Leonardo 54:2, 2021
On the cover: Martin Calvino, Artwork 1, created with code written in Processing and inspired by images taken from the Arabidopsis genome browser as artistic inspiration. (© Martin Calvino)
ISSN: 
1071-4391

Leonardo, Volume 54, issue 2

April 2021

Contents

Editorial

Artists' Articles

  • The Virtual Artist’s Book as a Space for Curatorial Experiments: The Acropolis Remix Project
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    The author presents postdoctoral research on the concept of art exhibitions presented as virtual artist’s books. The author’s intent was to conduct theoretical research on emerging trends in art curation and virtual artists’ books, in addition to creating a digital art exhibition to be displayed in museums and other cultural venues. The research resulted in the creation of a hybrid augmented reality book titled Acropolis Remix, which can be exhibited in galleries, museums, libraries, gardens, private homes, etc.

  • Samuel Beckett in Virtual Reality: Exploring Narrative Using Free Viewpoint Video
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    This article describes an investigation of interactive narrative in virtual reality (VR) through Samuel Beckett’s theatrical text Play. Actors are captured in a green screen environment using free-viewpoint video (FVV). Built in a game engine, the scene is complete with binaural spatial audio and six degrees of freedom of movement. The project explores how ludic qualities in the original text elicit the conversational and interactive specificities of the digital medium. The work affirms potential for interactive narrative in VR, opens new experiences of the text and highlights the reorganization of the author-audience dynamic.

Artist's Note

  • Computational Art Inspired by Genome Browsers
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    This article describes the genome browser of the plant Arabidopsis thaliana as an inspiration for the creation of geometric artworks developed with code. Genome browsers are bioinformatics tools that life scientists use to access and visualize genome sequence data from species of interest. The artworks presented are inspired by genome sequence data and provide aesthetic interpretations of genes and their genomic contexts by an individual artist alternatively to the conventional scientific visualization of genome data.

General Articles

  • Interactive Design of Random Aesthetic Abstract Textures by Composition Principles
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    The automatic synthesis of abstract textures is, to some extent, feasible. As evidenced by abstract art theoreticians, one can think of an abstract picture as a tree of elementary shapes interacting according to a short list of compositional laws such as occlusion, exclusion and bordering, and by rendering rules such as transparency, tessellation and color selection. Randomizing the shape generator and the composition and rendering laws yields an algorithm generating random abstract textures. We have designed a user-friendly online tool that implements this algorithm.

  • Linking Science and Technology with Arts and the Next Generation: The STEAM Imaging Experimental Artist Residency, A Case Study
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    The author describes designing an artist-in-residence project within a research institute for applied science as a dialogue-oriented form of science communication and education. The author collaborated with a scientist, an artist, a software architect and a sound designer to realize the STEAM Imaging pilot project as a conceptual framework for fostering collaborative engagement among school students, scientists and an artist. A constant through the project is the connection of tools for computer-assisted medicine with teaching topics from science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The first artist in residence, Yen Tzu Chang, integrated programming for sound art, creation of plaster models and discussion on ethical topics. The aim was to foster engagement with and ownership of future technology.

  • Guerilla Science: Mixing Science with Art, Music and Play in Unusual Settings
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    Outreach activities at the interface of science and art present a unique opportunity to connect and engage with “latently interested” publics who do not otherwise take part in science activities such as visiting science museums. In this article, the authors present “Guerilla Science” as one model that supports the hypothesis that well-designed science and art (STEAM) programming in informal settings can broaden participation in and facilitate engagement with STEM-related topics. The article describes a range of interactive events featuring scientists and artists and accompanying research into the impact of these events on a public audience.

  • Biomorphic Protein Art: The Ensemble of Aesthetic Intuition and Scientific Intelligence in Protein Structures
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    This article explores the process by which biomorphic art influenced by Henri Bergson’s philosophy encounters protein structures and becomes biomorphic protein art. The biomorphic presentation of proteins is a kind of art practice that applies biomorphs to protein structures by practically utilizing Bergson’s “aesthetic intuition.” It not only has aesthetic peculiarity in itself but also is used to reveal the structure-function relationship and structure-identity relationship of proteins. As a result, biomorphic protein art, which presents information about the structure, function and identity of proteins through aesthetic intuition, helps us to analyze proteins in a novel way and restores our potential creativity.

General Note

  • Art-Science Collaborations: Why Do They Matter to Medicine?
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    Art-science collaborations between medical researchers and artists provide insight into their practical relevance. It is critical to recognize that while artists can communicate aspects of medical research to the public, art also opens up new avenues for representing relationships and may therefore jump-start creative ideas for new insights, technologies and collaborations. These in turn may improve teamwork, raise social or historical contextual awareness, or inspire product development.

Statements

  • Ambiguus Tiles: Origami Rhombic Pyramid Tiles for Creating Dual-View Tile Mosaics
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    This statement presents a novel expressive medium that the authors call Ambiguus tiles, which construct dual-view tile mosaics. While similar to wall and surface mosaics made with conventional tiles, Ambiguus tiles can be assembled and rearranged to create dual-view tile mosaics in any size and form. Fact vs. Fiction, a letter sculpture composed of 115 Ambiguus tiles, is presented here as an example of the creative possibilities for using Ambiguus tiles as a ready-to-use design material. As seen in Fact vs. Fiction, Ambiguus tiles are particularly effective in communicating social messages

  • Crude Illumination: A Crude Oil Art Inspection
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    This statement details Elia Vargas’s hybrid research art practice and examines alternative histories of crude oil through the social practice of “Art Inspector” Danielle Siembieda. Using art inspection as a creative framework for understanding the entangled nature and culture of the product Crudoleum, invented by American mystic Edgar Cayce, Siembieda evaluates Vargas’s crude oil art practice through an assessment of its environmental impacts. The performative in-spection speculatively and empirically examines assumptions about the materiality of oil. The purpose of this statement is twofold: to analyze the constitution of Crudoleum, contextualizing it within a history of other petropractices, and to continue Vargas’s ongoing critique of the perspective that fossil fuels are ontologically determinate by humans.

Special Section: Art and Atoms

  • An Alchemy of DNA: Exploring the Chemistry of Biology through Bioart
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    This statement is a reflection by artist Anna Dumitriu on her residency with biochemist Robert K. Neely at the University of Birmingham, which led to the creation of The Chemistry of Biology: An Alchemy of DNA, a sculptural and bio-digital installation that premiered at Birmingham Open Media in October 2017. Their project explored the chemical nature of DNA, the enigmatic “instruction book of life” through new super-resolution laser imaging technologies using fluorescent molecules, enabling them to physically observe a region of DNA containing a scarless CRISPR edit to a bacterial genome, building on an earlier project, Make Do and Mend.

Special Section: Art and Cancer

  • Manipulating Stem Cells in New Media Labs: Developing a Protocol Template Toward an Innovative Understanding of Cancer
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    This statement presents a draft of a protocol template designed to manipulate stem cells within the context of a cooperation between biology labs and new media arts labs. This protocol aims at building a methodological synthesis to understand cancerous cells using not only lab facilities but also new media arts tools, applications and vision. The template illustrates potential technical, conceptual and aesthetic inputs derived from a new media arts lab. On the other hand, three output channels have been emphasized to contribute to stem cell research, new media arts research and public engagement.

Special Section: Environment 2.0

  • O-Tū-Kapua (What Clouds See): A Mixed Reality Exploration of Atmospheric Science
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    The authors’ project O-Tū-Kapua (what clouds see) explored concepts related to air quality by creating a mixed reality, art/science, educationally focused exhibition for children, mixing participatory art, scientific concepts and technology. The young are directly affected by the social and environmental impacts of the changing world climate, making their voices particularly important in determining ongoing dialogue about Earth’s atmosphere. Through a nexus of the handmade, education, augmented technology, installation and aural soundscapes, O-Tū-Kapua engaged over 1,000 children. The project also combined real-time air quality and weather data, superimposing it as a virtual data layer on top of hand-drawn images of native flora and fauna. The magnitude of the data determined the visual and aural form of the virtual experience, creating environmentally responsive representations that enabled participants to readily see and interpret how the atmosphere was affecting the native forest in their neighborhood.

  • Mobile Communications Technologies in Tree Time: The Listening Wood
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    This article presents a practice-led investigation by a cross-disciplinary team of artists and computer scientists into the potential for mobile and digital communications technologies to engage visitors to London’s Hampstead Heath with the histories of its veteran urban trees. Focusing on the application of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies within the arboreal environment for the digital poetic walk, The Listening Wood, it considers the reciprocal impact of “tree time” on the development of “slow tech.”

Special Section: Music and Sound Art

  • Introduction to Special Section
  • Sonifying Data: For the Art, for the Science and for What Lies Between
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    To explore intersections of art and science is to acknowledge that there are differing degrees of knowing, understanding and experience. This article describes three data sonification projects the author worked on using datasets from researchers. The sonifications were created to be used within scientifically informed musical performances by Grateful Dead percussionist Mickey Hart. The projects posed particular design challenges for the author as he sought to create “data art” that had “sonification integrity.”

  • TRaNsMOGRiFiER: Fictional Narratives as Catalyst for Experimental Instrument-Building and Musical/Artistic Collaboration
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    The authors report on their artistic research project TRaNsMOGRiFiER and highlight musician-specific approaches to creating with technology that privilege the sharing of tools and practical knowledge. The use of fictional narratives as a catalyst for instrument-building and art-making is at the foreground of the discussion. By rethinking DIY/maker culture with an emphasis on collaboration and collective creativity, the authors highlight the tension between the production of fixed media output and practices that resist encapsulation. TRaNsMOGRiFiER underscores the benefits of hands-on learning and presents a collaborative artistic platform with a focus on open-ended processes and ongoing change.

  • Performing WIKI-PIANO.NET: Strategies for Realizing Alexander Schubert’s Ever-Changing Internet-Composed Piano Work
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    This article explores strategies for interpreting Alexander Schubert’s WIKI-PIANO.NET, a composition commissioned and performed by the author in an international tour in 2018 and 2020. Schubert’s score is a website, all sections of which can be edited by the public, similar to a Wikipedia page. The author’s strategies for interpreting the huge range of content added to the website-score draw upon Schubert’s suggestions, the interdisciplinary rigor advocated by Jennifer Walshe, Henri Bergson’s theories of comedy and the author’s own experience as a composer-performer. These strategies are devised so that, despite the hundreds of compositional contributors, in performance, the final piece is perceived as an “Alexander Schubert work.”

  • Finding Art and the Art of Finding: O que vos nunca cuidei a dizer
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    The article discusses the making of O que vos nunca cuidei a dizer, a gallery work for interactive garment, transducer-based interface and live electronics. A technical description of the work is framed by an account of the creative process, with reference to media archaeological methodology and a discussion of the role of composed instruments in the new paradigms of artistic research.

Leonardo Reviews

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