Leonardo, Volume 40, Issue 1

February 2007

Contents

Editorial

After Midnight

Leonardo Gallery

Artists' Statements

Historical Perspective

  • The Shiraz Arts Festival: Western Avant-Garde Arts in 1970s Iran
    Get at MIT Press

    Iran in the 1970s was host to an array of electronic music and avant-garde arts. In the decade prior to the Islamic revolution, the Shiraz Arts Festival provided a showcase for composers, performers, dancers and theater directors from Iran and abroad, among them Iannis Xenakis, Peter Brook, John Cage, Gordon Mumma, David Tudor, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Merce Cunningham. A significant arts center, which was to include electronic music and recording studios, was planned as an outgrowth of the festival. While the complex politics of the Shah's regime and the approaching revolution brought these developments to an end, a younger generation of artists continued the festival's legacy.

Special Section: Live Art and Science on the Internet

  • Recipe for a Google™ Party
  • ELIZA REDUX: A Mutable Iteration
    Get at MIT Press

    The author discusses her on-line interactive telerobotic work ELIZA REDUX, its sources and the emblematic use of the psychoanalyst/analysand relationship as a performative vehicle.

  • Wigglism: A Philosophoid Entity Turns Ten
    Get at MIT Press

    The author describes The Wigglism Manifesto, a work authored amidst the fury of early exchange on the World Wide Web. The term Wigglism refers to a quality shared by biological and artificial life forms alike. The manifesto has taken an open-source approach to its cultivation, allowing numerous voices to nurture the entity into being. This collective approach to truth cultivation embodied by the manifesto was inspired, in part, by the author's experiences with community-based media rituals in the North Brooklyn community before it gentrified in the mid-1990s. The project has affirmed its initiator's sense that cultivating a living system can be a vital alternative to traditional creative practices more aligned with manufacturing and commerce.

Color Plates

General Article

  • Formulating Abstraction: Conceptual Art and the Architectural Object
    Get at MIT Press

    Digital techniques, primarily software appropriated from the entertainment and industrial design sectors, have destabilized the essential status of the architectural image-object formulated in classical philosophical thought. Western European art experienced a similar crisis when conceptual art movements of the 1960s challenged Clement Greenberg's notion of medium specificity. The author examines work by conceptual artists whose theories posit alternative views of spatial and social relations based on open-ended systems and indeterminacy. An examination of the relationship between materiality and abstraction as exemplified in new media's reformulation of architectural design processes indicates how a more inclusive and mutable profession has been realized.

Theoretical Perspective

  • A Taxonomy of Abstract Form Using Studies of Synesthesia and Hallucinations
    Get at MIT Press

    The author proposes a taxonomy of abstract form anchored in an examination of the history and theory of synesthesia and abstract art. The foundations of this taxonomy lie in empirical psychological studies of “form-constants” found in cross-modal synesthetic visions and hallucinatory states, specifically the work of Heinrich Klüver in his examinations of mescaline and the mechanisms producing visual hallucinations. While the proposed taxonomy is limited only to synesthesia-inspired abstraction, it has suggestive possibilities when considered in relation to other forms of non-synesthetic abstraction such as Islamic Art, the geometric forms found on classical Greek vases, and other kinds of decorative abstract patterns.

Special Section: ArtScience: The Essential Connection

  • Niko Tinbergen's Visual Arts
  • The Art and Science of Visualizing Simulated Blood-Flow Dynamics
    Get at MIT Press

    The increasing use of computer enhancement and simulation to reveal the unseen human body brings with it challenges, opportunities and responsibilities at the interface of art and science. Here they are presented and discussed in the context of efforts to understand the role of blood-flow dynamics in vascular disease.

  • A New Art Form: Exploring Nature's Creativity with a Self-Organizing Medium
    Get at MIT Press

    The author describes a new art form that uses the self-organizing potential of a water-based medium to provide an ever-changing environment for interpretation and elaboration. The medium allows for little separation between plan and execution. The artist, nature and science interact on the “canvas” to create an art rich in novelty and surprise.

From the Leonardo Archive

  • Kinetic Painting: The Lumidyne System
    Get at MIT Press

    The paper discusses briefly kinetic painting systems that have been devised for producing a pictorial composition on a transluscent flat surface that changes with time without resorting to the projection of light through film in a darkened room. The Lumidyne system developed by the author in 1956 is described in detail. Basic principles of its design, together with variations of the system, are given as well as the method of painting used by the author. Examples of several works are shown. The picture produced by the system is considered from the point of view of real motion and of change of transparent colour with time. The need for aesthetic guide lines for the kinetic painter is stressed. The author concludes that the Lumidyne system, after ten years of experience with it, as a practical, controllable and economical artistic medium.

Leonardo Reviews

  • A Culture of Light: Cinema and Technology in 1920s Germany by Frances Guerin. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A., 2005. 360 pp., illus. Paper. ISBN: 0-8166-4286-9
  • The Certainty of Uncertainty: Dialogues Introducing Constructivism by Bernhard Poerksen. Imprint Academic, Exeter, U.K., 2004. 200 pp. Paper. IBSN: 0-907845-819
  • IT Project Proposals: Writing to Win by Paul Coombs. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, U.K., 2005. 160 pp., illus. Paper. ISBN: 0-521-61257-8
  • Earth-Mapping: Artists Reshaping Landscape by Edward S. Casey. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A., 2005. 256 pp., illus. Trade, paper. ISBN: 0-8166-4332-6; ISBN: 0-8166-4333-4
  • Prostranstvennaja Musica (Spatial Music) by Bulat Galeyev. Editor FAN Publishers, Kazan, Russia, 2004. 159 pp., illus. Paper. ISBN: 5-9690-001-9
  • The Flower Shop by Leonard Koren. Stone Bridge Press, Berkeley, CA, U.S.A., 2005. 112 pp., illus. Paper. ISBN: 1-933330-00-7
  • Sex, Drugs, Einstein, Elves: Sushi, Psychedelics, Parallel Universes, and the Quest for Transcendence by Clifford A. Pickover. Smart Publications, Petaluma, CA, U.S.A., 2005. 318 pp., illus. ISBN: 1-890572-17-9
  • Angels and Demons in Art by Rosa Giorgi. Getty Publications, Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A., 2005. 384 pp., illus. Paper. ISBN: 0-89236-830-6
  • Shadows, Specters, Shards: Making History in Avant-Garde Film by Jeffrey Skoller. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A., 2005. 232 pp. Trade, paper. ISBN: 0-8164231-1; 0-8164231-X
  • Art, Time, and Technology by Charlie Gere. Berg, Oxford, U.K. 2006. 138 pp., illus. ISBN: 1-84520-135-2
  • Cornucopia Limited: Design and Dissent on the Internet by Richard Coyne. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2005. 272 pp. Trade. ISBN: 0-262-03336-4
  • Monte Grande—What Is Life? directed by Franz Reichle; featuring Francisco Varela and H.H. Tenzin Gyatso, XIV Dalai Lama. First Run/Icarus Films, New York, 2004. VHS, 80 mins., col.
  • The Hermitage Dwellers directed by Aliona van der Horst. First Run/Icarus Films, New York, 2003. VHS, 73 min., col.
  • Hermitage-Niks: A Passion for the Hermitage directed by Aliona van der Horst. First Run/Icarus Films, New York, 2003. VHS, 5 x 25 min., col.

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