Leonardo 53:2, 2020
On the cover: Charlotte Rae, Marilyn’s Brain, MRI art, 2011. T1 weighted structural MRI images in the colors of Warhol’s portrait of Marilyn Monroe. (© Charlotte Rae)
ISSN: 
1071-4391

Leonardo, Volume 53, Issue 2

April 2020

Contents

Editorial

Artists' Articles

  • Toward a Critical NeuroArt for a Critical Neuroscience
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    Responding to advances in the brain sciences, numerous artists are now engaged in art-neuroscience collaborations, taking the brain as an object of creative representation or adopting the tools of neuroscience. This article reviews several prominent works of “brain art,” examining their critical cultural potentials in relationship to the tenets of New Materialism. The discussion results in recommendations for a Critical NeuroArt to contribute to the burgeoning field of Critical Neuroscience. Analysis of two representative artworks, including the author’s own computational work, Neuro News Generator, provides examples of how NeuroArt might proceed.

  • InnerBody: Using Interactive and Multisensory Interfaces to Design Behavioral Change
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    The authors propose using interactive and multisensory interfaces to design user behavior change. For this purpose, they used coauthor Nikolic’s interactive art installation InnerBody, created to provoke health-care–related behavioral changes by arousing death anxiety. Visitors are invited to undertake a (fake) medical examination by interacting with the installation’s human heart–shaped interface. Research outcomes are presented based on visitors’ observations and participant responses in interviews after interacting with the installation.

  • A Cautionary Tale of Urban Media Art: Media-Bait, Planned Censorship and Its Repercussions
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    How do curatorial initiatives in public spaces balance the critical pursuit of art and the professional ethics of the exhibition context? What are the pros and cons of conducting attention-grabbing guerrilla campaigns versus infiltrating politically sensitive public arenas with long-term initiatives? What happens when corporate sponsors of art become trapped in the battlefield of art-fueled media controversy? This article expands on such inquiries by analyzing the collision of two artistic urban interventions, Open Sky Project and the Countdown Machine campaign—a collision that took place within the delicate political context of Hong Kong in 2016.

  • A Performed Solution to the Pythagorean Problem: The Three Bodies Project
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    The authors describe an art-science collaboration to devise and perform a qualitatively accurate interpretation of an elliptic-hyperbolic solution to the classical astronomical “problem of three bodies,” in which three point masses execute trajectories dictated by Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation.

General Articles

  • Sebastian’s Space and Forms
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    A strong message that mathematics revealed in the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries is that geometry and space can be the realm of freedom and imagination, abstraction and rigor. An example of this message lies in the infinite variety of forms of mathematical inspiration that the Mexican sculptor Sebastian invented, rediscovered and used throughout all his artistic activity

  • Symmetry in European Regional Folk Dress: A Multidisciplinary Analysis
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    Designs on folk dress form an expression of artistic import within a culture. A 2017 ethnomathematics paper to which the authors contributed concludes that the designs on European regional folk dress are highly symmetric and analyzes the symmetry in the costume designs of 73 European cultures. Also examined are which symmetries are favored by, for instance, Catholic cultures or mountain cultures. In this article, two of the study’s coauthors summarize its key points and go on to explore the neurophysiologic, aesthetic and ethnographic reasons why humans display symmetry on their regional dress.

  • Nano-Optical Image-Making: Morphologies, Devices, Speculations
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    This article provides a technical overview of nano-optical image-making produced in collaboration between the author, engineering scientists at the Ciber Lab in Vancouver and the artists Christine Davis and Scott Lyall. It situates the work in relation to other optical technologies (such as holographs), to the primary application of nano-optical images as authentication devices and to other artistic practices concerning nanoscale interactions of light and matter. The paper articulates the convergence of visual technologies and designed materials by explaining how the principles of structural color can be used for the production of images. Building a discussion on the shift from device to medium that is anchored around questions of remediation and reproducibility, it concludes with a speculation on informatic matters, or the convergence of mediating functions at the surface of things.

  • Mr. Market’s Emotions
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    The authors present a study of artistic data visualization as reflection of human emotion. They describe the sonority of movements in the stock market with real human emotions as a method to better understand this organism with wide influence in our world.

  • Andy Warhol: Computational Thinking, Computational Process
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    This article positions Andy Warhol as a model for computational thinking and art-making, linking him to concepts in new media art. Warhol’s work is analyzed for its variability in form generation and output, both in painting and on the early Amiga computer. His work becomes a simulation of the abstraction of process and methods of production familiar to us in electronic computational art of today. Rather than seen as banal mass production on the modern assembly line, Warhol’s work can be seen as inspiration for new media arts practitioners.

  • Raw Harmonies: Transmediation through Raw Data
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    In this paper, the authors present the initial findings from explorations on transformation patterns of data in raw format when crossing or transmediating directly (i.e. unaffected by any other form of codification) between audio and visual media. These patterns have allowed the authors to engage in the production of transmediatic artifacts with some degree of control and agency, facilitating purposeful applications of transmediation. The products of such practices will enable a form of literacy, an aesthetic means to identify in visual media artifacts those patterns that could transmediate into useful or appealing sonic artifacts and vice versa.

  • Concretization, Associated Milieus and Aestheticization of Objects in Bio-Art
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    This article explores an ensemble of technical objects and biological objects in bio-art and proposes aesthetic values that the ensemble reveals. French philosopher Gilbert Simondon considered technical objects carefully in the 1950s. In his study, he was alert to an assimilation of technical objects to biological objects. In our time, the development of molecular biology and genetic engineering offers evidence that technical objects are closely linked to biological objects. The process of concretizing technical objects and biological objects is latent in works of bio-art, which therefore can realize aesthetic potentials that technical objects and biological objects imply.

Statement

  • Chinese Traditional Handicraft Education Using AR Content
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    This paper proposes a new Chinese traditional handicraft learning mode through embodied interaction using WebAR technology. It details how emergent technologies for cognitive learning can enhance learning in the teaching of a traditional handicraft. A study is presented where students learn about traditional handicrafts with a whole-body interactive simulation utilizing WebAR devices, and this is compared to traditional methods using a desktop version for the simulation. Results show that the Chinese traditional handicraft learning mode based on WebAR affords embodied interaction and improves learning between real context and virtual devices; thus WebAR devices enhance embodied interaction of traditional handicraft simulations. This contribution is highly relevant for users who aim to learn and be creative in different contexts that deliver new forms of Chinese traditional handicraft learning.

Special Section: Artists and War

  • Is War on the Arts War on Human Psychological Systems? A View from Experimental Psychology and Affective Neuroscience
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    Destruction of cultural heritage and artworks, e.g. by terrorist groups, has significant psychological effects for individuals and communities. This article outlines how the negative psychological effects of iconoclasm and arts destruction may be rooted in the human social brain. The proposed neurocognitive mechanisms include: (1) associative learning mechanisms (memory-reward links), (2) neuroendocrine mechanisms (oxytocin and prolactin reward links) and (3) social touch mechanisms (CT cutaneous mechanoreceptor-reward links). Iconoclasm and arts destruction are a threat to the stability of human psychological systems.

Special Section: PhD in Art and Design

  • Confronting the Limitations of the MFA as Preparation for PhD Study
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    Today’s design research problems are different from the past; they are more complex and call for inter- and multidisciplinary work. Design faculty and doctoral students are hindered in this work by the curricular content and pedagogy of the terminal master’s degree. Students graduate from professional MFA design programs often unprepared to pose truly researchable questions, recognize multiple research paradigms and their corresponding standards, structure methodologically rigorous investigations or even author papers longer than a few pages. These shortfalls persist in the scholarly pursuits of many design faculty and extend to the institutional adoption of alternate evaluation criteria from the research thresholds in other fields. Strengthening of the quality in doctoral research and supervision, therefore, depends to some extent on rethinking master’s study in design.

Special Section: Pioneers and Pathbreakers

  • Early Phenomenological Light Works
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    Making visible the invisible in nature and culture has been the focus of the author’s work since 1973. In the early 1970s, experimental approaches were being explored in art and photography. At that time, the author investigated imaging possibilities using a range of approaches, from making photographic images without a camera or enlarger to using light-sensitive emulsions, Xerox machines, and computer and X-ray technology available in the 1970s in order to explore the potential for light to make visible form in nature. Unexpectedly, this exploration also resulted in social content that was the outcome of the author’s work, the exhibition Multicultural Focus. This period was the beginning of the artist’s ongoing investigation into the transformative potential of light.

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