Leonardo, Volume 36, Issue 4

August 2003




The Leonardo Gallery

Special Section: Global Crossings: The Cultural Roots of Globalization: The Spirit and Power of Water Project

  • Introduction: The Spirit and Power of Water: A Leonardo Virtual Africa Workshop
  • From “Life-Water” to “Death-Water” or On the Foundations of African Artistic Creation from Yesterday to Tomorrow
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    The question of water crosses all African cultures—water as the critical factor for a happy life (life-water) or water mastered as a source of malediction (death-water). The aquatic nature of such a civilization appears then as the foundation of shapes and contents of African artistic expression. An analysis of various forms of creation shows that, without a lucid understanding of the power of water in the constitution of Africa's identity, it is impossible to interpret correctly African art from yesterday to tomorrow.

  • Fragments of a Flow: A Thread of Water in the Video Work of Irit Batsry
  • Nommo—The Spirit of Water—in the Dogon World
  • Alma Da Água: A Space Awareness Initiative
  • Liquid Light: Working With Water
  • Music, Colors and Movements of Water
  • The Symbolic Function of Water in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Cultural Approach
  • Wave Rings
  • Memory of Water

Artist's Article

  • Decon2 (Decon Squared): Deconstructing Decontamination
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    Decon is short for decontamination (e.g. stripdown and washdown in response to anthrax scares, etc.), but the term “decon” is also a short form for “deconstruction” (literary criticism asserting multiple conflicting interpretations of philosophical, political or social implications rather than an author's intention). The author describes an anthrax ready mailroom exhibit that included mass casualty decontamination showers, which he built in the summer of 2001, based on a patent he filed in April 2000, to deconstruct the coming “war on terrorism” and the suspension of civil liberties and personal privacy that might follow in the wake of bioterror attacks.

General Article

  • Personal Profiles of Color Synesthesia: Developing a Testing Method for Artists and Scientists
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    The authors describe a practical method for assessing personal profiles of color:word, color:taste, color:music and color:odor synesthesia. The Netherlands Color Synesthesia (NeCoSyn) method is based on the Swedish Natural Color System and the test of genuineness for colored-word synesthesia developed by Baron-Cohen et al. The NeCoSyn method has been tested scientifically and shown to reliably distinguish different types of color synesthesia. It provides individual profiles of color synesthesia in the dimensions of hue, chroma and blackness. This article describes the method and discusses possible applications of NeCoSyn profiles in different fields of the arts and sciences.

Historical Perspective on the Arts, Scienes and Technology

Artists' Statements

Special Section: Intersenses and New Technologies

  • Introduction: Intersenses and New Technologies
  • Sense and Intersensoriality
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    Intersensoriality is part of the more general problem of musical meaning: How does sound relate to something outside of the world of sound? If we distinguish the “form” of sound from its “matter,” the discussion can then be divided into two parts. First, how can sound forms (shapes, profiles) suggest other temporal forms, such as movement? The hypothesis developed here is that sensorimotor experience is generalized to furnish a base, in successive layers, for identifying suggested movements that are more and more abstract. Secondly, how can a sound be said to be “hot” or “cold,” “dark” or “clear”? Metaphors concerning the matter of sound deal with a common level of synesthesia; a few stages of the historical study of this phenomenon are recalled here.

  • Motor-Mimetic Music Cognition
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    Music appeals to more than just our sense of hearing, and clearly we often associate other sensations with music. These non-sonorous sensations seem to be inseparable from the experience of music; in particular, images of movement appear to be deeply embedded in our perception and cognition of music. Explorations of mental images of music-related movement could enhance our understanding of music as a phenomenon, as well as be of practical value in various music-making tasks.

  • Synesthesia: A Multimodal Combination of Senses
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    Synesthesia is an unusual phenomenon that is occasionally reported in artists and writers. In its pathological context, synesthesia is described as a confusion of the senses where the excitation of one sense triggers stimulation in a completely different sensory modality. In contrast to this pathological form, synesthesia can also be considered as a physiological behavior that involves a multimodal combination of all senses. Such an expression of sensory perception can also be considered as a natural process that contributes to the adaptation of the living organism to its environment. The author attempts to analyze the cerebral mechanisms involved in sensory perception and synesthesia.

Leonardo Reviews