Leonardo, Volume 38, Issue 2

April 2005

Contents

Editorial

After Midnight

Artists' Articles

  • Stereoscopic Synergy: Twin-Relief Sculpture and Painting
    Get at MIT Press

    Two accelerated-relief sculp-tures depicting the same scene from slightly different viewpoints can serve as sculpted stereo-scopic half-images—or “twin-reliefs.” Unlike traditional relief sculpture, which compresses sculptural space, twin-reliefs expand it, creating lifelike illusionistic depths. Viewed binocularly in a large Wheat-stone stereoscope, the twin-relief's virtual world appears colorful, atmospheric and life-size— even infinitely deep. Furthermore, unlike flat-picture stereoscopy, which allows just one undistorted, perspectively robust view, twin-reliefs provide infinitely many such views because, being sculptural, they “adapt” to the observer's movement. Twin-reliefs syner-gistically combine essential physical attributes previously separated between the domains of painting, sculpture and traditional flat-picture stereoscopy.

  • 37°C: From the Inside of a Being to the Thin Line of Life
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    An observer entering the installation 37°C becomes a part of the inside of an organism. This is a warm and dark environment in which living human skin cells are displayed. The aim of the project is to confront observers with a fragile boundary between life and death, to envelop them within the presence of life. Life does not have clear demarcations. On the precarious edge, it can either slip into death or come back to life. The author's work seeks to present the experience of such intermediary states of existence.

Artist's Note

  • The Historic Search for Red Sprites: Art Meets Science in Lightning's Angels
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    Sprites are fleeting, luminous shapes that shoot into the upper atmosphere during large thunderstorms as lightning simultaneously reaches down to Earth. For at least a century, scientists have attempted to confirm and explain the existence of sprites with visual images and data. The author's series Lightning's Angels supplements the documentation of sprites by exploring the properties of this natural phenomenon through digitally enhanced oil portraits set to music and displayed in a large scale multimedia format, such as at a planetarium.

Artists' Statements

Technical Article

  • Symmetric Venn Diagrams in the Plane: The Art of Assigning a Binary Bit String Code to Planar Regions Using Curves
    Get at MIT Press

    The authors discuss artwork created by assigning a binary string code with length 11 to each of 211 = 2,048 planar regions formed intersection of 11 rotations of a single simple closed curve over 360/11 degrees. The goal of this process is to create the maximum number of connected regions, exactly one for each of the 2,048 different binary strings with length 11. The difficulty in this process lies in finding a suitable curve. The authors briefly describe the methods of finding these complicated curves and show how colors can be assigned to regions representing orbits of shifts of binary strings, thus creating unusual images.

General Articles

  • Perspectives on Aesthetic Computing
    Get at MIT Press

    The authors present an introduction to the new interdisciplinary area of aesthetic computing and proceed to define this area with examples from each of their own disciplines, practices and research. While several decades of publication and work have resulted in significant advancements in art as implemented through technology, less emphasis has been placed on studying the converse issue of art's effect on computing, or “aesthetic computing.” The authors present their individual work in this area and then follow with brief criticism of one another's work to elucidate different perspectives on the idea. By approaching the topic of aesthetic computing in this manner, the paper serves as an introduction to and survey and analysis of the field.

  • Pulse of an Ocean: Sonification of Ocean Buoy Data
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    The author presents his work in sonifying ocean buoy data for scientific, pedagogical and compositional purposes. Mapping the spectral buoy data to audible frequencies creates interesting and illuminating sonifications of ocean wave dynamics. Several phenomena can be heard, including both those visible and those invisible in graphical representations of the data. The author has worked extensively with this data to compose music and to produce Music from the Ocean, a multi-media CD-ROM demonstrating the data, the phenomena and the sonification. After a brief introduction to physical oceanography, many examples are presented and a composition and installation created from the sonifications are discussed.

Historical Perspectives

  • Mikhail Matyushin's Contribution to Synthetic Art
    Get at MIT Press

    The author explores the pioneering ideas and experiments that the Russian musician and artist Mikhail Matyushin (1861–1934) contributed to the theory and practice of synthetic art. Special emphasis is placed on light art, light music and Matyushin's reflections on analogies between visual and performance art and on synesthesia. The article adduces some new facts, taken mainly from Russian sources not readily accessible to Western researchers. Although Matyushin did not make a significant contribution to the cause of actual lightmusical synthesis, he did make interesting forecasts in this area, which still have value for the modern reader.

  • Did Hans Memling Employ Optical Projections When Painting Flower Still-Life?
    Get at MIT Press

    David Hockney has recently hypothesized that some early Renaissance painters employed optical devices such as concave mirrors to project images of a scene or part of a scene onto their supports, which they then traced or painted over. As one of many examples, he has claimed that Hans Memling (ca. 1440–1494) built an optical projector to create his Flower Still Life, specifically when rendering its carpet. The author's perspective analysis on the image of this carpet shows that, while there is a “break” in perspective consistent with refocusing or tipping of an optical projector, there are also other larger, more significant perspective deviations that are inconsistent with the use of a projector. After presenting a simple sensitivity analysis of these results and rebutting anticipated objections, the author concludes by rejecting the claim that optical projections were used in the creation of this still life.

Leonardo Reviews

  • Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral On a Moving Train by Deb Ellis and Denis Mueller. First Run/Icarus Films, Brooklyn, NY, U.S.A., 2004. 16 mm, 78 min., color
  • Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction by Nick Montfort. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2003. 286 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 0-262-13436-5
  • Telematic Embrace. Visionary Theories of Art, Technology, and Consciousness by Roy Ascott. Edited by Edward A. Shanken. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, U.S.A., 2003. 439 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 0-520-21803-5
  • Digital People: From Bionic Humans to Androids by Sidney Perkowitz. Joseph Henry Press, Washington, DC, U.S.A., 2004. 238 pp. Trade. ISBN: 0-309-08987-5
  • Jean Desmet and the Early Dutch Film Trade by Ivo Blom. Amsterdam Univ. Press, Prinsengracht, The Netherlands, 2003. 480 pp., illus. Trade, paper. ISBN: 90-5356-570-1; ISBN: 90-5356-463-2
  • Monstrosities: Bodies and British Romanticism by Paul Youngquist. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A., 2003. 264 pp., illus. Trade, paper. ISBN: 0-8166-3979-5; ISBN: 0-8166-3980-9
  • Chronophobia: On Time in the Art of the 1960s by Pamela M. Lee. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2004. 336 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 0-262-12260-X
  • A Colloquium on Art/Science/Spirituality Reconnections within Emerging Planetary Cultures International Festival of the 5 Cultures, Melilla, Spain, 18–20 July 2004. Web: 〈www.melillafestival.org〉
  • Tranzition by Richard Pinhas. Cuneiform Records, Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A., 2004. Catalog number: Rune 186
  • Leonardo Reviews On-Line
  • Materials Received