Leonardo, Volume 45, Issue 5

October 2012

Contents

Editorial

Artists' Article

  • Evoking Agency: Attention Model and Behavior Control in a Robotic Art Installation
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    Robotic embodiments of artificial agents seem to reinstate a body-mind dualism as consequence of their technical implementation, but could this supposition be a misconception? The authors present their artistic, scientific and engineering work on a robotic installation, the Articulated Head, and its perception-action control system, the Thinking Head Attention Model and Behavioral System (THAMBS). The authors propose that agency emerges from the interplay of the robot's behavior and the environment and that, in the system's interaction with humans, it is to the same degree attributed to the robot as it is grounded in the robot's actions: Agency cannot be instilled; it needs to be evoked.

  • Wolkenkuckucksheim: Art as Metaphor of the Mind
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    Wolkenkuckucksheim is a site-specific interactive computer installation created for the Cognitive Systems Group at the University of Bremen, Germany. It was conceived and implemented by the authors: an artist interested in the syntax of space and the semantics of materials, and a cognitive scientist investigating the cognitive implications of ubiquitous computing. The project unites the artistic approach of creating metaphors and the scientific approach of theoretical inquiry. In this essay, artist and scientist show in a dialogical manner how art and science gain complementary insights by working with the same cognitive tools.

Color Plates

Theoretical Perspective

  • Zombie Media: Circuit Bending Media Archaeology into an Art Method
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    This text is an investigation into media culture, temporalities of media objects and planned obsolescence in the midst of ecological crisis and electronic waste. The authors approach the topic under the umbrella of media archaeology and aim to extend this historiographically oriented field of media theory into a methodology for contemporary artistic practice. Hence, media archaeology becomes not only a method for excavation of repressed and forgotten media discourses, but extends itself into an artistic method close to Do-It-Yourself (DIY) culture, circuit bending, hardware hacking and other hacktivist exercises that are closely related to the political economy of information technology. The concept of dead media is discussed as “zombie media”—dead media revitalized, brought back to use, reworked.

Special Section: Nano: Art, Science, Tech

  • Special Section Introduction: The Images and Art of Nanotechnologies
  • Public Engagement and the Art of Nanotechnology
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    Nanotechnology art exhibitions provide more than a portal through which to enter the future world of nanotechnology. They also represent the state of nanotechnology in society today. This paper compares three exhibition forums that serve as representations of three of the most common genres of nanotechnology art (nanoart). These exhibition forums and their creators demonstrate distinct perspectives about what counts as engagement and how best to achieve it; they all attempt to persuade their publics that art can serve as a conduit for the creation of alternative nanofutures.

  • Very Small Horses: Visualizing Motion at the Nanoscale
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    The presentation of real-time data and animations can lead to new understanding and, in some cases, misunderstanding, of the phenomena represented. How can fundamental nanoscale structures, properties and responses be represented in data, motion and other forms? What are the keys to understanding, representing and sensing the nanoscale, and how do these differ from our intuition, which is based on our experience with macroscopic phenomena?

  • Images and Imaginations: An Exploration of Nanotechnology Image Galleries
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    Throughout the brief history of nanoscience and nanotechnology, the prominence of digital images and animations is noteworthy. Many appear in online image galleries that provide an important public interface for presenting and promoting scientific research. In this essay, the authors examine a selection of images from image galleries, identify some of their features and functions, and discuss how the artistic and scientific conventions used to present these images define nanotechnology for both researchers and members of the broader public.

  • The Role of Images and Art in Nanotechnology
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    The profusion of images following from the development of nanoscience/technology has coexisted with persistent confusion about how nano images work and what they mean in varying contexts. This article gives insights on some of the more pervasive images, how they can be categorized and what problems have occurred in efforts to use visual information in the exploration and confirmation of the nanoscale.

  • Nano in Sight: Epistemology, Aesthetics, Comparisons and Public Perceptions of Images of Nanoscale Objects
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    Images of atoms, molecules and other nanoscale objects constitute one of the principal ways of communicating scientific knowledge about nanotechnology, both within and beyond the scientific community. This paper reports on four kinds of insights from studies of nano images: (1) a critical epistemology of these images; (2) aesthetic interpretations intended to counterbalance problems identified in the epistemology; (3) comparisons with issues of visualization from other scientific areas; and (4) a consideration of how persons in the public interpret artistic pictures of nanobots. These insights demonstrate how the humanities and social sciences contribute to the understanding of nanotechnology.

Special Section of Leonardo Transactions: Digital Continuities

  • Introduction to Transactions—Digital Continuities
  • Art History 2.0?
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    The author develops a theory showing how archival technicity impacts art historical thinking. She describes an example of a web-based art critcal/contextual platform and indicates the prevalent theme of performativity in art history as per today's web-based archival imperative.

  • Network Art Unbound?
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    Internet art that visualizes data has art historical precedents that invite its critical effect to be engaged with as rhetoric and not only an accurate representation of a specific state of affairs. Art that opens an engagement with a representation of data as an iteration of an underlying system invites an awareness of the contingency of that system. The nature of the internet makes it an effective site for this to occur. Internet art may allow an awareness of how a system might become more ethical in the future.

  • Preventing Digital Casualties: An Interdisciplinary Research for Preserving Digital Art
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    There are practical problems associated with documentation, preservation, access, function, context and meaning of digital art. How do we care for similar works, and which are the theoretical and methodological challenges for curating and preserving digital art? Upon an ongoing case-based investigation of current digital and media art conservation practices at leading international museums, The author investigates how conservation for digital art could benefit from interdisciplinary synergies with Digital Preservation, Art Theory, and Information Management. A longer version of this paper entitled ‘Evolution and preservation of digital art: case studies from ZKM’, was presented at the Association of Art Historians (AAH) Conference 2010, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom.

  • Screens — The Place of the Image in Digital Culture
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    This article presents the theoretical framework, conceptual background, hypotheses and aims of ongoing research on the place of the image in digital culture. The author investigates how the new generic mode of display, the screen, affects the conception and the production of images, and how the myriad forms, uses and mobilities of urban screens contribute to the constitution of the shared space through which images and citizens circulate and communicate: the augmented city.

Transactions

  • Rediscovering the City with UrbanRemix
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    UrbanRemix is a collaborative and locative sound project. Participants record geo-tagged sounds on their mobile devices, explore and remix them through a web-based interface, and share them with professional DJs for live performances. This article discusses the background and goals of the project, its design and implementation, and its realization at several workshops and public events.

  • ShapeShift
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    ‘ShapeShift’ is an experiment in future possibilities of architectural materialization and ‘organic’ kinetics. The project explores the potential application of electro-active polymer (EAP) at an architectural scale. EAP offers a new relationship to space facilitated through its unique combination of qualities. It is an ultra-lightweight, flexible material with the ability to change shape without the need for mechanical actuators. The thesis project was realized in September 2010 by Edyta Augustynowicz, Sofia Georgakopulou, Dino Rossi and Stefanie Sixt and supervised by Manuel Kretzer at the Chair for Computer Aided Architectural Design, ETH Zürich and the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Science (EMPA), Dübendorf.

  • The Uncanny Automaton
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    A recent body of work exploring the uncanny in relation to the automaton has been completed in concurrence with the Doctor of Creative Arts, UWS, 2011. This extract of the doctoral paper details the concepts of inquiry, art works produced, audience response in the form of critical reviews and conclusion.

  • Connecting Silos - Inviting Art and Science Interactions
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    In tertiary education in Australia there are often clear divisions between disciplines defined by hierarchy that is established for administrative purposes. These purposes often conflict with notions of trans-disciplinary study by creating an environment of competition rather than one of collaboration. Through this project we brought together science and art by developing a ‘hands on’ workshop where scientists and artists explored tools and techniques from unfamiliar disciplines. Collaborative projects and self emersion post workshop resulted in an exhibition of outcomes. The development of these outcomes challenged both artists and scientists to explore their discipline boundaries and connectivity by using tools and knowledge in unique ways.

  • deviantArt in Spotlight: A network of Artists
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    deviantART is the largest online community of user-generated artworks. So far, a scholarly study of deviantART has been missing. The main goal of this paper is to describe several tools for the network analysis of this community and to propose future research directions for understanding this collaborative and autonomous art venue.

Leonardo Reviews

  • Modernism after Wagner by Juliet Koss. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, U.S.A., London, U.K., 2009. 416 pp., illus. Trade, paper. ISBN: 978-0-8166-5158-0; ISBN 978-0-8166-5159-7
  • How to Do Things with Videogames by Ian Bogost. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A., 2011. 192 pp. Trade, paper. ISBN: 978-0-8166-7646-0; ISBN: 978-0-8166-7647-7
  • Players Unleashed! Modding The Sims and the Culture of Gaming by Tanja Sihvonen. Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam, Holland, 2011. 224 pp., illus. Paperback. ISBN: 978-90-8964-2011
  • What Is Science? by Sundar Sarukkai, National Book Trust, India, New Delhi, 2012. 225 pp. Paper. ISBN: 978-81-237-6367-5
  • Number Crunching: Taming Unruly Computational Problems from Mathematical Physics to Science Fiction by Paul J. Nahin, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, U.S.A. 2011. 400 pp. ISBN: 978-0-691-14425-2; ISBN: 978-1-400-839582
  • Green Light: Toward an Art of Evolution by George Gessert, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2010. 192 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 978-0-262-01414-4
  • Helmholtz: From Enlightenment to Neuroscience by Michel Meulders; edited and translated by Laurence Garey. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2010. 264 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 978-0-262-01448-9
  • Divining a Digital Future: Mess and Mythology in Ubiquitous Computing by Paul Dourish and Genevieve Bell. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2011. 264 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 978-0-262-01555-4
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