Leonardo 52:2, 2019
On the cover: Detail of Echoes Talking, a generative work with the methods of harmony modeling and preferential traits measuring involved, 2015. (© Guosheng Hu)
ISSN: 
0024-094X

Leonardo, Volume 52, Issue 2

April 2019

Contents

Editorial

General Articles

  • Evaluation and Analysis of White Space in Wu Guanzhong’s Chinese Paintings
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    This article reports on a recent study that examines the effect of white space on perception of Chinese paintings. The authors investigate whether white space in Chinese paintings is not simply a blank background space but rather meaningful for aesthetic perception. Applying a computational saliency model to analyze the influence of white space on viewers’ visual information processing, the authors conducted an eye-tracking experiment. As a case study, they analyzed paintings by a well-known artist, Wu Guanzhong, and collected users’ subjective aesthetic ratings. Their results show that white space is not just a silent background: It is intentionally designed to convey certain information and has a significant effect on viewers’ aesthetic experience.

  • Have You Ever Used Two Picture Planes to Draw a Single Perspective View?
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    Apparently, the use of two picture planes to draw a single view has not been attempted before. Most perspective methods, after Alberti, take for granted the use of a single picture plane, disregarding its likely use in dual positions. What if two picture planes are necessary to draw a single view—for example, given a lack of spatial references at ground level to estimate the distance between two objects? This article demonstrates that to draw the interior of a building from which another building can be seen about 190 m away, where the projection of such building on the first picture plane would be imprecise, it may be wise to use a second picture plane. This leads to consideration of how objects change shape as they move away from the viewer. For example, if a cube recedes from the observer up to 100 times its side length, it takes on an axonometric view. This raises a question: Could axonometric projection be a particular case of perspective?

  • Cocurated Digital Culture: Machinima
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    This article explores hybrid curatorial practices that have developed around digital “socio-techno-cultural” practices such as machinima. Machinima is a creative cultural movement that has evolved considerably since its emergence in 1996. The article highlights interrelated themes of curatorial practice: coevolving sense-making and social consumption; creative cognition and exploratory visualization; technologies as cultural intermediaries; social products, materialized expression and collective memory; capturing contexts through cocuration; and sustainability and stability of cultural capital. The article concludes that curation is a process of continually evolving interpretation of the artifact, representing shifts in the technology landscape, network of community members and audience interactions.

  • Transdimensional Space: From Moholy-Nagy to Doctor Who
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    More than ever, Moholy-Nagy’s influence circulates within contemporary art and visual media. In this essay, the author reconsiders his extended influence in regard to the complex scientific theories of space-time and molecular forces he invokes in Light-Space Modulator. To do so effectively and provocatively, the author brings on board a fictive resource: “Doctor Who.” Like the TARDIS, Moholy’s kinetic sculpture is conceptually a transdimensional apparatus that figuratively bores through time and space to connect past, present and future and resonates with today’s perception of space-time-light entanglement.

  • Ranking Artists: An Internet-Era Analysis
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    To provide guidance to the vastly expanded, uncurated art world made available through the Internet, the author developed a methodology for objectively and repeatably rating artists. He then applied that methodology to Western painters in particular, creating a ranked list of the significance of nearly 10,000 of those painters. Analyzing the process, he observed that the Internet not only greatly broadens access to art but also provides the tools needed to curate that access in a meaningful, scientific manner. The analysis also exposes questions about both the methods used and more traditional art history sources, which can be explored through alternative methods.

  • Giorgio Scarpa’s Model of a Sea Urchin Inspires New Instrumentation
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    Giorgio Scarpa (1938–2012) was an Italian designer, artist and teacher who worked in bionics, topology and rotational geometry. This article describes Scarpa’s bionic model of “Aristotle’s lantern”—the mouth of the sea urchin. The technical literature on Echinoidea lacks a detailed study of its remarkable mouth mechanism. Scarpa’s model is the only known analysis and physical analogue of the mechanism. It is a striking example of geometrical analysis and craftsmanship, bridging science and art. Built in the early 1970s and described in 1985 in Modelli di Bionica, his model has inspired designs for a biopsy harvester and for a mini-rover to collect soil samples on Mars.

Technical Articles

  • Affective Quantification of Color Gestalt: Modeling of Affective Factors for Combinative Color Design
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    Integrated combination of multiple colors as it is, color gestalt invariably troubles researchers as they seek to understand and analyze the complex constructions of affective factors. The author proposes a set of quantification methods for measuring color-affective factors of harmony, preference and structural composition. He also describes quantified models and interactive toolkits he built for both experimental purposes and user study. The author proposes a holistic method for understanding color combination that stands in contrast to conventional methods. Through this method, perception of color gestalt becomes computable and analyzable, inviting further research on interactive color computing and parametric design.

  • Complementary Quantitative Approach to Unsolved Issues in Art History: Similarity of Visual Features in the Paintings of Vermeer and His Probable Mentors
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    Who is the most probable mentor to Johannes Vermeer? To provide complementary evidence for this question, the authors quantitatively analyzed and compared the visual features of the works of Vermeer with those of artists proposed as his possible mentors. The results showed that Vermeer and Gerard ter Borch have similar artistic styles in many respects.

Statements

  • Epistemic Ecology: An Artwork of Gigapixel Imagery and Ideas
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    Gigapixel imaging provides a new perspective from which to explore the world from micro to macro. In this work, we created an aesthetically oriented gigapixel image named Epistemic Ecology. It combines ocean creatures with handicrafts and visualized abstract theories, showing a different way to see our world at the visceral level, the behavioral level and the reflective level. It provides a different perspective to extend possibilities of interacting, understanding and using big data.

  • The Collider
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    The Collider is a door that only opens to those who don’t believe in its existence. Anyone who wants to pass through it must make a 10-meter run toward the door, without deceleration, before it springs open rapidly at the last instant. A series of sensors along the runway detect the runner’s speed, which is instantly analyzed by a computer algorithm that finally decides whether to open the door or not. The Collider provocatively asks the question: Do we trust the technologies we build? How should we trust them? Audiences find their own answers in participation, with their own bodies.

  • Interactive Art—Smiling Buddha: Recording the Moment at Which an Observer Smiles Through Sight Detection and Smile Recognition
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    In the interactive installation Smiling Buddha, we aimed to “pass on” a smile from one observer to the next. Thus, we have designed a natural interactive process that keeps passing on smiles. The system captures the moment at which an observer smiles before kinetically recording the moment and saving the images. The system does not merely record an image from a single angle; instead, the device records the user’s smile from various angles during the interaction. The final smile features different angles of smiles from previous users together with the smile of the present user. After completing the interactive experience, the user’s data will be saved and transmitted to the “Smiling Database,” where the smiles of past users will then be reproduced in the display area. Through the vast quantity of smiles, we wish to achieve our core concept of “passing on a smile.”

  • 66m Under
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    66m Under is an interactive installation art exhibited in a public space of Beijing 751 Art Zone. A floating balloon sea continues to rise, reflecting the phenomenon of global warming. Visitors can interact with this installation artwork by showing their efforts to delay the rising of the sea in order to save a bird nest 66 meters high above the balloon sea. We created this artwork to encourage people to focus on environmental crisis and arouse public awareness of environmental protection.

  • Tangible Tetris
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    Tangible Tetris is a mixed-reality interactive game allowing play with a physical transformable tetromino in a virtual playfield. The extension from game world to the physical brings plenty of new characteristics, strategies and fun to the classic game, as well as more possibilities in interactive art.

Special Section: Pioneers and Pathbreakers

  • Computer Memoirs of Ray Lauzzana
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    This article traces the author’s work with computers from his earliest experiences in the 1960s through the mid-1980s when personal computers and the Internet changed everything. The author’s earliest work with computing involved developing a “critical path” system along the lines outlined by Buckminster Fuller. He continued mixing art and mathematics throughout his career, engaging psychophysics and synesthesia. By the 1980s, the author turned to publishing about computer graphics; in the mid-1980s, he homebrewed a “listserver” to distribute one of the first electronic publications—fineArt forum (fAf). In 1981, he was invited by Al Gore to develop an exhibition of computer artists at the Library of Congress for the Congressional Hearing on the Internet—the legislation passed, and computing has never been the same.

  • How a Mathematician Started Making Movies
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    The author’s father, Luciano Emmer, was an Italian filmmaker who made feature movies and documentaries on art from the 1930s through 2008, one year before his death. Although the author’s interest in films inspired him to write many books and articles on cinema, he knew he would be a mathematician from a young age. After graduating in 1970 and fortuitously working on minimal surfaces—soap bubbles—he had the idea of making a film. It was the start of a film series on art and mathematics, produced by his father and Italian state television. This article tells of the author’s professional life as a mathematician and a filmmaker.

  • Art, Science, Technology: Six Exhibitions 1966–1998
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    From the late 1960s until the end of the twentieth century, the author organized, or helped organize, six exhibitions throughout Europe that saw artists integrate and alter the collective destinies of science, art and technology. The works of art presented at these exhibitions: KunstLichtKunst at the Stedelijk Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven; the Lumière et Mouvement exhibition at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Cinétisme, Spectacle, Environnement, held at the Mobile theater of the Maison de la Culture in Grenoble; Interventions and Environments in the Streets of Paris and in Its Suburbs and Electra at the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris; and the Virtual Art show in Boulogne-Billancourt in 1998, did more than just lay a formal and theoretical foundation for new media art to follow—they challenged the perceptions of both the spectator of the art as well as other artists working in this area. This article chronicles the aesthetic and societal ramifications, particularly within the artistic community, that the works in these exhibitions created.

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