Leonardo, Volume 40, Issue 2

April 2007

Contents

Editorial

After Midnight

Statements

Artist's Article

  • Generative Systems and the Cinematic Spaces of Film and Installation Art
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    The author's informal research in the 1970s explored iterative and generative systems using motion-picture film. His approach was practice-based and occurred in the context of artists studying the structure and materiality of the film experience. Based on historical and contemporary notes he accumulated about his film Red+Green+Blue, the author evaluates the generative art that emerged using this analogue-based medium in the light of recent discussion of digital and binary-based interactive installations.

General Articles

  • The Generative Process, Music Composition and Games
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    The generative process through which artistic creators render artworks calls upon many perceptual and cognitive abilities. Because perceptions are knowledge and context dependent, creators and noncreators perceive structure in artworks differently. Analyses of artworks decoupled from the creating artists' perceptions offer an incomplete understanding of the generative process. The author's music composition games offer insight into the perceptions and styles of creators and provide a basis for empirical studies by enabling creators and non-creators to share a context and knowledge of constraints. Game results point toward more informed models of the generative process and new opportunities for the generative arts.

  • Electronic Music for Bio-Molecules Using Short Music Phrases
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    The authors explore protein sonification issues using Morse code theory. Short musical phrases based on protein amino acids are used to compose protein music. Rhythms and tunes familiar to teenagers are also investigated, with the aim of producing different genres of protein music. A special musical instrument, the Chinese guzheng, can be employed to play the protein music. Experiment is carried out with different proteins, including the HIV main protease. It is hoped that this study can help unveil the mysteries of nature and motivate students to learn biology.

Historical Perspective

  • From the Avant-Garde: Re-Conceptualizing Cultural Origins in the Digital Media Art of Japan
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    Misconceptions concerning digital artists in Japan make them out to be mere followers, savvy with technology but not necessarily the conceptual originators of their work. Examining the aesthetic and philosophical content of their work, however, reveals that their attitudes toward the exploration of process, performance and the inherent nature of materials come from innovative and daring avant-garde groups of the 1960s and 1970s in Japan, including the Gutai and Mono-ha groups, whose ideas predate those of the New York avant-garde schools, even outside of the technological milieu.

Color Plates

Theoretical Perspective

  • Crossing Conventions in Web-Based Art: Deconstruction as a Narrative Device
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    The author explores the thesis that crossing the boundaries of genre within a medium requires the reassignment of defining constructs and can be used as a tool for deconstructing the medium. In this process, elements considered impartial or invisible become consciously manipulated tools, deconstructed and reassigned as narrative devices. The author posits that this reassessment is essential for the continued development of any medium or genre and discusses reasons for its recent renewed prominence. The author traces convention-crossing in several media, revealing attributes that are redefined by subversions, and explores subversions of digital media constructs, before discussing his own forays into web-based works that hinge on the artifice of convention.

Special Section: ArtScience: The Essential Connection

  • Emerging Congruence between Animation and Anatomy
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    The worlds of animation and anatomy have a long-standing connection based on both direct and indirect collaboration. The author surveys a number of projects in which anatomists have consulted on animation projects or animation techniques have been used for data gathering and analysis. The author describes his own work in light of this connection.

  • A Reclusive Artist Meets Minds with a World-Famous Geometer: George Odom and H.S.M. (Donald) Coxeter
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    The author discusses the wide-ranging correspondence of renowned geometer H.S.M. (Donald) Coxeter with George Odom, an artist who has made several geometric discoveries while living in seclusion. Coxeter was responsible for bringing these insights to wider attention

Special Section: Documentation and Conservation of the Media Arts

  • Documentation and Conservation of the Media-Arts Heritage (DOCAM)
  • The Media Art Notation System: Documenting and Preserving Digital/Media Art
    Get at MIT Press

    This paper proposes a new approach to conceptualizing digital and media art forms. This theoretical approach will be explored through issues raised in the process of creating a formal declarative model (alternately known as a metadata framework, notation system or ontology) for digital and media art. The approach presented and explored here is intended to inform a better understanding of media art forms and to provide a practical descriptive framework that supports their creation, re-creation, documentation and preservation.

From the Leonardo Archive

  • The Cybernetic Stance: My Process and Purpose
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    There is apparently a paradox in that, as artists, some of us become progressively process-oriented, but continue to produce art objects. For me this is necessary since I work on two levels from a common set of attitudes: on the social level, elaborating plans for a Cybernetic Art Matrix; on the intimate level making individual art works. Both processes are concerned with creating triggers—initiating creative behaviour in the observer/participant. Modern art is characterized by a behaviourist tendency in which process and system are cardinal factors. As distinctions between music, painting, poetry, etc. become blurred and media are mixed, a bahaviourist synthesis is seen to evolve, in which dialogue and feedback within a social culture indicate the emergence of a Cybernetic vision in art as in science.

    My artifacts come out of a process of random behaviour interacting with pre-established conditions. The Cybernetic Art Matrix is seen as a process in which anarchic group behaviour interacts with pre-established systems of communications, hardware and learning nets. In both cases the processes are self-generating and self-critical. Basically they are initiated by creative behaviour, and in turn give rise to its extension in other people.

Leonardo Reviews

  • Special Delivery by Tunsi. Parana Records, Oakland, CA, U.S.A., 2005. Audio CD. Distributor's web site: www.paranarecords.net
  • Group Therapy by Elephant Tribe, featuring Talman Greed. Total Spontan Productions/ DRO Entertainment, Chicago, IL, U.S.A., 2005. Audio CD. Distributor's web site: www.hilltopstudios.net
  • Control and Freedom: Power and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics by Wendy Hui Kyong Chun. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2006. 360 pp., illus. Hardcover. ISBN: 0-262-03332-1
  • The Aesthetics of Disengagement: Contemporary Art and Depression by Christine Ross. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A., 2006. 244 pp., illus. Trade, paper. ISBN: 0-8166-4538-8; ISBN: 0-8166-4539-6
  • The Commercial and Political Atlas and Statistical Breviary by William Playfair. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K., 2005 (1801). 204 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 0-521-85554-3
  • Media Ecologies: Materialist Energies in Art and Technoculture by Matthew Fuller. A Leonardo Book, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2005. 240 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 0-262-062-06247-X
  • Wired for Sound: Engineering and Technologies in Sonic Cultures edited by Paul D. Greene and Thomas Porcello. Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, CT, U.S.A., 2005. 304 pp., illus. Trade, paper. ISBN: 0-8195-6516-4; ISBN: 0-8195-6517-2
  • Cuts: Texts 1959–2004 by Carl Andre, edited with an Introduction by James Meyer. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2005. 317 pp., illus. ISBN: 0-262-01215-4
  • Perception and Illusion: Historical Perspectives by Nicholas J. Wade. Springer, New York, NY, U.S.A., 2005. 250 pp. ISBN: 0387227229
  • Peter Tscherkassky edited by Alexander Horwath and Michael Loebenstein. Filmmuseum Synema Publikationen, Vienna, Austria, 2005. 253 pp., paper. ISBN: 3-901644-16-4
  • Handbook of Computer Game Studies edited by Joost Raessens and Jeffrey Goldstein. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2005. 496 pp., hardcover. ISBN: 0-262-18240-8
  • Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness, 10th Annual Conference St. Anne's College, Oxford, U.K., 23–26 June 2006
  • River of Time by Robert Fox. The Cinema Guild, Inc., New York, NY, U.S.A., 2006. DVD, 29 min, color. Distributor's web site: www.cinemaguild.com
  • Mademoiselle and the Doctor by Janine Hosking. First Run/Icarus Films, Brooklyn, NY, U.S.A., 2003. Video, 90 min, color. Distributor's web site: www.frif.com
  • Malick Sidibé: Portrait of the Artist as a Portraitist by Susan Vogel. First Run/Icarus Films, Brooklyn, NY, U.S.A., 2006. VHS, 8 min, color. Distributor's web site: www.frif.com
  • YLEM Journal Special Issue: Science Fiction and Its Discontents edited by Loren Means. YLEM, San Francisco, CA, U.S.A., 2006. Volume 25, Nos. 10 and 12. ISSN: 1507-2031
  • Leonardo Reviews On-Line

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