Leonardo, Volume 41, Issue 2 | Leonardo/ISAST

Leonardo, Volume 41, Issue 2

April 2008

Contents

Editorial

Extended Abstract

Transactions

Color Plates

Historical Perspective

  • The Evolution of Illustrated Texts and Their Effect on Science: Examples from Early American State Geological Reports
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    In the 19th century, printing methods made significant advances that allowed mass production of illustrated texts; prior to that time, illustrated texts were expensive and rare. The number of illustrated texts thus rose exponentially, increasing the rate of information transfer among scientists, engineers and the general public. The early American state geological reports, funded by the state legislatures, were among the pioneering volumes that used the new graphic capabilities in the improved printing processes for the advancement of science. They contain thousands of illustrations—woodcuts, etchings, lithographs and hand-painted maps—that may be of interest to historians of science, technology, art and culture.

General Article

  • Web-Based Algorithmic Composition from Extramusical Resources
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    The authors, a composer and a mathematician, demonstrate how the Web-based application “musicalgorithms” translates numbers into musical events. Details of the algorithmic process and the decisions behind mathematical scaling operations are presented in two compositions called Redwoods Symphony and Dreaming among Thermal Pools and Concentric Spirals.

Special Section: Leonardo Celebrates Leonardo da Vinci

  • The Reverse Outlining Perspective of Leonardo's Last Supper and Its Image Formation
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    The accurate perception of a painting's image formation depends upon three concepts: the observer's distance to the perspective plane, the aperture of his or her visual field, and the limits of the perspective plane. A comprehension of these concepts is crucial to the calculation of both the painting's image formation and the observer's vantage point. To approach this problem in Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, the author introduces the reverse outlining perspective method, through which it is shown how the painting's image formation can be deduced.

Special Section: Archiving, Collecting, Documenting, and Conserving the Media Arts

  • Marina Abramović's Seven Easy Pieces: Critical Documentation Strategies for Preserving Art's History
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    This essay raises issues of authenticity, authorship and medium in a discussion of performance, documentation and re-performance. Its object of analysis is Marina Abramović's 2005 performance series, Seven Easy Pieces, including her re-performances of Bruce Nauman's Body Pressure and VALIE EXPORT's Action Pants: Genital Panic. Seven Easy Pieces strives to document the past through manipulation of repetition and temporality; Abramović's re-performances act as performative documents of the past performances she cites. Lessons learned from a close analysis of re-performance and performance documentation can provide useful insights for and promote critical thought about conservation strategies for time-based art.

From the Leonardo Archive

  • The Relocation of Ambient Sound: Urban Sound Sculpture
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    The author describes his sound sculptures which explore how various instances of sound possess musical form. He explains the sculptural qualities of sound and the aesthetic act of arranging sound into art. Detailed descriptions of three recent works illustrate how relocating sounds from one environment to another redefines them, giving them new acoustic meanings.

Special Section: REFRESH! Conference Papers

  • The Reception and Rejection of Art and Technology: Exclusions and Revulsions
  • Gordon Pask: Cybernetic Polymath
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    Despite his influence in art, architecture and theater, British cybernetician Gordon Pask is rarely acknowledged in histories of digital culture and virtually unknown in the history of art. Pask is better known as a theoretician than as an artist or designer, although his machines, artwork and theories were closely related. This article investigates the relevance of specific aspects of Pask's theories to his best-known artwork, The Colloquy of Mobiles, to illustrate his characteristic unification of science and art, and theory and material experimentation. Select works of contemporary art are discussed to indicate Pask's significance to contemporary art practices.

  • From Technophilia to Technophobia: The Impact of the Vietnam War on the Reception of “Art and Technology”
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    Using the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's 1971 exhibition “Art and Technology” as a case study, this essay examines a shift in attitude on the part of influential American artists and critics toward collaborations between art and technology from one of optimism in the mid-1960s to one of suspicion in the early 1970s. The Vietnam War dramatically undermined public confidence in the promise of new technology, linking it with corporate support of the war. Ultimately, the discrediting of industry-sponsored technology not only undermined the premises of the LACMA exhibition but also may have contributed to the demise of the larger “art and technology” movement in the United States.

  • Vladimir Bonačić: Computer-Generated Works Made within Zagreb's New Tendencies Network (1961–1973)
    Get at MIT Press

    Scientist Vladimir Bonačić began his artistic career in 1968 under the auspices of the international New Tendencies movement (NT). From 1968 to 1971 Bonačić created a series of “dynamic objects”—interactive computer-generated light installations, five of which were set up in public spaces. The author shows the context of Bonačić's work within the Zagreb cultural environment dominated by the New Tendencies movement and network (1961–1973). The paper shows his theoretical and practical criticism of the use of randomness in computer-generated art and describes his working methods as combining the algebra of Galois fields and an anti-commercial approach with custom-made hardware. It seems that Bonačić's work fulfills and develops Matko Meštrović's proposition that “in order to enrich that which is human, art must start to penetrate the extra-poetic and the extra-human.”

Leonardo Reviews

  • Too Beautiful to Picture: Zeuxis, Myth, and Mimesis by Elizabeth C. Mansfield. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, 2007. 240 pp., illus. Trade, paper. ISBN: 0-8166-4748-4; ISBN: 0-8166-4749-1
  • Pop Modernism: Noise and the Reinvention of the Everyday by Juan A. Suárez. University of Illinois Press, Chicago and Urbana, IL, 2007. 321 pp. Trade, paper. ISBN: 978-0-252-03150-2; ISBN: 978-0-252-07392-2
  • Beautiful/Ugly: African and Diaspora Aesthetics edited by Sara Nuttall. Duke University Press, Durham, NC, U.S.A., 2007. Published in conjunction with the Prince Claus Fund. 416 pp., illus. Paper. ISBN: 0-8223-3918-2
  • The Atlas of Climate Change: Mapping the World's Greatest Challenge by Kirstin Dow and Thomas E. Downing. University of California Press, Berkeley, 2006. 112 pp., illus. col. ISBN: 0-520-25023-0
  • The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft by Anne Friedberg. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2006. 448 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 0-262-06252-7
  • Problematizing Global Knowledge: The Theory, Culture Society Encyclopedia Project edited by Mike Featherstone et al. Theory, Culture, Society Issue 23.2-3 (2006). Sage Publications, London. 616 pp., paper. ISSN: 0263-2764
  • From Technological to Virtual Art by Frank Popper. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2007. 471 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 978-0-262-16230-2
  • Design Anarchy by Kalle Lasn. Adbusters Media Foundation, Vancouver, British Columbia, 2006. 416 pp., 420 illus. Cloth. ISBN: 0-9746800-9-5
  • Science, Culture, and Modern State Formation by Patrick Carroll. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, U.S.A., 2006. 290 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN-13: 978-0-520-24753-6
  • All Creatures: Naturalists, Collectors, and Biodiversity, 1850–1950 by Robert E. Kohler. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, U.S.A., 2006. 380 pp. illus. Trade. ISBN: 0-691-12539-8
  • La Biennale di Venezia 52nd International Art Exhibition. “Think with the Senses—Feel with the Mind. Art in the Present Time,” curated by Robert Storr, 6 June–21 November 2007, Venice, Giardini and Arsenale and other venues
  • Constant, Avant le Départ by Maarten Schmidt and Thomas Doebele. First Run/Icarus Films, Brooklyn NY, 2006. VHS/DVD, 81 min., b/w, col. Distributor web site: 〈www.frif.com〉
  • Salvador Allende by Patricio Guzmán. First Run/Icarus Films, Brooklyn NY, 2006. DVD, 100 min. Distributor's web site: 〈www.frif.com〉
  • Leonardo Reviews On-Line

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