Leonardo, Volume 37, Issue 1

February 2004

Contents

Editorial

In Memoriam: Pierre Restany

Artist's Article

  • Expanding the Concept of Writing: Notes on Net Art, Digital Narrative and Viral Ethics
    Get at MIT Press

    In these experimental notes, the artist reflects on his Net art trilogy, composed of GRAMMATRON, PHON:E:ME and his most recent art project, FILMTEXT, a digital narrative for cross-media platforms. Investigating issues such as digital screenwriting, Net art, digital “thoughtography” and an emergent artificial intelligentsia, the artist theorizes an expanded concept of writing to better explain his project as an evolving, practice-based research initiative, focused primarily on the interface of art, technology and storytelling.

Special Section: Global Crossings

  • Planet Earth in Contemporary Electronic Artworks
    Get at MIT Press

    This article presents an overall view of contemporary electronic artworks related to Planet Earth as a topic of artistic inquiry. The author presents and interprets philosophically the different ways in which artists have approached Planet Earth and tried to reappropriate this object of modernity. In order to do so he outlines a phenomenological reading of these artworks and confronts them with the well-established phenomenological discourse about humans' relationship to Planet Earth

  • The Earth Music of Thamkrabok Monastery
    Get at MIT Press

    Since 1981, Luang Paw Charoen Panchard, Abbot of Thamkrabok Monastery in the Lopburi province of Thailand, has created music based on shapes found in nature. Cracks in walls, stones or the soil are traced onto transparent plastic sheets and transformed into musical notes. Luang Paw believes that the process of making this earth music results in spiritual healing and growth

Special Section: The Art and Science of Interstellar Message Composition

General Article

  • Heart Rate Sonification: A New Approach to Medical Diagnosis
    Get at MIT Press

    Ever since 1819, when Theophile Laënnec first put a block of wood to a patient's chest in order to listen to her heartbeat, physicians have used auscultation to help diagnose cardiopulmonary disorders. Here the authors describe a novel diagnostic method based in music technology. Digital music-synthesis software is used to transform the sequence of time intervals between consecutive heartbeats into an electroacoustic soundtrack. The results show promise as a diagnostic tool and also provide the basis of an interesting musical soundscape.

Artist's Statement

Abstract

Technical Notes

  • The Digital Art of Marbled Paper
    Get at MIT Press

    The author describes his development of a computer-based paper-marbling tool, based on a traditional Turkish art form in which marbled-paper figures and patterns are created on the surface of a liquid bath. Similar works can be obtained by simulating fluid flows on a computer, using the Navier-Stokes equations as the physical model of the fluid flows. The author has created an application program that includes marbling tools. Such a program must run in real time, so that hand-eye coordination is required of the user. Real-time simulation of fluid flows requires much processor power. The author has attempted to adapt this technique for use with a personal computer. To decrease the processing power required, the image size may be decreased, but the results may not be as satisfactory

  • Multifractal Fingerprints in the Visual Arts
    Get at MIT Press

    The similarity in fractal dimensions of paint “blobs” in samples of gestural expressionist art implies that these pigment structures are statistically indistinguishable from one another. This conclusion suggests that such dimensions cannot be used as a “finger-print” for identifying the work of a single artist. To overcome this limitation, the authors have adopted the multifractal spectrum as an alternative tool for artwork analysis. For the pigment blobs, it is demonstrated that this spectrum can be used to isolate a construction paradigm or art style. Additionally, the fractal dimensions of edge structures created by luminance gradients on the canvas are analyzed, yielding a potential method for visual discrimination of fractally similar paintings

Historical Perspective

  • A Symphony of Sensations in the Spectator: Le Corbusier's Poème électronique and the Historicization of New Media Arts
    Get at MIT Press

    This essay seeks to historicize the technological production of artistic virtual space, which is often misconstrued as having originated with contemporary new media art production. The author critically investigates Le Corbusier's Poème électronique, a 1958 automated multimedia performance commissioned by the Philips Corporation for its pavilion at the World's Fair in Belgium, as a paradigmatic example of much earlier attempts to create a spatialized, virtual experience in the spectator. The author argues that the highly disciplined spectatorship conditions of the Poème électronique have many suggestive parallels with those of contemporary artistic production in new media, thus offering a theoretical and historical foundation for art-historical discourse regarding the proliferation of immersive multimedia artworks in contemporary practice

Theoretical Perspective

  • A Universal Grammar for Visual Composition?
    Get at MIT Press

    The author has identified four fundamental organizational principles common to both organic form and the creation of visual composition. The author proposes that our perceptual system has evolved to respond to these principles (perceptual primitives) due to the necessity of recognizing the diversity of organic forms on which our survival depended during our earlier evolution. The evidence shows that these four principles occur widely throughout humankind's aesthetic expression in different cultures, epochs, art forms and media. Applying von Humboldt's principle, the author proposes that these limited means provide unlimited possibilities for developing student creativity if it were taught as a coherent grammar

Leonardo Reviews

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