Leonardo, Volume 47, Issue 3

June 2014

Contents

Editorial

Artist's Note

  • Computer Virus Sculptures and the Science That Inspired Them
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    This article explores the remarkable shape and structure of biological viruses through the lens of sculptures composed of parts from discarded computers. The science that inspired these sculptures is briefly reviewed. Collectively, these artworks are called the Computer Virus Sculpture series.

Color plates

Artist's Article

  • Mirror Brain: Picture and Experience
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    The installation Mirror Brain was developed by artist Elisabeth Weissensteiner and neurobiologist Dorothea Brückner at the University of Bremen, Germany, where it was launched. The installation, a contemporary work of hybrid art, establishes a philosophical play with viewers-turned-actors rather than an interpretation of neuroscience. Thus it provides a metaphor—a mirro—for the role of neurobiology in science and in art. Based on the project, this paper elaborates on how artistic and scientific depiction differ from each other.

General Articles

  • Toward an Algorithmic Realism: The Evolving Nature of Astronomical Knowledge in Representations of the Non-Visible
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    This paper explores the gathering of radio, optical and electromagnetic wavelength data in assembling images of the Crab Nebula (1844–2000). The author considers the expanding fields of astronomical and astrophysical knowledge to which such data analysis has given rise. She suggests that the data that makes such imaging possible moves us further from conventions of the optical real toward an algorithmic realism, alluding to time-scales that delimit and circumvent human time. Thus Cartesian metaphysics is displaced—the human becomes one agent among many in a process of algorithmic inference.

  • Endangered: A Study of Morphological Drawing in Zoological Taxonomy
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    Drawing has long been the backbone of zoological taxonomy. Recently, however, morphological drawing has quietly fallen into a critical decline and is now an endangered practice. The author discusses the reasons for this decline and why morphological drawing is worth saving.

  • Modes of Address in Pictorial Art: An Eye Movement Study of Manet's Bar at the Folies-Bergère
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    Art-historical accounts of the last 200 years identify developments in the types, or “modes,” of address that a picture can present to a viewer as critical to the experience and evaluation of paintings. The authors focus on “anti-theatrical” theories of pictorial address and the complex and innovative “double relation” of absorption and acknowledgment introduced by the painter Edouard Manet. They report a case study of Manet's A Bar at the Folies-Bergère investigating expert and novice spectators' eye movements and utterances in response to the painting to find evidence that viewers seek resolution of the complex “double relation” that the theories describe.

General Note

  • Alan Turing's Drawings, Autopoiesis and Can Buildings Think?
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    Alan Turing decoded nature in drawings and algorithmic programming. His botanical decryptions helped situate synthetic AI/ALife processes in digital realms now encompassing algorithmic simulation. These little-known drawings prompted the author's analysis via Maturana and Varela's theory of autopoiesis because of its emphasis on self-organization and minimal requirements for life. Autopoiesis, if hybridized with Andy Clark's extended cognition, then supports an underpinning hypothesis for generative architecture. Together, the theory and drawings propel design research, leading to the question: Can buildings think?—reprocessing Turing's original question: “Can machines think?” This paper thus situates Turing's 1950s' nature-to-computation images as unacknowledged design patrimony appropriated for generative architecture derived from nature and implemented via autopoietic-extended design.

Transactions

  • Abstract Art as a Universal Language?
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    The concept of abstract art as “world language” became famous after documenta II (1959). Abstract art was considered as universally comprehensible and independent of cultural, political or historical contexts. However, this was never explicitly tested empirically. If these assumptions were true, there should be higher intersubjective coherence in perceiving abstract paintings compared to representational art. In order to test this hypothesis, the authors recorded the eye-movements of 38 participants and collected information on their cognitive and emotional evaluations. The results suggest that the concept of abstract art as a universal language was not confirmed and needs to be revised.

  • Rhythms of Kinesthetic Empathy
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    This paper focuses on the rhythmic interrelationships between the sensing body and the sensing computer. The author proposes that the term kinesthetic empathy provides a useful way of deepening our understanding of feedback and control rhythms.

  • The Serial Collaborator: A Meta-Pianist for Real-Time Tonal and Non-Tonal Music Generation
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    Serial music, which is mainly non-tonal, superimposes compositional freedom onto an unusually rigorous process of pitch-sequence transformations based on ‘tone rows’: a row is usually a sequence of notes using each of the 12 chromatic pitches once. Compositional freedom comprises forming chords from the sequences, and in multi-strand music, also in simultaneously presenting different segments of pitch-sequences. The present project coded a real-time serial music composer for automatic or interactive music performance. This Serial Keyboardist Collaborator can perform keyboard music which is impossible for a human to realize. Surprisingly, it was also useful in making more tonal music based on the same rigorous pitch-sequence generation.

  • Adventures in ASCII Art
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    This is an account of the author's three-and-a-half decade obsession with ASCII art in which he progresses from a manual typewriter to computers, pixel shaders, real-time animation, and a new variant of color ASCII art that can be reproduced on a manual typewriter using only three or four colored ribbons.

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

  • Arts, Humanities and Complex Networks: Introduction
  • Computer Music Network
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    The social climate and cultural atmosphere of the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 70's early 80's plus the emergence of the nascent microcomputer industry made for a social network and approach that fostered the creation of a new type of collaborative electronic music ensemble with techniques that have come to be known as “Computer Music Network”. A transformation from initial heterogeneous to a more homogeneous underlying paradigm has brought with it aesthetic questions about the reason and evolution of this new genre.

  • Mind the Graph: From Visualization to Collaborative Network Constructions
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    Social and Human Sciences have recently discovered the potential of a hybrid research process, where the specificity of design knowledge and the peculiarity of design thinking can be exploited. Two ongoing experiences demonstrate how - after a first stage where Communication Design has been placed at the end of a linear sequence from data to prototypes - a more integrated and collaborative research process can be established, building on the proclivity of humanities scholars to mingle thinking and making.

  • Collectivizing the Barr Model
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    The authors use data from Wikipedia to build a graph visualization of the evolution of artistic styles inspired by Alfred H. Barr's poster for the 1936 Cubism Abstract Art exhibition. Drawing from Wikipedia articles about persons and art styles, the authors construct a bi-partite network based on their mutual hyperlinks and assume relationships between styles if their respective articles are bridged by hyperlinks to and from person articles. The resulting visualization extends its model with respect to the number of covered styles, thus embedding it within a larger art-historical perspective as seen through the lens of Wikipedia.

  • A Cookbook of Cinematic Delicacies That Do Not Expire
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    Despite the increasing number of film rankings that are created on the basis of economic considerations, critical acclaim, or personal taste, cinema lacks the means to quantify the long-term success of films. The authors therefore propose a novel approach to the analysis of cinematic influences which is based on a film citation network that is extracted from a large data base. The resulting top list of films is more diverse in terms of the main creators, genre, actors, and technical specifications than a representative selection of personal favorite lists, voting lists, lists of individual experts, or lists deduced from expert polls.

  • Linked Sources: A Network Approach to the Repertory of Sixteenth-Century Polyphony
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    This paper presents the first results of the author's PhD research on how network theory can help musicology to understand the formation and transmission of musical repertories in the sixteenth century.

  • Delayed Dynamic in Genre Emergence
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    We present a model of style emergence based on flocking models. The system stabilizes in states with several non-interacting genres or style clusters, and the delayed dynamic yields more styles than the non-delayed ones.

  • Dynamic Visualization of Networks
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    Networks found in nature, culture and technology are dynamic in multiple ways. This poses several challenges to the field of networks visualization that, in general, has been representing networks with fixed layouts. By depicting networks statically, not only are the dynamic properties lost, it is also difficult to read basic properties such as the number of connections between nodes. The author proposes a series of interactive techniques to visualize networks, aimed to reveal their dynamic and organic nature.

  • A Community Under Attack: Protestant Letter Networks in the Reign of Mary I
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    This article uses mathematical and computational techniques to reconstruct and analyze the social and textual organization of the underground community of Protestants living in England during the reign of Mary I from 289 surviving letters.

  • The Communion of Saints: Networks and Iconography
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    This paper analyzes the co-occurrence network of saints in the corpus of images of St. Francis from 1230 to 1320 AD. The network of saints grows by preferential attachment reflecting the intercessory function of the artwork. The network, therefore, highlights important connections between intellectual and physical culture.

  • Hybrids Are Hubs: Transdisciplinarity, the Two Cultures and the Special Status of Artscientists
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    Much has been said and written about the two-culture paradigm separating the world between artists and scientists. On one side of this debate are those who accept this cultural art/science divide. On the other side are those who reject it altogether to promote a better integration of artscience practices. In this paper, the author presents a network analysis of 40 papers submitted to the SEAD Network for Science, Engineering, Arts and Design and tests the hypothesis that the papers submitted by artists and scientists are disconnected in the corresponding graph, as predicted by the art/science separation. Rejecting this hypothesis will provide support for the alternative artscience integration.

  • Digitally Researching the Network Drawings of Mark Lombardi
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    The authors do digital research on the work of artist Mark Lombardi (1951–2000) as an experiment in methods for digital art history, manually generating GraphML representations of the networks depicted in his drawings and publishing them at http://www.lombardinetworks.net. Services on the data are implemented like textual search on labels of nodes or an index on what persons or institutions appear in which works. The networks are visualized with nodes linked to Wikipedia information about the actors. With calculations on the networks the authors generate synthetic drawings from multiple original works that overlap in actors.

Special Section of Leonardo Transactions: 3rd Art and Science International Exhibition and Symposium, Beijing, 2012 (Part 2)

  • Re-Imagining Utopias: The Bat/Human Project
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    The making of the modern world has long been fuelled by utopian images that are blind to ecological reality. Botanical gardens are but one example - who typically portray themselves as miniature, isolated ‘edens on earth’, whereas they are now in many cases self-evidently also the vital ‘lungs’ of crowded cities, as well as critical habitats for threatened biodiversity. In 2010 the ‘Remnant Emergency Art lab’ set out to question utopian thinking through a creative provocation called the ‘Botanical Gardens ‘X-Tension’ - an imagined city-wide, distributed, network of ‘ecological gardens’ suited to both bat and human needs, in order to ask, what now needs to be better understood, connected and therefore ultimately conserved.

  • A Study of Sustainable Techniques in Chinese Traditional Microenvironment Design—Taking Natural Ventilation as an Example
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    This paper analyzes the physical, spiritual and cultural mechanisms of the national ventilation techniques in Chinese traditional microenvironment design and points out that traditional ventilation techniques not only include the physical technical means, but also are adept in comprehensively mobilizing other human sensory factors in addition to the sense of touch to create a place that is wholesome, comfortable and spiritually pleasing, thereby reaching a very high spiritual state in the end. This construction outlook uses “heaven and earth as buildings” and “houses as clothes” and the result derived from an environment outlook that features equality between man and nature.

  • Symbolic Practice of Rural Sanitation Science Popularization in the Period of Collectivization
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    In the period of collectivization, the New China government carried out extensive sanitation science popularization in rural areas. The rural sanitation science popularization in the period highlighted the practical functions of sanitation in health improvement and, at the same time, vested sanitation with rich meanings and make it a symbol of rich meanings. The operation of such symbolized rural science popularization was the core strategy for the rural sanitation science popularization in the period.

  • Neuroaesthetics Research in the Construction of Chinese Character Art
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    The cognitive mechanism of the brain's visual nerves is the inherent biological basis for the artistic creation and aesthetics of Chinese characters, which has a profound and even decisive influence on the visual construction and cultural communication of Chinese character art. It is mainly manifested in the neural perception model of the forms of Chinese characters, the abstraction and integration instinct of biological visuals, the neural cognition of enhanced adaptability and the neural mirror of aesthetic psychological space, which is the source of formulating the rules of Chinese character art, which is a combination of font and meaning.

Leonardo Reviews

  • Understanding Pain: Exploring the Perception of Pain by Fernando Cervero. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2012. 192 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 978-0-262-01804-3
  • After Art by David Joselit. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, U.S.A., 2013. 136 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 978-0-691-1504-4
  • How Things Shape the Mind: A Theory of Material Engagement by Lambros Malafouris. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2013. 304 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 978-0-262-01919-4
  • The Heretical Archive: Digital Memory at the End of Film by Domietta Torlasco. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, 2013. 160 pp., illus. Trade, paper. ISBN: 978-0-8166-8109-9; ISBN: 978-0-8166-8110-5
  • “Raw Data” Is an Oxymoron edited by Lisa Gitelman. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2013. 208 pp., illus. Paper. ISBN: 9780262518284
  • Visual Histories: Photography in the Popular Imagination by Malavika Karlekar. Oxford University Press, New Delhi, India, 2013. 174 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 9780198090267
  • Surrealist Ghostliness by Katharine Conley. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, U.S.A., 2013. 320 pp., illus. Trade. ISBN: 978-0-8032-2659-3
  • 700 Artists' Processes by Maxime Chanson; foreword by Alexandre Quoi. Les presses du reel, Dijon, France, 2013. 94 pp. Trade. ISBN: 9782916067889
  • Insect Media: An Archaeology of Animals and Technology by Jussi Parikka. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A., 2010. 320 pp., illus. Trade, paper. ISBN: 978-0-8166-6739-0; ISBN: 978-0-8166-6740-6
  • January 2014
  • December 2013
  • November 2013

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