Leonardo, Volume 46, Issue 4

August 2013

Contents

Editorial

ACM SIGGRAPH Lifetime Achievement Award

Art Papers

  • Art Papers Jury
  • Hybrid Basketry: Interweaving Digital Practice within Contemporary Craft
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    Contemporary 3D printing and traditional craft rarely meet in the same creation. They tend to live in different worlds. In this paper, the author argues for merging these two distinct traditions. To that end, he developed hybrid basketry, a medium where 3D-printed structures are shaped to allow the growth and development of hand-woven patterns. While the 3D-printed plastic elements contribute the aesthetics of the digital curvatures and manifolds, the hand-woven reed, jute, and canvas fibers infuse the baskets with a unique organic appeal. The author discusses his motivation, describes the making process, and presents four hybrid baskets, integrating a deeper discussion on the place of craft and tradition within our contemporary approach to design and fabrication.

  • KIMA - A Holographic Telepresence Environment Based on Cymatic Principles
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    KIMA is a holographic surround-sound installation that visualizes telepresence as both a phonetic and a synaesthetic phenomenon. The performance piece is based on the physical conditions of cymatics-the study of physically visible sound wave patterns. Two environments, a quad surround and a holographic interface, build the framework of a telematic experience that illustrates communication as wave forms while focusing on the relationship between sound and matter.

  • Null By Morse: Historical Optical Communication to Smartphones
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    Null By Morse is an installation artwork that incorporates a military signaling lamp and smartphones. A series of Morse messages is transmitted automatically by the signal lamp. The messages are drawn from the history of Morse and telegraphy. A custom app for iPhone and Android uses the phone's camera to identify the changing light levels of the lamp and the associated timings. The app then decodes the Morse and displays the message on the screen on top of the camera image. This paper discusses the artwork in relation to the following theoretical aspects: It contextualizes the position of smartphones in the history of optical communication. It proposes an approach to smartphones in media art that moves away from futurist perspectives whose fundamental approach is to seek to creatively exploit the latest features. Lastly, it discusses the interaction with the phone in the exhibition context in terms of slow technology.

  • Ut Pictura Poesis: Drawing into Space
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    In 1735, Leonard Euler presented a solution to the practical problem of whether a route could be plotted to cross each of seven bridges in Königsberg once. His negative solution used the simplest of mark-making strategies to resolve a conceptual problem. Euler did not actually cross the town's bridges, but used them to resolve questions of connectivity, after which diagrammatic representations can be seen as the restructuring of logical problems to allow for inductive reasoning, for fruitful application beyond theory. But what if such a working graphic has as its target something that is simply incomprehensible? What are the upper limits of the denotational logic of such diagrams? This paper presents a drawing-research project that tests the cognitive advantages of technical graphics by directly engaging with things that cannot be made easier to understand through their use.

  • The Electric “Now Indigo Blue”: Synthetic Color and Video Synthesis Circa 1969
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    Circa 1969, a few talented electrical engineers and pioneering video artists built video synthesizers capable of generating luminous and abstract psychedelic colors that many believed to be cosmic and revolutionary, and in many ways they were. Drawing on archival materials from Boston's WGBH archives and New York's Electronics Arts Intermix, this paper analyzes this early history in the work of electronics engineer Eric Siegel and Nam June Paik's and Shuya Abe's Paik/Abe Video Synthesizer, built at WGBH in 1969. The images produced from these devices were, as Siegel puts it, akin to a “psychic healing medium” used to create “mass cosmic consciousness, awakening higher levels of the mind, [and] bringing awareness of the soul.” While such radical and cosmic unions have ultimately failed, these unique color technologies nonetheless laid the foundation for colorism in the history of electronic computer art.

  • The Emergence and Growth of Evolutionary Art - 1980–1993
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    One of the most interesting-if frustrating-aspects of charting the history of computer art is trying to understand the intersections of specific technologies and artistic experimentation. It is rarely as clear-cut as a simple linear influence of one to the other, partly because artists are able to envision all kinds of possibilities that technology might enable them to realize in some kind of form, but as they do so, the technology is itself shaped, especially in terms of how it is perceived by others. Do artists find a way to give technologies an aesthetic outlet, or do some technologies possess-or facilitate-a characteristic aesthetic that finds its expression through specific artists? Certainly, in the history of computer art it would seem that particular aesthetics, technologies, and artists are closely intertwined in certain periods. This intertwining of art, technology, and ideas stolen from the natural world has never been so arguably merged as the period in the history of computer art from 1980 to 1993. We take as the defining start of this period the initial work of Mandelbrot on fractals that became known as the Mandelbrot set and led to his famous illustrated art-science book The Fractal Geometry of Nature. In 1993, this first highly creative period in evolutionary computer art came to an end with major publications by pioneers Karl Sims, Stephen Todd, and William Latham.

  • Early History of French CG
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    This paper provides an historical summary of the emergence of computer graphics research and creation in France between 1970 and 1990, a period of innovation that transformed artistic practice and French visual media. The paper shows the role of these developments in the history of art, the evolution of digital technology, and the expansion of animation and visual effects in the film industry.

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