Leonardo, Volume 39, Issue 5

October 2006

Contents

Editorial

Artist's Statement

Artists' Articles

  • Seeing without Objects: Visual Indeterminacy and Art
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    This article discusses the perceptual phenomenon of visual indeterminacy in an art-historical and scientific context and considers the phenomenon's role in certain heightened states of awareness. Further philosophical implications of the phenomenon are discussed, specifically the suggestion that visual indeterminacy may point to an inherent contradiction in the relationship between mind and world. This discussion is then related to a body of artwork produced by the author over some 20 years. The article concludes that visual indeterminacy is a fruitful subject for further interdisciplinary research, as it draws on ideas from the arts, sciences and humanities.

  • An Artist's Journey in Art and Science: From behind the Iron Curtain to Present-Day America
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    The artist traces his work from its beginnings behind the Iron Curtain in 1967, when cybernetics became the driving force of his creative process, to the present day. Given the scarcity of information and the absence of access to Western experimental work in Romania, this step was the unlikely result of a purely personal train of thought. He went on to lecture and write extensively to promote cybernetics and explain his approach to art, which was highly unconventional in the context of the times. Two directions emerged and remain the focus of his work today: the S-Band, an interactive art machine, and the Meta-Phorm, a behavioral geometry articulated by cybernetic mechanisms.

General Article

  • Corporeal Mélange: Aesthetics and Ethics of Biomaterials in Stelarc and Nina Sellars's Blender
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    Contemporary artists who use biomaterials to make art objects provide a valuable occasion for raising provocative questions about the value and use of human and nonhuman tissue in the biotechnological age. By disseminating ideas from the insular space of the laboratory to the general public, artists are able to broach philosophical, political, social and ethical questions that surround human ontology. The author considers the aesthetic aspects of Stelarc and Nina Sellars's Blender installation alongside the work of artists who assert an ethical position in their use of biomaterials.

Special Section: ArtScience: The Essential Connection

  • Wilhelm Ostwald and the Science of Art
  • Similarities and Contrasts in Artistic and Scientific Creation-Discovery
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    The author summarizes 13 of his publications in Leonardo on the comparison of artistic and scientific creation-discovery. This article details how fundamental aspects of artistic creation are clarified by mechanisms initially introduced to describe scientific discovery. These aspects are linked to the equilibrium between an artist's pictorial idea and the material or technique used. The author also sheds light on art by contrasting it to science. He further addresses the muscular image or kinesthetic aspect of art, which is also shown to be essential in much scientific thinking. He then links aspects of his own paintings to his practice of science.

  • Communicating Science through the Language of Dance: A Journey of Education and Reflection
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    Bharatanatyam, the classical dance style of South India, is adept at conveying complex, multilayered narratives. This paper documents and reflects upon the interactions between the author, a scientist and educator, and a professional dance company as they strive to develop and produce a dance-drama about the carbon cycle. The author examines the process by which scientific ideas are shared with the artists and the way a scientific narrative becomes one with an artistic meaning. The paper also examines areas for possible future science-dance collaborations and explores the necessary features for a collaborative science-dance pedagogy.

Color Plates

Special Section: Arts and Science Research Fellowships—Arts Council England and Arts and Humanities Research Board

  • Creating a Program of Support for Art and Science Collaborations
  • Extending Contexts, Making Possibilities: An Introduction to Evaluating the Projects
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    The author, an anthropologist, discusses his role as an observer attached to a collaborative arts/science research fellowship program. He examines the role of collaboration in research and in the Fellowships and explores new ways of conducting collaboration so that the research process itself becomes part of a project's output.

  • Little Earth: A Solar-Planetary Investigation
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    The authors present Little Earth, the result of collaboration between artist Jo Joelson and the Radio and Space Plasma Physics Group at the University of Leicester. The project draws on the historical research of Kristian Birkeland and C.T.R. Wilson to examine how developments in technology have affected the relationships between artists and scientists in observing and representing the natural world. The principal output of the project was a multi-channel video work representing a fictional dialogue between Birkeland and Wilson, projected onto the faces of a sculptural form inspired by contemporary spacecraft design.

  • Mindscape: An Attempt to Visualize the Workings of the Brain
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    The authors describe Mindscape, an artwork in the form of an audiovisual installation. The work visualizes complex brain activity, attempting to bridge the distance between scientific imagery and artistic representations. Starting with images and data drawn from nerve cell activity, artist Sol Sneltvedt and neuroscientist Michael O'Shea collaborate to create a visualization of the unlimited scale of human thought.

  • Drawing the Line: Some Observations on an Art/Science Collaboration
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    The authors describe their project Metamorphosis Design, an examination of the place of design and transformation in biological systems across research areas from nanofibers to cuttlefish display. They also discuss the collaborative process between artist and scientists.

  • A Software Interface between Human and Computer Virtual Players for Music Performance in Concert
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    The authors discuss the collaborative process of creating a computer interface to enable live musicians and computers to play together without compromising the integrity of the music or the performance.

  • Spatial Audio Measurement, Modeling and Composition
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    The author presents the results of an exploration of spatial composition through acoustic measurement and modeling techniques. He discusses the capture of actual acoustic spaces and the use of such captures to create virtual acoustic landscapes, and describes a series of sound-works composed using the acoustic captures.

  • Extremities of Perception
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    The authors present their collaborative exploration of the use of metaphor in science. If scientific writing is dependent to a large degree on metaphor, then to what extent is scientific thought itself dependent on metaphoric or analogical perception? The authors discuss the use of metaphor in scientific thought as a process of transferred pattern recognition.

  • Musical Agents: Toward Computer-Aided Music Composition Using Autonomous Software Agents
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    The authors, a composer and a computer scientist, discuss their collaborative research on the use of multiagent systems and their applicability to music and musical composition. They describe the development of software and techniques for the composition of generative music.

  • Making Material Culture
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    The authors present their collaborative investigation into the creative applications of liquid crystal elastomers. They explore the process of making these new materials as well as the question of how artists and scientists can work together to develop new materials and to use them in artistic or architectural applications.

  • Bodies Meet Minds: Choreography and Cognition
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    The article describes a collaborative research project between choreographer Wayne McGregor and a team of neuroscientists and psychologists concerned with the relationship between mind and bodily movement. The project comprised several areas of research into the neurological and cognitive basis of movement. The article also discusses the mutual benefits of collaboration between the dancers and scientists.

  • Willing Conversations: The Process of Being Between
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    The author argues that the role of facilitation within art and science collaboration projects is perhaps best described not as a function or position, that of the facilitator, but as a framework for thinking about relations and how to encourage a certain quality of exchange. The article reflects on how the themes of willingness, inter-profession, conversations and wording, empathy, and collaborative writing relate to the conditions for interdisciplinary collaboration. This is based on the author's experience with collaborative projects, most recently as research organizer and facilitator for Choreography and Cognition, one of the first Arts and Science Research Fellowships jointly funded by the Arts Council England and Arts and Humanities Research Board (U.K.).

Leonardo Reviews

  • Impossible Nature: The Art of Jon McCormack by Jon McCormack, Jon Bird, Alan Dorin and Annemarie Jonson. Australian Center for the Moving Image, Melbourne, Australia, 2004. 136 pp., illus. ISBN: 1-920805-08-7; ISBN (DVD): 1-920805-09-5.
  • Il Disegno Obliquo: Una Storia Dell'Antiprospettiva by Massimo Scolari. Marsilio, Venice, 2005. 347 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 88-317-8617-2.
  • TCP/IP Essentials: A Lab-Based Approach by Shivendra S. Panwar, Shiwen Mao, Jeong-dong Ryoo and Yihan Li. University of Cambridge Press, New York, NY, U.S.A., 2004. 284 pp., illus. Paper. ISBN: 052160124X.
  • Fantastic Reality: Louise Bourgeois and a Story of Modern Art by Mignon Nixon. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2005. 312 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 0-262-14089-6.
  • An Introduction to Bioinformatics Algorithms by Neil C. Jones and Pavel A. Pevzner. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2004. 434 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 0-262-10106-8.
  • Setting the Record Straight: A Material History of Classical Recording by Colin Symes. Wesleyan Univ. Press, Middletown, CT, U.S.A., 2004. 340 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 0-8195-6721-3.
  • Interzone: Media Arts in Australia by Darren Tofts. Craftsman House, Sydney, Australia. New Art Series, Series Editor: Ashley Crawford. 145 pp., illus. Paper. ISBN: 0-9757303-8-X.
  • Give Our Regards to the Atomsmashers: Writers on Comics edited by Sean Howe. Pantheon Books, New York, NY, U.S.A., 2004. 228 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 0-375-42256-0.
  • User Infotechnodemo by Peter Lunenfeld; graphic design by Mieke Gerritzen. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2005. 172 pp., illus. Paper. ISBN: 0-262-62198-3.
  • Salmela, Architect by Thomas Fisher; preface by David Salmela. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A., 2005. 184 pp., illus. Paper. ISBN: 0-8166-4257-5.
  • A Bibliographical History of the Study and Use of Color from Aristotle to Kandinsky by Kenneth E. Burchett. The Edward Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY, U.S.A., 2005. 416 pp., illus. ISBN: 0-7734-6041-1.
  • Draw the Lightning Down: Benjamin Franklin and Electrical Technology in the Age of Enlightenment by Michael Brian Schiffer. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, 2003. 383 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 0-520-238028.
  • Arnheim, Gestalt and Art: A Psychological Theory by Ian Verstegen. Springer, 2005. 188 pp. ISBN: 3211288643.
  • Shooting from the HIP: Photography, Masculinity, and Postwar America by Patricia Vettel-Becker. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis and London, 2005. 199 pp., illus. Paper. ISBN: 0-8166-4301-6.
  • Shaping Things by Bruce Sterling; designed by Lorraine Wild. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2005. 144 pp., illus. Trade: ISBN: 0-262-19533-X. Paper: ISBN: 0-262-69326-7.
  • The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity by Amartya Sen. Penguin Books, London, U.K., 2005. 409 pp. Trade. ISBN: 0-713-99687-0.
  • Regular or Super—Views on Mies van der Rohe directed by Joseph Hillel and Patrick Demers. Deckert Distribution, Leipzig, Germany, 2004. DV Cam, 16 mm, 35 mm, Digital Beta, 56 min.
  • August Sander: People of the 20th Century directed by Reiner Holzemer. First Run/Icarus Films, Brooklyn, NY, U.S.A., 2002. VHS/DVD, 44 mins.
  • Pond by Tod Dockstader and David Lee Myers. ReR Megacorp, Thornton Heath, 2004. Audio CD, ReR TDDM1 LC-02677, UPC No. 752725019620.
  • Science in Context. Special Issue: Writing Modern Art and Science Linda Dalrymple Henderson, Guest Editor. Cambridge Univ. Press, London and New York, December 2004. Vol. 17, No. 4, pp. 423-635. ISSN: 02698897.
  • 18th International Documentary Film-Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) Amsterdam, Netherlands, 24 November-4 December 2005, www.idfa.nl.
  • 6th Shadow Festival Amsterdam, Netherlands, 22-30 November 2005, www.shadowfestival.nl.
  • International Contemporary Art Fair (ARCO '06) Madrid, Spain, 9-13 February 2006.
  • Leonardo Reviews On-Line

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