Leonardo, Volume 51, Issue 2 | Leonardo/ISAST
Leonardo 51:2, 2018
On the cover: Sheila Pinkel, Canon 200 mm zoom lens. Every lens has its own unique refractive “fingerprint” when scanned on a flatbed digital scanner. This is one of hundreds of images in this series. (© Sheila Pinkel)
ISSN: 
1071-4391

Leonardo, Volume 51, Issue 2

April 2018

Contents

Editorial

Artists' Articles

  • DreamArchitectonics: An Interactive Audiovisual Installation
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    This article presents the processes that guided the production of the interactive artwork DreamArchitectonics, attempting to render perceivable the altered experience of time characteristic of the dream-state. This project originated with the observation of dream reports that were revealed, across a broad variety of contents, to be relatively invariant in form, with this form appearing to function as a mnemonic artifact allowing the dreamer to actually remember dreams. The details of the representational process applied to oneiric time and manifested in these artifacts have been identified to resonate meaningfully with poetic expression, especially in its relationship to the sensation of movement. DreamArchitectonics aims at producing the context for an experiential synthesis of this intuition and acting as the generator of phenomenological data in a disposition that the authors envision as the most fruitful for collaboration between arts and sciences.

  • A-me and Braincloud: Art-Science Interrogations of Localization in Neuroscience
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    This article reports on two art-science collaborations, A-me: Augmented Memories and BrainCloud, that interrogate the central role of localization in neuroscience—including the use of technologies that augment sociability using localization as a central reference point. The two projects result from a series of interactions where a science/technology development fostered art, which in turn led to a science application, which potentially may lead to further artistic activity. A-me is an art installation that repurposes navigation and visualization tools normally reserved for medical clinicians and scientists, inviting reflection on the ongoing endeavor of neuroscience to explain and map cognitive functions such as memory. BrainCloud is a software prototype that provides neuroscientists with an interface for interacting with existing data and knowledge about the brain. Organized visually as a brain atlas, it forms a social network that allows neuroscientists to connect and share their ongoing research and ideas.

Artists' Notes

  • Refractive Fingerprints of Lenses: Explorations in Light Transformations
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    Searching for an apt visual metaphor for multiculturalism to form the cover of an exhibition catalogue in 2011, the author scanned a Canon lens using a flatbed scanner and found that the whole visible color spectrum was included in the resulting image. This serendipitous discovery led to an ongoing research project on the unique refractions of all manner of lenses.

  • The Virtual Reality Art Installation Endocytosis: Evolving from a Flat Land into a Three-Dimensional World
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    Virtual reality systems are an ideal platform for exploring spatial effects because of their ability to combine stereo imaging techniques and interactive real-time graphics. They allow the creation of artworks that, on the one hand, exhibit a dynamic organization of the environment’s spatial depth and, on the other, create an interaction with the stereoscopic optic flow. In this article, the author discusses the advantages of horizontal stereoscopic displays and describes how she has used the Responsive Workbench to display the evolution of a flat land into a three-dimensional world in her artwork Endocytosis. She uses endocytosis—a fundamental cellular trafficking process that moves material into the intracellular space—as a metaphor for this evolutionary process.

General Articles

  • Biopoiesis: Electrochemical Media
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    The author discusses Biopoiesis, a cybernetic art project that explores the relationships between structure, matter and self-organization. Based on the work of cyberneticist Gordon Pask, the project features the construction of simple computational devices that harness an electrochemical reaction. The design and construction of the system is discussed, as well as its conceptual underpinnings and historical context. The relevance of Pask’s electrochemical works to art making is also explored.

  • Warholian Repetition and the Viewer’s Affective Response to Artworks from His Death and Disaster Series
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    In his Death and Disaster series, Andy Warhol repeated gruesome images of suicides and car crashes. The artist’s use of repetition has been discussed extensively but not in terms of its direct impact on the viewer’s perceptual and cognitive processing. This article considers the viewer’s affective experience resulting from repeated exposure to negative images in artworks from the Death and Disaster series. The authors put forward an account of the potential affective experience of Warholian repetition based on existing experimental findings and by way of the artist’s own remarks on the relationship between repetition and affect.

Historical Perspectives

  • Digital Art: The ’60s to the ’80s, from the Point of View of an Observactor
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    In this short biography, Edmond Couchot tells how, after having attempted a plastic-art synthesis between gestural painting and lumino-kineticism, he became interested in cybernetics and visual arts and the participation of the spectator in aesthetic perception. Then we learn how, in the early 1980s, he took part in the creation of a new degree course in art and technology of the image at the University of Paris-VIII.

  • Concrete Photography: (In-Between) Light Image and Data Image
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    The author discusses his works of concrete photography contributed to the Peter C. Ruppert Collection, Concrete Art in Europe after 1945, in the Museum im Kulturspeicher Würzburg. He discusses Concrete Photography as a form of nonrepresentational photography in which the medium itself moves away from its classical role of representing the external world to take on a strict self-referential role, in between both traditional light-images and images of the digital world.

  • The Contribution of Desmond Paul Henry (1921–2004) to Twentieth-Century Computer Art
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    This paper describes the series of three electronic drawing machines Desmond Paul Henry constructed during the 1960s from World War II analogue bombsight computers and which, by virtue of their inspiration, idiosyncratic modus operandi and analogue-derived effects, earn Henry a place as a British computer art pioneer. The abstract graphic results of these now-defunct drawing machines are presented as precursors to digital images.

Statement

  • TRACES: Mobile Eye Tracking Captures User Sensory Experience in an Outdoor Walking Tour Environment
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    This article explores the use of mobile eye tracking to provide insights on the dynamics of haptic (touch/sense) and visual experience. We created a digital cultural walking trail (TRACES), designing an app to explore user experiences of their environment, and as a way to reveal the multilayered interactions between places and technology. Using mobile eye tracker technology to trace a person’s place-based engagements, we show how the design of tablet-friendly apps can enrich experience by guiding viewers through an immersive and interactive environment with valuable information. We also highlight how this activity may negatively impact on experience by demanding attention away from real world engagement.

Special Section: ArtScience

  • Art in the Sciences of the Artificial
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    This position article argues that the sciences of the artificial (artificial intelligence and artificial life) have a special relationship to art that is absent from much of science. Just as art is often a depiction or interpretation of nature, so are the algorithms in the sciences of the artificial. This observation is important because the discourse in these fields largely ignores the relevance of subjective resonance with nature to scientific progress. Yet progress is potentially stifled if scientists cannot discuss such resonance openly. To support this view, the author provides examples that illustrate how the subjective impression of such resonance led to novel encodings and algorithms in his own career. The author concludes that there may be more to gain than to lose by allowing some level of subjectivity to enter the discourse in the sciences of the artificial.

Special Section: Artists and War

Special Section: Papers from the 4th and 5th Balance-Unbalance International Conference: Part 1

  • Papers from the 4th and 5th Balance-Unbalance International Conference, Part 1
  • Balance-Unbalance: Transforming Paradigms (Art ↔ Environment)
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    The equilibrium between a healthy environment, the energy our society needs to maintain or improve this lifestyle, and the world’s interconnected economies, could pass more quickly than expected from the current complex balance to an entirely new reality where human beings would need to be more creative than ever before to survive. The frequency and severity that certain weather and climate-related events are having around us is increasing, and the ability of human beings to modify our adjacent surroundings has turned into a power capable of altering the planet. Do the media arts have a role in all this?

  • Water Infrastructure and New Music as Agents of Environmental Awareness
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    Visually conspicuous sites of water infrastructure have historically served to publicly acknowledge water’s essential role in urban civilization and the feats necessary to maintain its supply. By bringing five disparate sites together in a new musical composition, this project seeks to create a space for the contemplation of solutions to issues of water availability. Doing so encourages audiences to reconsider their own relationships with water and the challenges associated with it.

  • Climate and Music, Beyond Sonification: Balance-Unbalance 2016
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    Existing methods of linking climate and music exist, but do they lead to action to address amplifying and changing climate related risks? At Balance-Unbalance 2016 in Colombia, a session was facilitated to explore new modalities of linking climate and music. The session revealed a potential to further develop modes to convey this relationship, leveraging the ubiquity of music-driven emotional response and universality of feeling, but likely not responding to, climate.

  • The Value of Waste
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    This paper argues that a first step in finding a sustainable solution for the pressing global issue of ‘waste’, is to consider waste a value attribution rather than a material condition. Doing so means a shift in focus from finding more efficient ways to ‘clean up the mess’ to changing the way in which value is attributed to things. The paper looks at a selection of recent literature on value systems to identify useful concepts and theory for a value-based solution to waste and proposes to probe such potential solutions through art and design.

  • Esmog Data: Interpreting Air Quality Through Media Art and Design
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    The article presents Esmog Data, an immersive installation exhibited in the Balance-Unbalance International Conference held in Manizales, Colombia in 2016. The piece explores the visualization and sonification of urban environmental data. Esmog Data works transforming sensor readings of different toxic gases into perceptible stimuli (audio and computer graphics). While air quality is a local everyday community issue, the goal of the project is enhancing environmental awareness. In this regard, the work aims to create a meaningful context for interpreting scientific data of the urban territory.

  • The Art and Science of Recording the Environment
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    The recent emergence of the interdisciplinary fields of ecoacoustics and sound studies has resulted in a dramatic increase in both artists and scientists engaged in the practice of audio field recording for a diversity of purposes. The recording techniques used vary substantially reflecting differing loci of interest. We argue that both fields could benefit from greater cross-fertilization, and enhanced discussion of existing field recording practices. We suggest acoustic ecology as a field provides a natural home for such interdisciplinary exchanges, and discuss our application of Acoustic Ecology in the Biosphere Soundscapes project.

  • Visualizations in Economics
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    Visual artists and graphic designers have rarely communicated with economists. Yet much of applied economics involves comparisons of states of the world that ought to be imagined. Through a simple case study, we discuss methods used in economics to value individual preferences over the environment, and the use of visualizations in these exercises. We pinpoint that it is time for economists to start a constructive dialogue with artists in general and visual artists in particular.

  • Ontohacking: Onto-Ecological Politics in the Algoricene
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    The METABODY project proposes an ontological critique of perceptual regimes, such as perspective and rationalized vision, which eventually underlie contemporary control society and imperial colonization projects, thus being an ontological substrate of contemporary environmental problems. Metabody proposes relational and perceptual modes exceeding the ontological splits (subject-object divide) that account for colonization processes as well as for models of control based on quantification, prediction and modulation in the Big Data Era or Algoricene. These proposals become enacted in a novel architectural paradigm of dynamic self-construction techniques across the digital and physical for an indeterminate and emergent space, called METATOPIA.

  • Water Issues in Chile: How Does a Dry River Sound?
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    This article examines the policies that have transformed water into a market commodity in Chile. Graciela Muñoz, an artist born and raised in one of the country’s areas affected by the drought produced by these policies, travelled to Chilean Patagonia to record the sound of the Baker River, and transferred its sounds to 28 small loudspeakers installed on the dry riverbed of the Petorca River, near her hometown. Through this soundscape, Muñoz temporarily recovered a lost experience where a river that does not exist anymore appears again, in sound, superimposing the past over a uncertain present

  • Relationships between Art, Science and Epistemology: The Earth as a Laboratory and the “Intruder Artist”
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    This article is a brief review on the contemporary artistic epistemology and its use of the transdisciplinary practices as a form of developing artwork. The main objective is to analyze the artist’s interest and creativity on scientific issues and their peculiar view on new scientific and ecological paradigms to generate new knowledge, critical thinking, creative processes or new innovations. The author also explains his experience as researcher in the Institute of Microbiology at San Francisco University of Quito, Ecuador, where perhaps his presence could have been viewed as an “invasion” of the laboratory. For that reason, he uses the expression “intruder artist”—“the scientific spaces” foreign visitor who tries to understand technical considerations on processes and experiments, so they could produce inspiration on new “hybrid” artworks.

  • Listening to the Ocean in the Desert
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    The author describes her artistic process and works exploring the recontextualization of recorded sounds into radically different environments, such as the ocean and the desert. Such unusual juxtapositions of place aim to stimulate awareness of technological mediation and the processes we rely on to build knowledge of environmental issues. The artworks do this by focusing on a physiological experience that combines the senses, thereby activating an experiential affect that may stimulate a sense of remote presence, empathy and curiosity to more fully understand distant and diverse ecologies that we cannot otherwise access.

  • Ecocompositional and Performative Strategies for Creative Usage of Everyday Sounds: Creative Semantic Anchoring
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    The authors cover recent advances in ecologically grounded creative practice, highlighting performative strategies in instrumental writing. They address techniques adopted in ecocomposition and propose an expansion of the availa-ble resources by introducing a new method: creative semantic anchoring. The underlying concepts are presented and a case study—targeting the performative practice of Flausino Valle’s 26 Characteristic and Concert Preludes for Solo Violin—is described.

  • Could Human Development Be the Key to Environmental Sustainability?
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    This paper identifies gaps in the theoretical literature on Natural Resource-Based View (NRBV) and compares it with empirical evidence on barriers to environmental strategies. Although NRBV’s components may allow firms to gain a sustained competitive advantage, the determinants of these components may be affected by the market conditions. The barriers to environmental strategies align with the gaps found in the NRBV literature, suggesting that NRBV may need to address these issues in order to be generalizable across various market conditions. The barriers to environmental strategies may intensify in countries with low levels of human development, making it difficult for firms to gain a competitive advantage in developing countries, as compared to developed countries. This implies that the optimal market conditions for environmental strategies may depend on the human development level of both developed and developing economies.

  • The Drama of Dengue Fever: Civic-Oriented Journalists, Community and Artists Fighting Dengue
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    This paper describes a transdisciplinary approach that takes places in South of Brazil with the aim to contribute with an eco-bio-social problem: dengue fever. Inspired by enactive theories about relation between body x environment, the authors present here a nontraditional multifaceted bottom-up intervention, designed by civic-oriented journalists and artists to promote health and mobilize a small community in Maringá. The intention is to promote healthier behavior in a participatory perspective when citizens can produce and share their narratives. The content was used as creative material to produce multimedia news, sketch and prototype mobile apps with the support of community.

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