Leonardo, Volume 44, Issue 3

June 2011

Contents

Editorial

Articles and Notes

  • The Art of Finance: An Artist Uses Financial Economics as Inspiration
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    This article focuses on the possibility of developing an “art of science” in the literal sense of the words—that is, art illustrating scientific theories. In this perspective, scientific knowledge is used for itself, independent of the reality it is supposed to represent (even if this knowledge does not directly involve a pictorial dimension). Using a specific theory originating from financial economics, the author illustrates his analysis using two of his own collages.

  • Transmissions between Memory and Amnesia: The Radio Memorial in a New Media Age
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    In light of constantly exploding bandwidth and nearly limitless digital storage, FM radio may appear an anachronistic means of communication. However, many new media artists are using this most ephemeral, unindexable, “old” medium instead of or in addition to digital technologies. In this paper, artist Sarah Kanouse discusses three of her own projects that use radio transmission as a unique public material to create ephemeral monuments to difficult moments in American history. By using an analog and dissipating material, these pieces suggest that the struggle to remember is more meaningful than the total recall promised by the digital archive.

  • Live Coding of Consequence
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    A live coding movement has arisen from everyday use of interpreted programming environments, where the results of new code can be immediately established. Running algorithms can be modified as they progress. In the context of arts computing, live coding has become an intriguing movement in the field of real-time performance. It directly confronts the role of computer programmers in new media work by placing their actions, and the consequences of their actions, centrally within a work's setting. This article covers historical precedents, theoretical perspectives and recent practice. Although the contemporary exploration of live coding is associated with the rise of laptop music and visuals, there are many further links to uncover throughout rule-based art. A central issue is the role of a human being within computable structures; it is possible to find examples of live coding that do not require the use of a (digital) computer at all.

  • Performing Digital Aesthetics: The Framework for a Theory of the Formation of Interactive Narratives
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    Interactive narratives are inextricable from the way that we understand our encounters with digital technology. This is based upon the way that these encounters are processually formed into a narrative of episodic events, arranged and re-arranged by various levels of agency. After describing past research conducted at the iCinema Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, this paper sets out a framework within which to build a relational theory of interactive narrative formation, outlining future research in the area.

  • Fertilization Narratives in the Art of Gustav Klimt, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo: Repression, Domination and Eros among Cells
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    Fertilization narratives are powerful biological stories that can be used for social ends, and 20th-century artists have used fertilization-based imagery to convey political and social ideas. In Danae, Gustav Klimt used an esoteric stage of early human embryos to indicate successful fertilization and the inability of government repression to stifle creativity. In Man, Controller of the Universe, Diego Rivera painted a mural of a man controlling an ovulating ovary, depicting Trotsky's view that society will rationally regulate human fertilization. His former wife, Frida Kahlo, refuted this view in Moses: Nucleus of Creation, wherein she painted images of fertilization and embryo formation as the ultimate acts of erotic consummation and generation.

  • The Implicit Body as Performance: Analyzing Interactive Art
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    This paper puts contemporary theories of embodiment and performance in the service of interactive arts criticism. Rather than focusing on vision, structure or signification, the author proposes that we explicitly examine bodies-in-relation, interaction as performance, and “being” as “being-with.” He presents four concrete areas of concentration for analyzing the category of interactive art. The author also examines how such work amplifies subjects and objects as always already implicated across one another.

Color Plates

Special Section of Leonardo Transactions: Arts, Humanities and Complex Networks

  • Networks of Photos, Landmarks, and People
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    Social photo-sharing sites like Flickr contain vast amounts of latent information about the world and human behavior. The authors describe their recent work in building automatic algorithms that analyze large collections of imagery in order to extract some of this information. At a global scale, geo-tagged photographs can be used to identify the most photographed places on Earth, as well as to infer the names and visual representations of these places. At a local scale, the authors build detailed 3D models of a scene by combining information from thousands of 2D photographs taken by different people and from different vantage points.

  • Evolution of Romance Language in Written Communication: Network Analysis of Late Latin and Early Romance Corpora
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    In this paper, the authors induce linguistic networks as a prerequisite for detecting language change by means of the Patrologia Latina, a corpus of Latin texts from the 4th to the 13th century.

  • The Social Network of Dante's Inferno
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    This work aims to approach the phenomenon of culture through the development of new methods and more powerful tools to capture the content of digitally stored literary material. The authors chose as a test bed Dante's characters of al di là, a domain consisting in a set of data and relations complex enough to sharpen existing tools. The methods of investigation under development should help scholars of a literary text to concretize part of their interpretative intentions. For this purpose, the authors adopt advanced methodologies suitable to obtain a rich representation, expressing the multirelational network inherent in the text.

  • Building Network Visualization Tools to Facilitate Metacognition in Complex Analysis
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    If whole communities of domain analysts are to be able to use interactive network visualization tools productively and efficiently, tool design needs to adequately support the metacognition implicit in complex visual analytic tasks. Metacognition for such exploratory network-mediated tasks applies across disciplines. This essay presents metacognitive demands inherent in complex tasks aimed at uncovering relevant relationships for hypothesizing purposes and proposes network visualization tool designs that can support these metacognitive demands.

  • Tell Them Anything but the Truth: They Will Find Their Own. How We Visualized the Map of the Future with Respect to the Audience of Our Story
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    This paper is part of a research project about the visualization of complex systems. More specifically, it focuses on the emerging need for a narrative approach in the understanding of complex networks.

  • Narcotic of the Narrative
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    Artist Ward Shelley works with charts and diagrams. In this article he describes his relationship to the work of Alfred Barr and to Barr's use of narrative structures to claim cultural authority for modern art.

  • Net-Working with Maciunas
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    The history of networking in art took on a new quality in the 1960s with George Maciunas. His sophisticated Fluxus diagrams link together the most heterogeneous knowledge cultures, artistic trends and artists. Later, in the 1980s, when the ascendancy of the computer launched the concept of the network it became clear that the social network had been one of the chief characteristics of Fluxus. In fact, Maciunas built up an international, but selective network of contacts, which he then subjected to the explosive potential of his pictorial representations.

  • Documenting Artistic Networks: Anna Oppermann's Ensembles Are Complex Networks!
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    Anna Oppermann's Ensembles are scale-free networks. This explains their robustness and legitimates the art critic's metaphors.

  • When the Rich Don't Get Richer: Equalizing Tendencies of Creative Networks
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    Analysis of the collaborative online environment The Pool suggests that inequalities in some creative networks may level out over time due to the long-term effects of user ratings.

  • Model Ideas: From Stem Cell Simulation to Floating Art Work
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    This paper discusses the role of models in the development of an interactive artwork made as the result of interdisciplinary collaboration. A variety of different types of model were used, each with different functions and status to the team.

  • Cybernetic Bacteria 2.0
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    The transdisciplinary art project Cybernetic Bacteria 2.0 brings together an artist, a philosopher, a microbiologist, an artificial life programmer and an interactive media specialist, to investigate the relationship of the emerging science of bacterial communication to our own digital communications networks, looking in particular at ‘packet data’ and bacterial quorum sensing. The project seeks to reflect the complexity of communication taking place at a microscopic level in comparison with human communication technologies such as the Internet.

  • The Mnemosyne Atlas and the Meaning of Panel 79 in Aby Warburg's Oeuvre as a Distributed Object
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    With his Mnemosyne Atlas Aby Warburg set out to find a revisionist method for studying art that surpassed its understanding through language. But his goal set up a new challenge. How does one comprehend what Warburg called an “art history without text” when he offered no explanation for its use? The following essay addresses this question utilizing a theoretical framework outlined by Alfred Gell in Art and Agency: Towards a New Anthropological Theory, which views an artist's output as a network of its creator's distributed personhood.

Leonardo Reviews

  • Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight by David A. Mindell. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2008. 456 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN-10: 0-262-13497-7
  • Premediation: Affect and Mediality after 9/11 by Richard Grusin. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, U.K., 2010. 208 pp. ISBN: 978-0-230-24251-7; 978-0-230-24252-4
  • Bring on the Books for Everybody: How Literary Culture Became Popular Culture by Jim Collins. Duke University Press, Durham, NC, U.S.A., 2010. 312 pp., illus. ISBN: 978-0-8223-4588-6; ISBN: 978-0-8223-4606-7
  • How to Catch a Robot Rat: When Biology Inspires Innovation by Agnès Guillot and Jean-Arcady Meyer; translated by Susan Emanuel. MIT Press, Cambridge, London, U.S.A., U.K., 2010. 232 pp., illus. ISBN: 978-0-262-01452-6
  • Photo-texts: Contemporary French Writing of the Photographic Image by Andy Stafford. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, U.K., 2010. 246 pp., illus. ISBN: 978-1-8463-1052-2
  • Blog Theory: Feedback and Capture in the Circuits of Drive by Jodi Dean. Polity Press, Cambridge, U.K., 2010. 140 pp. ISBN: 978-0-7456-4969-6; ISBN: 978-0-7456-4970-2
  • Dara Birnbaum: Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman by T.J. Demos. Afterall Books (One Work series), London, U.K., 2010. 112 pp., illus. ISBN-10: 1846380677; ISBN-13: 978-1846380679
  • Mapping Intermediality in Performance by Sarah Bay-Cheng, Chiel Kattenbelt, Andy Lavender and Robin Nelson. Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 2010. 304 pp. ISBN: 978-90-8964-255-4
  • Designing Things: A Critical Introduction to the Culture of Objects by Prasad Boradkar. Berg Publishers, Oxford, U.K., 2010. 336 pp., illus. ISBN: 978-1-84520-427-3
  • The Object Reader edited by Fiona Candlin and Raiford Guins. Routledge Taylor Francis Group, London and New York, 2009. 576 pp. ISBN-13: 978-0-415-45229-8
  • January 2011
  • December 2010

Leonardo Transactions

  • A Unified View of Models
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    This paper proposes a definition of models based on function, yielding a unified view of modeling as an art at work in any discipline.

  • Spectacle of the Masses: Characteristics of the Masses in MIOON's Works
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    The characteristics of masses have been researched widely in many fields, from the social sciences to economics. With the authors' early work, they focused their themes on the characteristics of “the mass” and its organic characteristics and tried to visualize its spectacular aspect.

  • Contingent Rule: Information Aesthetic, Performance and Hypermediacy
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    This paper proposes a model of information aesthetic performance in the context of hypermediacy. It addresses the need to consider the features of performance in recently emerging information visualization artwork. By analyzing an artwork, the real-time stock market data-based Contingent Rule, the authors discuss aesthetic effects of performance as well as information visualization. The proposed model could contribute to a better understanding of information visualization in terms of Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin's ‘hypermediacy.’ This research provides a new guideline for reviewing information visualization.

  • A Grin without a Cat: The Faciality of Electronic Art
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    This paper looks at electronic art as a new form, suggesting the term ‘faciality’. It is not simply for re-staging the invisible using the visible, but for provoking a fresh view on the discussion of electronic art in terms of reconsidering ideas and concepts of art and technology.

  • Social Media as a New Public Sphere
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    The information and communication technology system is constantly creating new scenarios, but a tendency in them can still be recognized: the blurring of the limits between consumers and producers and the passage from interactivity to participation (user generated contents, web 2.0, social networks). In this emerging cultural context, constantly redefined and remediated by individual and personalized forms of elaboration, it is important to understand the way in which every single person or group leads his/her own way towards reappropriation of the technological realm. The author aims to explore potential and real capacities of these new technologies to generate a new public sphere by analyzing an exemplary case study: the moblog communities in the megaphone.net project.

  • A Taste for the Beautiful
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    Bowerbirds are named for the structures they build, paint, and decorate. This photo essay documents the efforts of three species of Australian bowerbirds. The influence of sexual selection is pertinent, as the female bowerbird performs her concomitant function as art critic.

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