Leonardo, Volume 45, Issue 2

April 2012

Contents

Editorial

Artist's Articles

  • Complexity as Practice: A Reflection on the Creative Outcomes of a Sustained Engagement with Complexity
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    This article presents a reflection on a body of creative work carried out during four years of Ph.D. research that explored the relationship between complexity theory and music. The article highlights conceptual problems that arose during the creation of the work, especially those associated with the exploration of scientific models for the creation of art. The author does not attempt to offer any final solutions but rather presents the journey undertaken through the combined artistic and research practice as a way of documenting the strategies he developed during this period of creative practice.

  • Visual Communication in Times of Crisis: The Fukushima Nuclear Accident
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    This paper follows the development of visual communication through information visualization in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan. While information aesthetics are often applied to large data sets retrospectively, the author developed new works concurrently with an ongoing crisis to examine the impact and social aspects of visual communication while events continued to unfold. The resulting work, Fukushima Nuclear Accident—Radiation Comparison Map, is a reflection of rapidly acquired data, collaborative on-line analysis and reflective criticism of contemporary news media, resolved into a coherent picture through the participation of an on-line community.

Color Plates

General Articles

  • Representing, Performing and Mitigating Climate Change in Contemporary Art Practice
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    Over the last quarter-century, an increasing number of artists have been variously engaging the public in artworks addressing the anthropogenic phenomenon known as climate change. Focusing specifically on works developed in the fields of visual arts, performance and new media, and on a body of theory attempting to distinguish between terms such as nature, landscape, weather, climate and environment, this article aims to offer an exploration of how these works, by adopting, often concurrently, three strategies—representation, performance and mitigation—affect our understanding of our changing relationship to nature and climate.

  • Mutable Matter: Using Sensory Methods in Public Engagement with Nanotechnology
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    Mutable Matter is an experimental public engagement pilot program that seeks to enable non-scientists to explore and co-imagine the future of nanotechnology. Located at the intersection of geography, science communication and art practice, Mutable Matter is intended as a starting point for examining playful sensory engagement methods bridging tangible public and intangible scientific spaces. The project both challenges the role of non-scientists as mere commentators on pre-decided innovation trajectories and draws attention to the way scientific information is creatively encountered in the public realm.

  • The Seeing Machine Camera: An Artistic Tool for the Visually Challenged Conceived by a Visually Challenged Artist
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    The Vision Group at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed the Seeing Machine Camera (SMC) under the direction of Elizabeth Goldring, a visually challenged artist. The SMC is an innovative tool that enables artistic expression for those with decreased vision. The camera enhances the ability to see the face of a loved one, look at a painting in a museum, photograph landscapes or create digital artwork. For visually challenged artists who may feel isolated from their visual world, the SMC provides an opportunity to connect to the people around them, enjoy a greater sense of independence and expand their creativity.

Technical Article

  • Computer Analysis Reveals Similarities between the Artistic Styles of Van Gogh and Pollock
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    Recent advances in computer vision and image processing have enabled basic automatic analysis of visual art. The author uses computer analysis to extract thousands of low-level numerical image content descriptors from digitized paintings, which are then used to compare objective levels of similarity between the artistic styles of different painters. The analysis reveals that Vincent Van Gogh's and Jackson Pollock's artistic styles are far more similar to each other in terms of low-level image features than Pollock's work is to that of other painters'. This report also proposes that this methodology is useful in quantifying similarities between painters or artistic styles based on large sets of numerical image content descriptors and for detecting influential links not easily detected by the unaided eye.

Theoretical Perspective

  • Multistable Perception of Art-Science Imagery
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    How do artists, scientists and artist-scientists view images, and how does their cultural background affect their interpretation? The author proposes that artist-scientists may exhibit cultural multistability, akin to the perceptual multistability associated with viewing visual illusions such as the Necker cube. After carrying out a survey, the author suggests that all individuals may exhibit cultural multistability in response to a challenging image. The author postulates a tendency of artist-scientists to use textural descriptions and discusses coming to see her own images in a new light.

Extended Abstract

  • Generative Music and Cellular Automata: An Introduction to the Online Bibliography
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    A full version of this bibliography is available online as part of Leonardo Art, Science and Technology Bibliographies. Select references for Generative Music and Cellular Automata are presented.

Leonardo Reviews

  • FASTWÜRMS DONKY@NINJA@WITCH: A Living Retrospective by Philip Monk. The Art Gallery of York University, Toronto, ON, Canada, 2011. 112 pp., illus. ISBN: 978-0-921972-60-0
  • Apichatpong Weerasethakul: Primitive New Museum, 19/05/11–3/07/2011. Curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Associate Director and Director of Exhibitions, with Gary Carrion-Murayari, Associate Curator. Exhibit address: www.newmuseum.org/exhibitions/439
  • East Bay Open Studios Preview Exhibition Pro Arts Gallery, Oakland, California, 3 May–12 June 2011 and East Bay Open Studios 2011, 4–5 and 11–12 June 2011. Gallery web site: www.proartsgallery.org/ebos/index.php
  • Bauhaus Dream-house—Modernity and Globalization by Katerina Rüedi Ray. Routledge, New York, NY, 2010. 228 pp. Paper. ISBN: 978-0-415-47582-2
  • Celluloid Symphonies: Texts and Contexts in Film Music History edited by Julie Hubbert. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, 2011. 508 pp. Trade, paper. ISBN: 978-0-520241-01-5; ISBN: 978-0-520241-022
  • The History of Jungle Gardens edited by Lisa B. Osborn, Shane K. Bernard and Scott Carroll. Jungle Gardens, Inc. Avery Island, LA, U.S.A., 2010. 120 pp. Trade. ISBN: 978-0-615-3211-7
  • The Secret War between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine by Peter Lunenfeld. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2011. 144 pp. Trade. ISBN-13: 978-0-262-01547-9
  • The Horizon: A History of Our Infinite Longing by Didier Maleuvre. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, U.S.A., 2011. 392 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 9780520267435
  • Design Thinking: Understanding How Designers Think and Work by Nigel Cross, Berg Publishers, Oxford, U.K., 2011. 192 pp., illus. Paper. ISBN: 978-1-84-788636-1
  • Arnheim for Film and Media Studies edited by Scott Higgins. Routledge, London, U.K., 2011. 283 pp., illus. Trade, paper. ISBN: 978-0-415-80107-2; ISBN: 978-0-415-80108-9
  • Grafik Dynamo by Kate Armstrong and Michael Tippett, with essay by Joseph Tabbi. The Prairie Gallery, Alberta, Canada, 2010. 48 pp., illus. ISBN: 978-0-9780646-2-4
  • Zones of Re-membering: Time, Memory, and (un)Consciousness by Don Gifford; edited by D.E. Morse. Rodopi Amsterdam, New York, NY, 2011. 157 pp. Paper. ISBN: 978-90-420-3259-0
  • Affect and Artificial Intelligence by Elizabeth A. Wilson. University of Washington Press, Seattle, WA, 2010. In Vivo The Cultural Mediations of Biomedical Science Series. 200 pp., illus. Trade, paper. ISBN: 780295990514; ISBN: 978-0-295-99047-7
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • September 2011

Special Section of Leonardo Transactions: Lovely Weather

  • Lovely Weather: Reflecting on the Letterkenny Donegal Art Climate Residencies and Exhibition
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    The Lovely Weather Donegal Residencies was a Leonardo/Olats art-and-climate project that took place in Donegal, Ireland, in 2010. In this paper, the curator reflects on the art-science-local communities approach taken as a basis for the residencies and the results of the process, which caused her in the end to reconsider the universal versus the specific context for creation.

  • World-Wide-Walks / between earth sky / Dun na nGall
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    The World-Wide-Walks explore natural/cultural/virtual identities: mixed realities that encompass walking in physical environments and virtually surfing the Web. The first of these projects, The Walk Series, was initiated by Peter d'Agostino in 1973 as video documentation/performances. World-Wide-Walks / between earth sky / Dun na nGall is a video/web sculptural installation informed by environmental arts and sciences and local knowledge. It is one of the five Lovely Weather: Art and Climate Change public art projects commissioned by Regional Cultural Centre/Donegal County Council Public Art Office in partnership with Leonardo/Olats: www.peterdagostino.net/WorldWideWalks/Donegal.

  • Wool is 44% Carbon
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    Carbon Footprint is one of the Lovely Weather Donegal Residencies projects initiated by Leonardo/Olats and the Regional Cultural Centre of Donegal. It is a process-based work using Inishowen sheep wool and hand spinning as the primary metaphors to articulate the intrinsic relationship between climate change and economics. This project works to rejuvenate the use of local wool and low-tech/slow-tech making by returning the site of production to the individual. This frames the material and making as political acts, de-coupling the link between green house gas emissions and gross domestic product.

  • The Irish Rover: Looking for Mars Off the Northern Coast of Ireland
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    For our Lovely Weather Residency project in County Donegal, the League of Imaginary Scientists teamed up with NASA's Athena Science Team and County Donegal to pair a location on Mars with an island in Ireland. We then probed the connections between these newly associated points on Mars and Earth in an art project meshing climate study, adventure and storytelling.

  • WeatherProof
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    As part of the Lovely Weather project, artist and environmental scientist Antony Lyons undertook a rural science and art residency project examining the relationships between the locality of the River Finn Valley, County Donegal, Ireland and the processes of climate change. The local countryside is, in many ways, enmeshed in the wider global systems. At the core of the project was the quest for new avenues of communication and dialogue—through revealing unseen and metaphorical connections—enabling the local community and others to engage with the global issues, and the science, in a meaningful way. A research-based ‘deep-mapping’ approach was used. Art installations were developed, and there now exists a platform for some locally grounded sustainable development initiatives to emerge.

  • Marbh Chrios
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    Marbh Crhios (Dead Zone) is a multimedia artwork, part of the Lovely Weather Donegal Residencies Project, that reflects upon climate change in the context of a local community in Killybegs in County Donegal, Ireland. The work was based on scientific data about contested marine ‘dead zones’ that the authors represented with algorithmically generated music, sonifications and visualizations in a live performance in Mooney's Boatyard in Killybegs, involving three local ensembles.

  • Sheltering from the Storm—Artistic Residencies and Environmental Crisis
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    Conditions of crisis can be fertile soil for social transformation. The Lovely Weather project in Donegal, northwest Ireland, brought artists into residence in localities where changing socio-economic and awareness of shifting environmental conditions opened up space for different cooperative relations. Donegal, bounded by the Atlantic, sitting between the north and south of Ireland, is an ambiguous in-between region with strong yet undervalued traditions relating to the sea and land. Drawing from a keynote presentation, this paper considers how residency models can dynamically connect poetics of place with broader environmental influences.

  • Lovely Weather Donegal Residencies: Art and Climate Change as Public Art Project
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    The Lovely Weather Donegal Residencies is a joint project between the Donegal County Council/DCC, the Regional Cultural Centre Letterkenny/RCC and Leonardo/Olats. It is part of a larger Public Art programme of the DCC that focuses on meaningful collaborative projects with local communities.

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