possible the creation of novel live organisms. The author's project explores this potential through her work in a laboratory creating live adult butterflies with wing patterns modified for artistic purposes. Although these patterns are determined by direct human intervention, they are made exclusively of normal live cells. As genes from the germ line are left untouched, the new patterns are not transmitted to the offspring. Therefore, this form of art literally lives and dies. It is simultaneously art and life.

Artists' Statements

Invited Review

  • The Aesthete in Pittsburgh: Public Sculpture in an Ordinary American City
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    There is a great deal of public art in Pittsburgh. Surveying some examples of this public sculpture suggests some general lessons about the role of such art. Art in public spaces needs to be accessible to the public. One way to make it so is to present local history, commemorating local sports heroes, politicians or artists. Public art also needs to be placed in a way that is sensitive to local history. Most public art in Pittsburgh is not successful because it does not deal with the interesting history of that city. Much sculpture that is successful in a museum is not good public art, and some successful public art in Pittsburgh does not belong in a museum.

Special Section: Genetic Algorithms in Visual Art and Music

  • GenJam in Perspective: A Tentative Taxonomy for GA Music and Art Systems
    Get at MIT Press

    GenJam is an interactive genetic algorithm (GA) that models a human jazz improviser and performs regularly as the author's sideman on jazz gigs. GenJam learns to improvise full-chorus solos under the guidance of a human mentor and “trades fours” in real time with a human performer in “chase” choruses. In this article, the author first briefly describes GenJam's architecture, representations, genetic operators and performance characteristics. He then places GenJam in the context of a proposed taxonomy for GA-based music and art systems.

  • The NEXTPITCH Learning Classifier System: Representation, Information Theory and Performance
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    NEXTPITCH, a learning classifier system (LCS) using genetic algorithms, inductively learns to predict the next note in a musical melody. NEXTPITCH models human music learning by developing the rules that represent actual pitch transitions in the melody. In this article, the author addresses the issues of (1) the impact of the representation of a domain (the encoding of the characteristics of the field of study) on the performance of an LCS and (2) the classification of the input (the melodies to be learned) to an LCS in order to determine the highest percentage of correct next-note predictions.

  • Exploring Sound-Space with Interactive Genetic Algorithms
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    This paper describes a system that uses evolutionary computation to provide an interface to a complex sound-synthesis algorithm. The paper then considers a number of general issues to be considered when evolutionary computation is applied in artistic domains and the differences between interactive and non-interactive genetic algorithms.

  • On the Music of Emergent Behavior: What Can Evolutionary Computation Bring to the Musician?
    Get at MIT Press

    In this article, the author focuses on issues concerning musical composition practices in which emergent behavior is used to generate musical material, musical form or both. The author gives special attention to the potential of cellular automata and adaptive imitation games for music-making. The article begins by presenting two case-study systems, followed by an assessment of their role in the composition of a number of pieces. It then continues with a discussion in which the author suggests that adaptive imitation games may hold the key to fostering more effective links between evolutionary computation paradigms and creative musical processes.

  • An Application Framework for Building Evolutionary Computer Systems in Music
    Get at MIT Press

    The authors present a musical composition model that creates rhythmic patterns through a system based on genetic algorithms, involving the interaction of several artificial musicians. In this environment, various composer systems and human musicians may interact within a system based on artificial life.

Historical Perspective on the Arts, Scienes and Technology

  • Thomas Wilfred and Intermedia: Seeking a Framework for Lumia
    Get at MIT Press

    The most successful early-20th-century artist of colored light in the United States was undoubtedly Thomas Wilfred (1889–1968). In the 1920s, his “Lumia” compositions were praised by art critics and performed throughout the U.S. After initially embracing a musical analogy to explain Lumia, in the early 1930s he shifted to an analogy based on painting. In pursuit of this new context, Wilfred sought to legitimize Lumia through a relationship with the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His career is emblematic of the difficulties inherent in the creation of art using technology early in the 20th century, years before the postmodern embrace of pluralism.

Extended Abstract

New Media Dictionary

Leonardo Reviews

  • World Spectators by Kaja Silverman. Stanford Univ. Press, Stanford, CA, 2000. 177 pp. ISBN: 0-8047-3831-9 (trade), 0-8047-3832-7 (paper)
  • Consciousness, Color and Content by Michael Tye. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2000. 198 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 0-262-20129-1
  • A Landscape of Events by Paul Virilio. Julie Rose, trans. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2000. ISBN: 0-262-72034-5. (Original title and publication data: Un paysage d'evenements, Editions Galilee, Paris, France, 1996.)
  • The Lure of the Edge: Scientific Passions, Religious Beliefs, and the Pursuit of UFOs by Brenda Denzler. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, U.S.A., 2001. 313 pp. Trade. $35.00. ISBN: 0-520-22432-9
  • Approaches to Understanding Visual Culture by Malcolm Barnard. Palgrave, New York, NY, 2001. Paper. $22.95. ISBN: 0-333-77288-1
  • A History of Russian Music by Francis Maes. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, U.S.A., 2002. Trans. from the Dutch by Arnold J. Pomerans and Erica Pomerans. 441 pp., illus. Trade. $45.00. ISBN: 0-520-21815-9
  • Culture in Practice: Selected Essays by Marshall Sahlins. Zone Books, New York, New York, U.S.A., 2000. 646 pp., illus. ISBN: 0-942299-37-X
  • False Colors: Art, Design, and Modern Camouflage by Roy R. Behrens. Bobolink Books, Dysart, IA, U.S.A., 2002. 223 pp., illus. $22.95. ISBN: 0-9713244-0-9
  • Janet Ashbee: Love, Marriage, and the Arts and Crafts Movement by Felicity Ashbee. Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, NY, U.S.A., 2002. 216 pp. $39.95. ISBN: 0-8156-0731-8
  • The Activist Drawing: Retracing Situationist Architectures from Constant's New Babylon to Beyond edited by Catherine de Zegher and Mark Wigley. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2001. 152 pp., illus. Trade, $29.95. ISBN: 0-262-04191-X
  • La Planète des Esprits—Pour une Politique du Cyberespace by Philippe Quéau. Odile Jacob, Paris, France, 2000. 326 pp. Trade. 25 Euro. ISBN: 2-7381-0909-8
  • Design by Numbers by John Maeda. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2001. 256 pp., illus. Paper, $29.95. ISBN: 0-262-13354-7
  • For a Better World by Mathilde ter Heijne. Mediamatic, Vol. 10, No. 3, Amsterdam, 2001. CD-ROM (Mac/Windows).
  • Of Shifting Shadows by Gita Hashemi. Exisle Creations, Toronto, Canada, 2000. CD-ROM. Available from ⟨exisle@excite.com⟩ or through InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Centre
  • Swing in Beijing directed by Shui Bo Wang. VHS video, color, 2000, 73 minutes. Available from First Run/Icarus Films, 32 Court Street, 21st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201, U.S.A. Web: ⟨http://www.frif.com⟩
  • Seventh Annual Meeting of the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences Los Angeles, California, 1–5 June 2002
  • Toward a Science of Consciousness Tucson Convention Center, Tucson, Arizona, 8–12 April 2002. Sponsored by the Center for Consciousness Studies, University of Arizona
  • Materials Received