Leonardo Journal Volume 42, Issue 4, 2009

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Leonardo is a print journal, published five times a year. Leonardo is edited by Leonardo/the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology, and published by the MIT Press.

ONLINE ACCESS: Subscriptions to Leonardo include access to electronic versions of journal issues available on The MIT Press website.

ORDER: Subscriptions, individual issues and articles can also be ordered from The MIT Press.

PAST ISSUES: Browse tables of contents and abstracts of past issues of Leonardo and LMJ

Visit the SIGGRAPH 2009 BioLogic Gallery.

Special SIGGRAPH 2009 Issue


Guest Editorial

by Jacquelyn Martino

Director’s Statement

by Rebecca Strzelec

SIGGRAPH Distinguished Artist Award: Lynn Hershman
SIGGRAPH Distinguished Artist Award: Roman Verostko

Art Papers

Wearable Forest Clothing System: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction

by Hiroki Kobayashi, Ryoko Ueoka, Michitaka Hirose

ABSTRACT: Wearable Forest is a garment that bioacoustically interacts with distant wildlife in a remote forest through a networked remote-controlled speaker and microphone. It expresses the unique bioacoustic beauty of nature and allows users to interact with a forest in real time through a network to acoustically experience a distant forest soundscape, thus merging human and nature without great environmental impact. This novel interactive sound system can create a sense of unity between users and a remote soundscape, enabling users to feel a sense of belonging to nature even in the midst of a city. This paper describes the theory of interaction between Human and Biosphere through the design process of the Wearable Forest concept.

Re-Visioning the Interface: Technological Fashion

by Susan Elizabeth Ryan

ABSTRACT: This paper elucidates two positions (the positivist and the critical) that inform the creative design of technological fashion. On the one side is the instrumentalist trend toward the minimized or disappearing interface. On the other, some theorists and artists suggest that increased invisibility presents social and ethical concerns (such as invasiveness and control) when networking and communication devices are involved.

The 200 Year Continuum

by Christian Kerrigan

ABSTRACT: The 200 Year Continuum is the Producer, Recorder, and Exhibitor in Christian Kerrigan’s advancing anthology of narratives. Central to Kerrigan’s practice is storytelling and mythmaking as a means of engaging his audience. Kerrigan uses drawing as his primary mode of research into these narratives, which are consequently offered in the form of live internet-feed installations acting as ecological sites, scientific experiments introducing new organic technologies, and digital images of worlds unseen. Each addition acts as a "middle story" within The 200 Year Continuum. In his narrative, The Amber Clock, a ship is grown in the yew forest of Kingley Vale over a period of 200 years. The narrative explores the possibilities of time in relationship to technology and the natural world. In his narrative, artificial and wild systems are choreographed, and the natural production of resin is harvested from the yew trees as a way of measuring time.

Experimental Interaction Unit: Commodities of Mass Destruction

by Anuradha Vikram

ABSTRACT: This paper describes several projects by the now-defunct Experimental Interaction Unit that use product design, software engineering, and digital networking to uncover collective behaviors that contribute to systems of social control. Biology and human behavioral studies are essential aspects of this critique. Experimental Interaction Unit’s projects from 1996 to 2001 represent subversive use of technology to reveal unrecognized aspects of human interaction with networks, such as how telematic distance psychologically absolves individuals from taking responsibility for their actions. The fear of vulnerability to terrorist actions, including biological warfare and electronic interference, is exploited in these works, in order to expose the ways in which security is promised in exchange for control.

MobiSpray: Mobile Phone as Virtual Spray Can for Painting BiG Anytime Anywhere On Anything

by Jürgen Scheible and Timo Ojala

ABSTRACT: This paper presents MobiSpray, a novel interactive art tool for creating ubiquitous ephemeral digital art. The mobile phone is employed as a virtual spray can to spray dabs of digital paint onto the physical environment via large-scale projections. The gesture-based control of the mobile phone provides a natural pointing mechanism for the virtual spray can. Experiences from extensive field use around the world testify in favor of a successful design. Most importantly, MobiSpray liberates and empowers the artist to change the environment via large-scale artistic expressions.

A New System to Appreciate the Visual Characteristics of a Painting

by Tsutomu Miyashita

ABSTRACT: A painting viewing system is proposed as a tool to help painting appreciation and to improve the museum experience. This system simultaneously highlights certain visual characteristics of multiple paintings, thus informing users of the links between paintings and the semantic elements that may appear superficially different, and also conveying the art-historical explanation of those characteristics. Through this system’s evaluation, the approach based on "the awareness of the visual characteristics" may be effective as a method of developing the user’s interest in the paintings. When this system is placed in museums and galleries as a mediation tool, it will be useful to a viewer’s preparation for the art-viewing experience. This paper presents the concepts behind the system’s development and the results of the first survey as a piece of a larger project to explore the improvement of painting appreciation as a museum experience.

Souvenirs du monde des montagnes

by Camille Scherrer, Julien Pilet, Vincent Lepetit and Pascal Fua

ABSTRACT: This paper describes a particular book called Souvenirs du monde des montagnes, which draws its iconography from the history of a Swiss mountain family from 1910 to 1930. By simply dipping into the first few pages, the reader will be lost between real and virtual universes, wonder about the evolution of the images’ meanings, and question an object’s true content. This setup, developed using state-of-the-art computer vision technology, offers unprecedented freedom: we can make technological references disappear to place the user in fruitful turmoil between visible and hidden meanings. The shadow of a bird flies over the pages, foxes’ lanterns light up the text, paper mountains emerge. Once the last page has been turned, the reader will never look at books in the same way again.

BioLogic: A Natural History of Digital Life


by Elona Van Gent

Hylozoic Soil

by Philip Beesley

Growth Rendering device

by David Bowen

Post Global Warming Survival Kit

by Petko Dourmana

Electric Eigen-Portraits / Face Shift

by Arthur Elsenaar

Artifacts from a Parallel Universe: Tentative Architecture of Other Earth Coastline Inhabitants

by Xárene Eskandar


by Verena Friedrich


by Yoon Chung Han

MSorgm (Motivational Sensitive Organism)

by Scottie Chih-Chieh Huang


by Kumiko Kushiyama

Mr. Lee Experiment

by Sanghun Lee

Biological Instrumentation

by Nina Tommasi

Updated 29 July 2009