Leonardo, Volume 48, Issue 3

June 2015

Contents

Editorial

Leonardo Gallery

Artist’s Articles

  • Drapely-o-lightment: An Algorithmic Approach to Designing for Drapability in an E-Textile Garment
    Get at MIT Press

    Drapely-o-lightment is a skirt created as an exploration of the integration of electronics and clothing. This prototype was made as a tool for research into design techniques that work well with components that conform to today’s standards for the manufacturing of electronics. The design takes into account not only the inclusion of squares in the visual design but also the tactile and visual properties of hard components in a traditionally soft medium. The fabric colors were chosen based on the OLED light effects. The skirt is the result of a collaboration between hightech fashion, corporate electronics and academic industrial design.

  • Real-Time Hallucination Simulation and Sonification through User-Led Development of an iPad Augmented Reality Performance
    Get at MIT Press

    The simulation of visual hallucinations has multiple applications. The authors present a new approach to hallucination simulation, initially developed for a performance, that proved to have uses for individuals suffering from certain types of hallucinations. The system, originally developed with a focus on the visual symptoms of palinopsia experienced by the lead author, allows real-time visual expression using augmented reality via an iPad. It also allows the hallucinations to be converted into sound through visuals sonification. Although no formal experimentation was conducted, the authors report on a number of unsolicited informal responses to the simulator from palinopsia sufferers and the Palinopsia Foundation.

General Articles

  • Art, Virtual Worlds and the Emergent Imagination
    Get at MIT Press

    This paper presents a framework for the emergent imagination that arises out of the transitional spaces created in avatar-mediated online space. Through four categories of transitional space identified in artworks created in virtual worlds, the paper argues that, as the virtual remains connected to time, the imagination becomes connected to space. The author’s analysis of the imaginative effects of artworks presented in the two virtual (and physical) gallery exhibitions of the Kritical Works in SL project demonstrates a mode of artistic exploitation of the particular combination of user-generated and avatar-mediated space.

  • Like Windows to Another World: Constructing a Systematic Typology of Pictorial Mediums
    Get at MIT Press

    Recent developments in image technology have significantly expanded the range of existing pictorial mediums. Painting, photography and film have been joined by video games, holograms and augmented reality, while newer technologies keep appearing. Given this growing variety of new mediums, what does the term medium even mean today? Is it possible to categorize them into a systematic typology of pictorial mediums? This article approaches these issues by reconsidering the meaning of medium. It builds on Leon Battista Alberti’s metaphor of a painting as a window to another world and explores what types of windows there might be.

  • The Image of the Change: From the I Ching to the Evolution of Chaos
    Get at MIT Press

    This article is dedicated to artistic explorations of change, with the I Ching (The Book of Changes) as a stepping stone. The author uses modern mathematics to identify the basic types of change in the I Ching codes and to build a bottom-up I Ching systemization with an associated aesthetic principle. Moreover, the author introduces other (chaotic) types of change to sparsely fill the gap between the basic I Ching orders and the ultimate Change, allowing artistic speculation reflecting the evolution of many types of change by means of digital simulations, 3D volumetric display, etc.

Special Section of Leonardo Transactions: Agency in Movement, Part 2

  • Agency in Movement, Part 2: Introduction
  • Living (on) Dust: Around the Globe with Mineral Particles Microbial Hitchhikers
    Get at MIT Press

    Moving dust is full of life, but this life is not what makes it move. The force of dust is manifested in its local and global movement. Since the establishment of the germ theory of disease, dust has been mainly viewed in negative terms as being invisibly threatening and visibly distressful. Yet, all along, there has been another view on dust positively validating its presence in the atmosphere linked to meteorological events crucial for life. With the increasing awareness of the impact of dust on the global ecology of land, water and air, mobilizing dust is becoming a matter of politics in areas such as geoengineering.

  • National Vitality, Migrant Abjection, and Coercive Mobility: The Biopolitical History of American Deportation
    Get at MIT Press

    The United States has one of the world’s most extensive systems of mass removal. Its historical roots draw on 19th century biopolitical traditions of border control and internal anti-immigrant policing. In the early 20th century, rail technologies enabled an economical assemblage of steel and law, of racism and politics, attempting national purification by expelling ‘undesirable aliens.’ The process differentiated between the categories of privileged citizenship and abject alienage. The possibilities of national cleansing through deportation allowed new modes of sovereign governance, defined territories, and controlled populations—foundational aspects of modern nationhood.

  • Factors Controlling Movement of Skeletal Muscles
    Get at MIT Press

    The contraction of specialized skeletal muscle cells results in classic movements of bones and other parts of the body that are vital for life. There is exquisite control over the movement of diverse types of muscles. This paper indicates the way in which skeletal muscles (myofibres) are formed; then factors that contribute to generating the movement are outlined: these include the nerve, sarcomeres, cytoskeleton, cell membrane and the extracellular matrix. The factors controlling the movement of mature myofibres in 3-dimensional tissues in vivo are vastly more complex than for tissue cultured immature muscle cells in an artificial in vitro environment.

  • Syncitium in Motion: Exploring Movement in the Skeletal Muscle Cell Shared by Scientific and Artistic Nuclei
    Get at MIT Press

    The marriage of art and science often requires the sharing of unique characteristics. Skeletal muscle cells have provided a format in which the biology mimics the interaction of the artist and scientist within a common framework. This interaction, like the complex mechanism of fused muscle cells themselves, reveals and reminds those in both disciplines of the remarkable dynamic of movement between the two fields. This movement stimulates and rewards the artist and the scientist alike. For a scientist who works closely with artists, it is important to re-visit the fundamental concepts that drive the curiosity and stimulate the passion.

  • Re-purposing Life in an Anti-Disciplinary and Curiosity-Driven Context
    Get at MIT Press

    The earliest descriptions of the motions of living cells were marked by a sense of vitality. Indeed, these cellular motions have fascinated a diverse array of scientists and artists for centuries. The sustained interaction between artists and scientists in the author’s lab has led to an environment that fosters novel research directions and an appreciation of the intrinsic value of curiosity. Here, the author describes the anti-disciplinary research taking place in the lab and some of the discoveries that have revealed new paradigms governing the movement and behaviors of living cells in unnatural environments.

  • “Dead Eyes Open”: The Role of Experiments in Galvanic Reanimation in Nineteenth-Century Popular Culture
    Get at MIT Press

    During the first decades of the 19th century, a number of prominent scientists conducted experiments in the revival of dead organisms using new galvanic technologies. In several cases, these experiments were conducted on human bodies, using the corpses of executed criminals. Such experiments captured the cultural imaginary of the day, posing new questions about the relationship between emergent technologies, automated movement, and human agency. This article examines the role played by spectacle, aesthetics, and new practices and technologies of visualization in these scientific experiments.

Special Section of Leonardo Transactions: Live Interfaces

  • Live Interfaces
  • Exploring Disparities Between Acoustic and Digital Sound Outputs
    Get at MIT Press

    Mapping digital sound to an acoustic input enables the performer and the software to ‘talk’ simultaneously. Whilst the performer has direct control over the acoustic outcome, the digital can become a means of destabilization because it is mediated through code. Musical expression substantiates as the performer addresses the unexpected resourcefully. This text describes the performative dynamics in terms of perceptual mechanics.

  • Controlling Rhythm in the Frequency Domain
    Get at MIT Press

    This article describes a way to approach music sequencing, with particular focus on the generation of dynamic rhythm patterns. In contrast to the well known “step sequencer” or “piano roll” style interfaces that specify note pitches and amplitudes as values located at points in time, the device described here calculates note patterns from the sum of a series of discrete sinusoids. When these patterns trigger velocity sensitive percussion sounds, useful rhythms can be generated and transformed with very few controls.

  • Skype, Code and Shouting: A Digitally Mediated Drama between Egypt and Scotland
    Get at MIT Press

    Springtime (Tron Theatre, Glasgow, 19 May 2012) was a computationally mediated theatrical performance involving Arab and Glaswegian-Arab actors and musicians. The project was produced by Ankur Theatre Productions, Scotland’s foremost black and ethnic minority theatre company. Springtime was directed by the dramaturge Shabina Aslam. Against the backdrop of the “Arab Spring” and its aftermath, the play explored issues of authenticity and identity as mediated through multiple technologies. This paper explores the impact and significance of the production and evaluates the use of Skype, social media and custom-made software in the writing, rehearsal and final performance stages of the play.

  • Sensitive Chaos
    Get at MIT Press

    This paper describes the life (and death) of the interface in the installation Tiny Moments by David Strang. Tiny Moments is a sound and light interactive installation that explores natural phenomena surrounding heat, ice and presence/ proximity. This installation explores the process of natural materials in computer interaction in a way beyond simple hardware devices available to users. What is created is a space filled with ever changing rhythms of light and sound in complete synchronicity that no user feels to have any control of.

  • Errors, Glitches and Other Mistakes in the Life of an Unredeemed Technology Lover
    Get at MIT Press

    The authors describe Errors…, a performance installation in which an actor, equipped with muscle stimulators, addresses the audience in a constant stream of lecturing on the subject of man-machine relationship. While giving his lecture on this subject, the performer is being controlled by one selected audience member. The technology used for this is a modified and enhanced TENS device and gel patches on the body and face of the performer.

  • Emerging: Live-Digital Gestures in Action
    Get at MIT Press

    This paper builds on a developing movement practice that engages with the potential for creating a more intimate exchange between real-time image processing technologies and movement. Tracing notions of ‘sensing bodies’ and ‘relation,’ as significantly important to how a greater sense of intimacy and synergy between the two media (live/digital) might be achieved, the author’s focus has been to concentrate on the exchange that takes place between a dancer and her technological counterpart “in the moment of performance.”

  • Paraphernalia: A Design Approach for Electronic-Performance Tools
    Get at MIT Press

    This paper addresses the proposition of experiential design approaches in Human Computing Interaction [HCI] and Human Interface Devices [HID]. To amplify the relationship between performer and the spectator when using emergent technologies with real time performance tools, the author refers to a set of self-crafted electronic-performance tools and a performance. This paper opens a pathway for a larger proposal that asks the reader to consider: What are the ways in which we can engineer interfaces that validate the circulation of subjugated knowledges?

  • Kinect-ed Piano
    Get at MIT Press

    The authors describe a gesturally controlled improvisation system for an experimental pianist, developed over several laboratory sessions and used during a performance at the 2011 conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME). They discuss the architecture and performative advantages and limitations of the system, and reflect on the lessons learned throughout its development.

  • Conversational Interaction in Interactive Dance Works
    Get at MIT Press

    This paper describes an interactive dance/physical theatre work entitled Encoded, which made use of motion capture techniques and real-time fluid simulations to create systems intended to support, stimulate and augment live performance. Preliminary findings from a qualitative study of performers’ experiences with the system raise a number of issues, including the challenges of creating theatrical meaning with interactive systems, using Contact Improvisation as a metaphor for engaging creative systems, and the impact that large-scale projections can have on performers’ engagement.

  • Intention, Effort, and Restraint: The EMG in Musical Performance
    Get at MIT Press

    The author presents the challenges and opportunities in the use of the electromyogram (EMG), a signal representing muscle activity, for digital musical instrument applications. The author presents basic mapping paradigms and the place of the EMG in multimodal interaction and describes initial trials in machine learning. It is proposed that nonlinearities in musical instrument response cannot be modelled only by parameter interpolation and require strategies of extrapolation. The author introduces the concepts of intention, effort, and restraint as such strategies, to exploit, as well as confront limitations of, the use of muscle signals in musical performance.

Leonardo Reviews

Reviews

Leonardo Network News

Endnote

  • That Drunken Conversation between Two Cultures: Art, Science and the Possibility of Meaningful Uncertainty