Leonardo 53:4, 2020
On the cover: MYRIOI, multichannel audio VR installation, 2020. Shown: Dr. JoAnn Kuchera-Morin on the bridge of the AlloSphere with material from MYRIOI. (© AlloSphere Research Group)
ISSN: 
1071-4391

Leonardo, Volume 53, Issue 4

August 2020

Contents

Art Papers

  • Art Papers Jury
  • Introducing the SIGGRAPH 2020 Art Papers
  • Enhanced Family Tree: Evolving Research and Expression
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    Enhanced Family Tree reimagines the possibilities of family trees with an evolving series of exhibits. The authors’ works combine genealogical data, visualization, 3D technologies and interactivity to explore and display ancient genealogical relationships. Their new approach may reveal questionable relationships in genealogical records. Moreover, the authors’ use of an organic metaphor of a “tree” can be further extended to increase public understanding and engagement. The audience’s questions arising from this project show increased curiosity and nuanced questioning about their own family origins and development.

  • REALational Perspectives: Strategies for Expanding beyond the Here and Now in Mobile Augmented Reality (AR) Art
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    This article analyzes mobile AR installations in order to demonstrate different strategies for producing a relational sense of place and time. These installations combine multiple narratives in situ; thus, they reshape existing perceptions and influence national identities. By means of exposing actual environments as constructed and therefore as virtual landscapes, mobile AR art exposes our situatedness and becomes a strong tool for activism as it encourages us to think beyond familiar, material reality. As such, it rejects an absolute perception of reality and reconfigures it as a relational domain.

  • Inverse-Rendering-Based Analysis of the Fine Illumination Effects in Salvator Mundi
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    The painting Salvator Mundi is attributed to Leonardo da Vinci and depicts Jesus holding a transparent orb. The authors study the optical accuracy of the fine illumination effects in this painting using inverse rendering. Their experimental results provide plausible explanations for the strange glow inside the orb, the anomalies on the orb and the mysterious three white spots, supporting the optical accuracy of the orb’s rendering down to its fine-grain details.

  • Stepping Inside the Classification Cube: An Intimate Interaction with an AI System
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    The Classification Cube art installation invites participants to become familiar with a machine-learning classification system. Inside a private space within the gallery, participants’ bodies are subjected to a classification process that detects their faces and estimates their age, gender, emotion and actions. Participants are also able to see how their own classification compares with how the installation classifies a series of animated figures. Rapidly changing results encourage participants to actively perform their behavior to the system and alter the way it “sees” them. The entanglement with the system raises awareness regarding the effectiveness of machine interpretation.

  • Body RemiXer: Extending Bodies to Stimulate Social Connection in an Immersive Installation
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    Body RemiXer is a mixed reality installation that connects immersants across the virtual/actual divide through emergent tactility and abstract embodiment. Using a virtual reality headset, Kinect and projections, the installation explores the potential of immersive technology to create copresent experiences that foster intercorporeal relationships between immersants wearing a headset and those using the projections. Immersants’ bodies are at the center of the installation, activated as a site for social exchange. Body RemiXer has been exhibited at an art festival and at several smaller events. The authors’ observations during these exhibits reveal Body RemiXer’s capacity to disrupt social norms and stimulate new connections.

  • Resonant Waves: Immersed in Geometry
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    This article introduces Resonant Waves, a work of interactive new media art that incorporates cymatic patterns into an immersive installation. The authors describe their research and design process in creating Resonant Waves, and they discuss technical details about the installation, highlighting innovative aspects of the project and contextualizing the project in terms of previous cymatics research and related artistic explorations of complex phenomena. Finally, the authors discuss audience reaction to different installations of the project and identify directions for future research in immersive cymatics.

  • Cultural Viz: An Aesthetic Approach to Cultural Analytics
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    Cultural Analytics (C.A.) is an approach for analyzing media and digital culture using data methods and visual computing techniques. This article explores the aesthetic value of C.A. by approaching cultural visualizations as digital artworks. The authors present a variety of techniques developed since 2007 by members of the C.A. lab for creating visualizations of media artifacts and collections of images. Through a series of projects conducted by them, the authors discuss the artistic meaning of media visualizations and their experience in art exhibitions, workshops and seminars.

  • Artistic License in Heritage Visualization: VR Sydney Cove circa 1800
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    Heritage visualizations are works of the cultural imaginary and this paper examines the artwork Artistic License: VR Sydney Cove circa 1800, which foregrounds the interpretive nature of heritage visualization. It is a reimagining in VR of A View of Sydney Cove, New South Wales, 1804, a contemporaneous print of Sydney Cove. Existing in the liminal space between accuracy and authenticity it is both art object and heritage visualization. The dual nature of this work supports engagement with wider audiences, fostering and broadening debate at individual, institutional, academic and societal levels about the nature and role of heritage.

  • Animated Robotic Sculptures: Using SMA Motion Display to Create Lifelike Movements
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    This paper describes four animated robotic sculptures that are characterized by their use of shape-memory alloy motion display technologies to express lifelike movements, such as rustling leaves or squirming tentacles. These works of art combine plant and animal motifs with robotics to give their audience a sense of the objects being alive through their lifelike movements. These projects attempt to explore what it means to feel alive. They express the grotesqueness and scariness as well as the beauty of the mystery of life and living things.

  • Visual Indeterminacy in GAN Art
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    This paper explores visual indeterminacy as a description for artwork created with Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs). Visual indeterminacy describes images that appear to depict real scenes, but on closer examination, defy coherent spatial interpretation. GAN models seem to be predisposed to producing indeterminate images, and indeterminacy is a key feature of much modern representational art, as well as most GAN art. The author hypothesizes that indeterminacy is a consequence of a powerful-but-imperfect image synthesis model that must combine general classes of objects, scenes and textures.

  • Hybrid Embroidery: Exploring Interactive Fabrication in Handcrafts
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    This paper presents Hybrid Embroidery, a framework for interactive fabrication that leverages computational methods to broaden the possibilities of the craft of embroidery. Combining embroidery techniques, generative design methods, computer vision and a computerized embroidery machine, we show how this framework elicits a variety of innovative fabrication experiences that emphasize open-ended exploration, improvisation and play. The paper documents this framework, a series of sample results, challenges and next steps. It further outlines some of its implications for supporting creative exploration through real-time and direct manipulation of materials and close human-machine interaction.

  • Pixel of Matter: New Ways of Seeing with an Active Volumetric Filmmaking System
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    Using volumetric filmmaking as a medium for artists and designers requires the development of new methodologies and tools. We introduce an installation art project using the active volumetric filmmaking technology to investigate its possibilities in art practice. To do that, we developed a system to film volumetric video in real time, thereby allowing its users to capture large environments and objects without fixed placement or preinstallation of cameras. Active volumetric filmmaking helps us realize the digital reconstruction of physical space in real time and can be expected to ultimately facilitate the coexistence of real and virtual spaces.

  • Rilievo: Artistic Scene Authoring via Interactive Height Map Extrusion in VR
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    The authors present a virtual authoring environment for artistic creation in VR. It enables the effortless conversion of 2D images into volumetric 3D objects. Artistic elements in the input material are extracted with a convenient VR-based segmentation tool. Relief sculpting is then performed by interactively mixing different height maps. These are automatically generated from the input image structure and appearance. A prototype of the tool is showcased in an analog-virtual artistic workflow in collaboration with a traditional painter. It combines the expressiveness of analog painting and sculpting with the creative freedom of spatial arrangement in VR.

  • the Unknown Person: Post-Colonial Fictioning, Personal Stories and Surveillance
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    the Unknown Person connects the artist’s family history to Britain’s postcolonial “fictioning.” The project interrogates the gaze of surveillance and social control systems to explore the fiction of the self, data and liminal spaces of the City of London. The final output of this research is a video documentary that employs machine learning processes and facial recognition techniques to generate visuals to reveal the aesthetic value of a neural network. The project culminated as an installation of multiple screens mounted on a scaffolding structure.

  • Cacophonic Choir: An Interactive Art Installation Embodying the Voices of Sexual Assault Survivors
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    This paper describes the conceptual background, design and implementation of an interactive art installation, Cacophonic Choir, that aims to bring attention to the firsthand stories of sexual assault survivors. Cacophonic Choir addresses the ways in which their experiences are distorted by digital and mass media, and how these distortions may affect survivors. The installation comprises multiple agents, distributed in space, that are heard from afar as an incoherent cloud of murmurs. Each agent responds to a visitor’s proximity by becoming more visually bright, semantically coherent and sonically clear, revealing a different personal account of a sexual assault survivor.

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