Leonardo, Volume 42, Issue 1 | Leonardo/ISAST

Leonardo, Volume 42, Issue 1

February 2009

Contents

Editorial

Color Plates

Artists' Articles

  • Patterns That Connect
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    Despite the rationalist approach to science over the past four centuries, some physicists hold that new ideas mirror metaphysical perspectives of the natural world. The implications of these recent scientific theories present significant and complex interpretative problems for researchers who adopt a more traditional or rationalist philosophical position. Through her artwork, the author provides a conduit for a visual interpretation of the former, more holistic approach. She uses innately recognized symbols that appeal to humanity's natural and spiritual understandings of the environment and the cosmos. This cross-disciplinary artwork parallels contemporary scientific insights into our natural environment and the physical world that characterize, for example, Bohm's conception of implicate order.

  • Without Visible Scars: Digital Art and the Memory of War
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    What is the role of the artist in re-creating a cultural landscape where the psychology and identity are shaped by multiple narratives of wars? The author's art practice attempts to demonstrate the role of digital media in providing a platform for visual representation of multiple narratives.

  • Intimate Distances: Mediating Mutuality, Contestation and Exchange between Bodies
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    This article details artist Phillip Warnell's use of the body as an elusive object of research, considering a range of artworks realized within an exploratory framework. It examines how, through an interrogative consideration of the body as both place and subject, hidden biological, chemical and psychological transformations are revealed. The artist uses various strategies of mediation to inform this process, including live, recorded and research-driven forms of performance, and the exploration of mutuality, contestation and exchange between the singular and social body, culminating in the exposure of intimate distances. Through metonym and material, the viewer's attention is directed towards conceptual, visual and historical links between the celestial, organic and cellular corpus.

General Articles

  • Campaigners for Camouflage: Abbott H. Thayer and William J. Dakin
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    The author makes a comparative study of American naturalist Abbott H. Thayer and Australian zoologist William J. Dakin, two civilian campaigners for military camouflage in two different wars who nevertheless share strikingly similar stories.

  • Hindu Tree Veneration as a Mode of Environmental Encounter
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    The author presents her encounters with venerated and Sacred Trees on field trips to India to affirmatively answer the question: Is it possible for the artist to change how we perceive the environment to the extent that people change the way they respond to and inhabit it? She argues that how we perceive and contemplate the land affects how we treat the land, and ultimately how we live within it. The paper goes beyond the economic or conservationist perspective, setting out the religious context with which the tree is perceived aesthetically in its natural environment. The practice of venerating the tree through decoration has, over time, effected cultural change in India. The tree is seen as a form that houses the sacred and thus is protected.

  • Fact and Fantasy in Nanotech Imagery
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    Imagery has played an important role in nanotechnology, both as a tool in research and in spurring excitement in outreach and education. The limitations of the image-making process, however, may give misleading impressions of the feasibility of nanotech applications.

  • Scoring the Work: Documenting Practice and Performance in Variable Media Art
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    This paper examines the issues inherent to documenting integral characteristics of variable media artworks. The author begins by revisiting Suzanne Briet's vision of documentation as a socially constructed practice central to the creation and dissemination of knowledge. This perspective lends insight into the nature of the document in the digital age and suggests a new cultural technique for working with variable media art as both document and documented. Janet Cardiff's 40 Part Motet (2001) provides case material for this discussion, and Richard Rinehart's proposal of the score as a documentary medium is suggested as a means of capturing the elements of practice and performance associated with variable media.

Theoretical Perspective

  • Kinetic Architectural Skins and the Computational Sublime
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    The idea of the computational sublime has been introduced into discourse within the generative electronic arts. The author proposes that, for an artwork to exploit the sublime, the form and context in which the mapping of computational process occurs are crucial. He suggests that digital-analogue hybrids within an urban setting allow engagement with a wider audience and the capacity for the work to be surveyed over multiple timescales. To this end, a framework for the design of kinetic architectural skins is presented for artists to consider as a potential resource for collaboration.

Document

Leonardo Reviews

  • Flatland: The Movie Edition by Edwin A. Abbott, with Thomas Banchoff and the Filmmakers of Flatland (Book and DVD). Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, U.S.A., 2008. 168 pp., illus. Hardcover. ISBN: 978-0-691-13657-8
  • YLEM Journal: Artists Using Science Technology edited by Loren Means. Vol. 27, Nos. 10 12, “The Dichotomy of Reality,” Rob Harle, Guest Editor, September/December 2007. 31 pp., illus. Journal web site: 〈http://www.ylem.org〉
  • Charles Ives Reconsidered by Gayle Sherwood Magee. University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago, 2008. 256 pp., illus. Paper. ISBN: 978-0-252-03326-1
  • Philosophies of Nature after Schelling by Iain Hamilton Grant. Continuum, London, U.K., 2006. 256 pp. Trade, paper. ISBN: 0-8264-7902-2; ISBN: 1-8470-6432-9
  • Riding the Waves: A Life in Sound, Science, and Industry by Leo Beranek. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2008. 256 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 978-0-262-02629-1
  • Notes on the Underground, New Edition: An Essay on Technology, Society, and the Imagination by Rosalind Williams. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2008. 283 pp., illus. Paper. ISBN: 0-262-73190-8
  • Picturing Space, Displacing Bodies: Anamorphosis in Early Modern Theories of Perspective by Lyle Massey. Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, PA, 2007. 192 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 978-0-271-02980-1
  • The Cult of Statistical Significance by Stephen T. Ziliak and Deirdre N. McCloskey. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, MI, U.S.A., 2008. 384 pp. Trade, paper. ISBN: 978-0-472-07007-7; ISBN: 978-0-472-05007-9
  • Topologies: The Urban Utopia in France, 1960–1970 by Larry Busbea. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2007. 320 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 978-0-262-02611-6
  • Frameworks, Artworks, Place: The Space of Perception in the Modern World edited by Tim Mehigan. Consciousness, Literature and the Arts Series No. 11. Rodopi Press, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 2008. 260 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 978-90-420-2362-8
  • Two Regimes of Madness: Texts and Interviews 1975–1995 by Gilles Deleuze; edited by David Lapoujade; translated by Ames Hodges and Mike Taormina. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2008. 424 pp. Paper. ISBN-13: 978-1-58435-062-0
  • Leonardo Reviews On-Line

Transactions

  • Harnessing the Enactive Knowledge of Musicians to Allow the Real-Time Performance of Correlated Music and Computer Graphics
  • Widening Unequal Tempered Microtonal Pitch Space for Metaphoric and Cognitive Purposes with New Prime Number Scales
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    I define a new set of microtonal scales based on the prime number series, and containing 41 to 91 pitches spread over the whole audible range, rather than subdividing the octave. I designed these scales for metaphorical purposes, and applied one within my performance piece Ubasuteyama (2008), written with Hazel Smith, for speaker, computer sound and digital processing. Simple timbres using partials bearing prime number ratios to their fundamental were also used to embody the scale. The scales and timbres will be amongst the subjects of cognitive studies of pitch combinations, of large and unbroken pitch intervals in melodies, and of the relation between scale and timbre.

  • Augmenting Creative Realities: The Second Life Performance Project
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    This article discusses the development of a new interface that allows for the creation of mixed-reality performances. It details the features of the new technology, charts the ways in which the interface has been used in rehearsal sessions and describes how the technology functions as an innovative tool for creative expression.

  • Flow—A Flowing Information Interactive Art
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    Flow is an interactive art work creating a context of flowing information which is unable to be held, but is instead in a state of intermix. The practice aims to represent the chaos state of information in which we find ourselves in our present-day society. When confronted with a huge amount of information, we process it differently based on our opinions. We assume that we understand without question, but how can we firmly believe that our cognition is correct?

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