Leonardo 50:3, 2017
On the cover: László Moholy-Nagy, CH BEATA I, oil and graphite on canvas, 118.9 × 119.8 cm (46 7/8 × 47 1/8 in.), 1939. (© Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, 48.1128.)

Leonardo, Volume 50, Issue 3

June 2017

Contents

Editorial

  • Neuroscience and the Environment: A View on Change and Constancy within Our Current Paradigm

Artist's Article

  • Century of Light Shines for Twenty-Five Years
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    Jim Pallas, an artist who pioneered the use of technology in art, collaborated with computer sage Rene Vega and programmer Randy Mims in 1979 to create Century of Light, one of the earliest interactive public sculptures. In this article, Pallas describes an earlier struggle to incorporate technology into sculpture, the selection process that led to this, his first public commission and the collaborative process. Sited within a pedestrian mall in downtown Detroit, the sculpture sensed viewers' movements, sounds and light. Unfortunately, the sculpture was located in an ill-conceived plaza. Although the city administration mismanaged the site and allowed the sculpture to be destroyed 25 years later, the electronics and program were rescued and remain intact.

Historical Perspective

  • The Story of Leonardo: One Author's Perspective
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    In celebration of its 50th anniversary, Leonardo invited authors who have been associated with the publication throughout its history to share their memories. This account describes some essays published in the journal by author David Carrier, with reference to his intellectual career. Because these publications are readily accessible to Leonardo's readers, the author does not describe them in detail—nor does he cite all of his contributions. His aim is to sketch, in this personal reflection, one small part of the story of this now long-lived publication.

General Article

  • Figure-Ground and Occlusion Depiction in Early Australian Aboriginal Bark Paintings
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    Aboriginal painting has been largely treated as conceptual rather than perceptual and its visual impact little examined. In this article the author shows the perceptual skill and innovation demonstrated by Aboriginal bark painters in depicting figure-ground and occlusion. This has heuristic value for studying occlusion perception and adds visual meaning to the conceptual meaning of the paintings.

General Note

  • The Entity Mapper: A Data Visualization Tool for Qualitative Research Methods
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    In recent years, data visualization is increasingly being used to represent complex information and is mostly embedded in quantitative investigations. This article introduces an open source software tool for visualizing data that has been prestructured following qualitative research methods. The article goes on to summarize research material on current data visualization strategies in qualitative research. An example shows how the new software can be used to construct a visual data analysis through quantitative metadata and qualitative results.

Special Section: In Focus: László Moholy-Nagy

  • In Focus: László Moholy-Nagy Introduction
  • "This Is the Century of Light": László Moholy-Nagy's Painting and Photography Debate in i 10, 1927
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    The emergence in the 1920s of the idea that photography could be a full-fledged form of artistic expression—rather than mere mechanical imaging—led artists and art experts alike to wrestle with the question: What exactly constitutes art? Photography now challenged painting, both figurative and abstract, and as photography's many previously unsuspected potentials were revealed and explored, artists and experts felt an urgency to articulate photography's relationship to the concept of art. Invested in photography and ever the advocate of a new innovative medium and genre, László Moholy-Nagy wanted to hear what some of the most respected artists and experts of the time had to say about photography, and so in 1927 he moderated a debate on the subject of "painting and photography" in the journal Internationale Revue i 10.

  • Metallic Factures: László Moholy-Nagy and Kazimir Malevich
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    In László Moholy-Nagy's work, the concept of facture fused the material and immaterial, challenging preconceptions about its meaning, practice, purpose, matter and use. Facture was explored by the artist, in a way quite in tune with his Suprematist contemporaries, as an idea, a formless phenomenon, as well as a technological or scientific development. Exploring the significance of facture in Moholy-Nagy's work, this article focuses on the theoretical and practical affinities that Moholy-Nagy and Kazimir Malevich shared in the early 1920s, as expressed in their approaches toward the creative process, with particular focus on the artists' explorations of metallic factures.

  • An Objective Revaluation of Photograms by László Moholy-Nagy
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    Throughout his career, László Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946) produced many photograms, a selection of which was examined in European and American collections. Sheet dimensions and thickness, base color, surface gloss and texture were recorded. The analysis of the data and the results of this investigation are presented in this article. The article also explores the effectiveness of paper characterization and how it can contribute to and enhance historical research when applied to a particular body of work by one artist.

  • Interfaces and Proxies: Placing László Moholy-Nagy's Prints
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    Although the making of relief prints hardly seems to fit with László Moholy-Nagy's reputation as an innovator working with new media and industrialized production, Moholy-Nagy did in fact make a few dozen woodcuts and linocuts in the 1920s. In this article, the author seeks to understand Moholy-Nagy's engagement with these techniques by focusing on the manual prints of the 1924 version of his Dynamic of the Metropolis, the text of which is devoted to photographic media. Examining the roles of photomechanical and manual prints in avant-garde magazines, the author argues that relief prints played a key role in the circulation of Moholy-Nagy's work and served as a substitute for media that posed difficulties for small-scale production.

  • László Moholy-Nagy's Light Prop as Design Fiction: Perspectives on Conservation and Replication
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    Light Prop for an Electric Stage was presented in 1930 as a prototype for a new kind of mechanical theater that was meant to spark future partnerships between art and industry. Although it was never put into industrial production, Light Prop circulated as an early example of kinetic sculpture, as documented in a highly composed film, in photographs and in textual accounts. In 2016, the Harvard Art Museums and metaLAB (at) Harvard filmed Light Prop and its 2006 replica under highly controlled conditions. The resulting comparative media reveals how László Moholy-Nagy's film served as the "design fiction" guiding the replication and conservation of Light Prop.

  • László Moholy-Nagy's Painting Materials: From Substance to Light
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    This article presents results from an extensive scientific examination of the painting materials used by László Moholy-Nagy. The artist employed modern materials, such as metals and plastics, alongside more traditional artists' oil paint and canvas, creatively manipulating these diverse media to generate a unique visual vocabulary. This study highlights the intimate link between the material properties and the expressive content of Moholy-Nagy's painted works.

  • The Spirit of Experimentation: Barbara Kasten and László Moholy-Nagy
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    This article discusses how László Moholy-Nagy's practice has informed Barbara Kasten's in the context of their shared interest in experimentation and in the interdisciplinary, explicating those terms in both modernist and contemporary contexts. It considers the various ways Moholy-Nagy has influenced (and continues to influence) Kasten over the course of her ongoing career.

  • Recollections and Reflections on László Moholy-Nagy
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    In 1937, artist László Moholy-Nagy directed a new school based on Bauhaus principles, The New Bauhaus: American School of Design, in Chicago. Although the school lasted only one year, Moholy-Nagy soon reorganized it as the School of Design in Chicago and then as the Institute of Design, which was later incorporated into the Illinois Institute of Technology. The author conducted numerous telephone and in-person interviews with teachers and students of the school to find insight into Moholy-Nagy's teaching and working methods, the unusual pedagogy of the school across its iterations and the camaraderie and mutual support felt by the students at this exciting place and time.

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