Leonardo, Volume 41, Issue 3

June 2008

Contents

Editorial

Artist's Statement

General Article

  • Robots with Bad Accents: Living with Synthetic Speech
    Get at MIT Press

    Synthetic speech technologies have a profound impact on how we think about and interact with computers. This text discusses parts I and II of the “Make Language Project,” a trilogy on the cultural fallout of machine generated speech as a conduit for reconsidering prejudices in synthetic speech production and humanoid robot design.

Color Plates

Historical Perspective

  • A Cultural History of the Hologram
    Get at MIT Press

    The hologram, the novel imaging medium conceived in 1947, underwent a series of technical mutations over the following 50 years. Those successive adaptations altered the form of the medium, broadened its imaging capabilities and promoted wider perceptions of its functions and possibilities. Appropriated by disparate technical communities and presented to varied audiences, the hologram and its cultural meanings evolved dramatically. This paper relates the fluidity of the form, function and meaning of the hologram to its distinct creators and users.

Special Section: The Physics of Aesthetics

  • Physics of Aesthetics: A Meeting of Science, Art and Thought in Barcelona
    Get at MIT Press

    The Physics of Aesthetics conference in Barcelona introduced the paradigms of the liveliest aspects of physics. One hundred years after Einstein's annus mirabilis, physics continues making progress, and the authors participated with internationally well-known scientists in drawing the outline of its more attractive face. Universal questions naturally arose, relating to the limits of our perception, the design of matter and the narrative of the complexity surrounding us. Local non-scientist personalities helped to distill aesthetics from the contemporary tendencies of this scientific discipline.

  • Models of Randomness and Complexity, from Turbulence to Stock Markets
    Get at MIT Press

    Inspired by the increasing complexity of statistical models for turbulence and stock markets, the author presents some reflections on the very notion of a model and illustrates some relations between physics and aesthetics. He argues that aesthetic emotions arise from a delicate balance between regularity and surprise.

  • Riddles in Fundamental Physics
    Get at MIT Press

    Scientific understanding of natural phenomena should be a legitimate part of aesthetic theory, as this understanding involves the beauty of insight into the inner workings of nature. This insight is not always easy to communicate. Despite the huge progress made during the 20th century, fundamental physics now faces puzzles and paradoxes involving the infinitely small (the frontier of high energies) and the infinitely large (the overall structure of the observed universe). Working in basic science is fascinating but difficult. Discoveries happen not in a linear manner but just as they do in the creation of a work of art.

  • On Networks and Monsters: The Possible and the Actual in Complex Systems
    Get at MIT Press

    Complex systems pervade our real world, from social systems to genome dynamics. All these systems are characterized by the presence of emergent phenomena: New properties emerge from the interactions of simpler units and are not reducible to the properties of the latter. The natural description of complex systems involves a network view, where each system is represented by means of a web. Such graphs have been shown to share surprisingly universal patterns of organization, indicating that fundamental laws of organization also pervade complexity at multiple scales.

  • Nanotechnology: The Endgame of Materialism
    Get at MIT Press

    Imagine that one could arrange atoms in any form one wanted: What would one create? What kind of mind would it take to change the world through this metamorphosis of rearrangement and design? The ultimate endgame of our current technological capability to make material things is determined by our own creativity. The author examines how technological interfaces join the human mind to objects of experience from the nanometric to the planetary scale and theorizes the impact this perceptual condition will have on the personal and collective psyche.

Special Section: ArtScience: The Essential Connection

Special Section: Leonardo Celebrates Leonardo da Vinci

  • The Colors of Leonardo's Shadows
    Get at MIT Press

    The author examines Leonardo da Vinci's lifelong interest in the depiction of blurred, colored shadows from the point of view of painting technique and optics. She analyzes Leonardo's refinement of the oil technique to capture the instability of colored shadows from the early Annunciation of 1472–1473 and examines the artist's theoretical writings on shadows from the 1490s onward. The author shows how Leonardo analyzed the blurred edges of colored shadows with the geometric rigor that earlier authors afforded only to the clear-cut edges of astronomical shadows. She argues that the very kind of shadows that captured Leonardo's attention indicates his underlying pictorial concerns, despite the fact that his instructions often seemed directed toward teaching a way of seeing rather than a way of painting.

From the Leonardo Archive

  • The Next Evolutionary Step in the Ascent of Man in the Cosmos
    Get at MIT Press

    Physician-scientist Jonas Salk comments on the concerns about humanity's future and the values he shared with Jacob Bronowski. The author outlines his own view of evolution and acknowledges Bronowski's contributions to our further understanding of this process in which humans are participants as well as products. Like Bronowski, the author believes the human race has the power to influence its future, whether by creating disaster or by saving itself through conscious choice. He envisions as the next evolutionary step the creative interaction and convergence of the various cultures, including the ‘two cultures’ of science and humanism examined by Bronowski. The author suggest that our ‘evolutionary instinct’ will guide us in this direction, and he challenges us to prepare for a future without catastrophe.

Leonardo Reviews

  • String Quartet No. 2 by Morton Feldman, performed by Flux Quartet. Mode Records, New York, 2002. Audio DVD or 5 CD set, 6 hr 7 min 7 sec. Mode 112/Feldman Edition 6. Distributor's web site: 〈http://www.moderecords.com/catalog/112feldman.html〉
  • Building a Century of Progress: The Architecture of Chicago's 1933–34 World's Fair by Lisa D. Schrenk. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis MN USA, 2007. 368 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 0-8166-4836-8
  • Science as a Spiritual Practice by Imants Barušs, Imprint Academic, Exeter, U.K., 2007. 155 pp. Paper. ISBN: 1845400747
  • Museum Frictions: Public Cultures/Global Transformations Edited by Ivan Karp, Corrine Kratz, Lynn Szwaja and Tomas Ybarra-Frausto. Duke Univ. Press, Durham, NC, 2006. 632 pp., illus. Trade, paper. ISBN: 0-8223-3878-5; 0-8223-3894-7
  • Gods in the Bazaar by Kajri Jain. Duke Univ. Press, Durham and London, 2007. 448 pp., illus. Trade, paper. ISBN: 978-0-8223-3906-9; 978-0-8223-3926-7
  • Collectivism after Modernism: The Art of Social Imagination after 1945 Edited by Blake Stimson and Gregory Sholette. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, 2007. 312 pages, illus. Trade, paper
  • Native Moderns: American Indian Painting, 1940–1960 by Bill Anthes. Duke Univ. Press, Durham, NC, U.S.A., 2006. 304 pp., illus. Trade, paper. ISBN: 0-8223-3850-5; 0-8223-3866-1
  • Digital Performance: A History of New Media in Theater, Dance, Performance Art, and Installation by Steve Dixon. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2007. 808 pp. illus. Trade. ISBN: 0-262-04235-2
  • Cartographic Cinema by Tom Conley. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A., 2007. 264 pp. illus. Trade, paper. ISBN: 0-8166-4357-1; 0-8166-4356-3
  • Ohne Schnur: Kunst und Drahtlose Kommunikation Edited by Katja Kwastek. Revolver Archiv fuer Aktuelle Kunst, Frankfurt/Main and Cuxhaven Kunstverein, Cuxhaven, Germany, 2004. 228 pp., illus. ISBN: 3-86588-025-8
  • Dub: Soundscapes and Shattered Songs in Jamaican Reggae by Michael E. Veal. Wesleyan Univ. Press, Middletown, Connecticut, U.S.A., 2007. 350 pp., illus. Trade, paper. ISBN: 0-8195-6571-7; 0-8195-6572-5
  • Laws of Seeing by Wolfgang Metzger, translated by Lothar Spillmann, Steven Lehar, Mimsey Stromeyer and Michael Wertheimer. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2006. 194 pp. illus. Trade. ISBN: 0-262-13467-5
  • Shigeru Ban: An Architect for Emergencies Directed by Michel Quinejure. First Run/Icarus Films, Brooklyn NY, U.S.A., 2006. VHS/DVD. 52 min. Distributor's web site: 〈http://www.frif.com〉
  • Forever Directed by Heddy Honigmann. First Run/Icarus Films, Brooklyn NY, U.S.A., 2006. VHS/DVD. 97 min. Distributor's web site: 〈http://www.frif.com〉
  • Leonardo Reviews On-Line

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