Leonardo, Volume 48, Issue 2 | Leonardo/ISASTwith Arizona State University
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Artist’s Article

  • Scorescapes: On Sound, Environment and Sonic Consciousness
    Yolande Harris
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    The author discusses Scorescapes, an artistic research project that investigates how sound mediates our relationship to the environment and how contemporary multidisciplinary art practices can articulate this. Scorescapes joins the author’s own artistic practice with a theoretical analysis that highlights how relationships to the environment drawn through sound are profoundly bound up with technology. Key concepts include: making the inaudible audible; underwater sound and cetacean communication; field recordings and the contextual basis of sound; typologies of listening; the score as relationship; and techno-intuition.

General Articles

  • Splicing Boundaries: The Experiences of Bioart Exhibition Visitors
    Wolfgang Kerbe
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    Bioart can cross the line between the scientific domain and that of arts and may touch the boundary between the living and the nonliving. This study addresses how visitors to a bioart exhibition experienced the hybrid aspects of this form of art. Semi-structured interviews were held with 119 visitors to the synth-ethic exhibition in Vienna, Austria, in May and June 2011. Analysis shows that for a majority of visitors the use of bacteria and lower organisms does not pose an ethical problem, whereas integration of higher animals or even humans into the artwork is not readily accepted.

  • Fluids in Motion: Inspiration and Realization for Artists and STEMists
    Norman J. Zabusky
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    The author examines contemporary work in fluids in motion and demonstrates strong connections between visual art and science resulting from innovative technology. In one burgeoning domain—falling liquid drops impacting solid surfaces and liquid pools—it is valuable to compare how artists and scientists describe their goals and their use of high-speed photography to capture and measure events. The author also examines the use of devices to create still images, animations and objects: computers/software for simulation, visualization and 3D printing; installations at focal locations. Finally, he examines the utilization of digital technology by artists, educators, museums and galleries for innovative and interactive displays.

General Notes

  • Can Music Supplant Math in Environmental Planning?
    Zong Woo Geem
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    Can music supplant mathematics for planning environmental systems? The author’s research and experience as presented here would indicate as much. First, an optimization problem is formulated where the number of ecological reserves is to be minimized while conserving all species in a region. Next, the author describes a music-inspired optimization algorithm called “harmony search” by focusing on the analogy between music performance and problem optimization. Finally, computational results are shown.

  • Art, Science and Communities of Practice
    Brett Wilson, Barbara Hawkins, Stuart Sim
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    Through editorials such as Bob Root-Bernstein’s ArtScience “manifesto” in Leonardo Vol. 44, No. 3 (2011), Leonardo has long encouraged a broader and more inclusive understanding of the subtle interplay between science and art, and the belief that as individuals and cultural agents we all blend both aspects in our respective fields of endeavor. However, discourse and collaboration across the arts, sciences and humanities is not yet a mature and fully effective process. The authors contribute to this debate by drawing on elements of their Project Dialogue research program, set alongside published accounts of experiences at earlier U.K. art-science programs, to sketch out a theoretical framework that could inform ArtScience through a re-formulated cultural model of knowledge encompassing art and science.

Technical Article

  • Studies in Composing Hydrogen Atom Wavefunctions
    Lance Putnam, Luca Peliti
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    The authors present their studies in composing elementary wavefunctions of a hydrogen-like atom and identify several relationships between physical phenomena and musical composition that helped guide the process. The hydrogen-like atom accurately captures some of the fundamental quantum mechanical phenomena of nature and supplies the composer with a set of well-defined mathematical constraints that can create a wide variety of complex spatiotemporal patterns. The authors explore the visual appearance of time-dependent combinations of two and three eigenfunctions of an electron with spin in a hydrogen-like atom, highlighting the resulting symmetries and symmetry changes.

Special Section of Leonardo Transactions: Agency in Movement, Part 1

  • Agency in Movement: An Introduction
    Ionat Zurr
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    Agency in Movement is a collection of papers responding to ideas concerning perceptions of life and agency through movement. This quest is part of a research project that explores, practically and theoretically, the animation of lab-grown life: Tissue Engineered Muscle Actuator (TEMA). Here the author introduces different approaches to untangle the relations between life and movement.

  • Not Moving—Living
    Oron Catts
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    This paper will explore the challenges of presenting unmediated liveness of living tissue engineered sculptures and overcoming the perceptual stillness of the semi-living. By looking at the work of The Tissue Culture Art Project which since 1996 has used living tissue in its artworks, the author explores the strategies of dealing with the presentation of “aliveness” in living, yet seemingly motionless, “objects”.

  • Choreographic Arrhythmias
    Jennifer Johung
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    Aberrations in the constancy and duration of movement challenge the determination of bodies and things within and beyond dance. In fact, 19th-century anthropological studies on animism and recent cognitive science experiments on timescale bias demonstrate that the agency of erratic motion is difficult to apprehend. From irregular and unexpected movements in dance to the variable tempos of cell motility, this paper considers how arrhythmic choreography recalibrates the agency of matter, objects, bodies and environments.

  • Muscles as Motors and Muscles as Brakes
    Gavin Jon Pinniger
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    During normal daily activities, muscles are required to lengthen as frequently as they shorten to produce movement. Lengthening muscle actions are associated with high forces and low energy consumption, but can often result in muscle injury. These unique features are not explained adequately by current (cross-bridge) theories of muscle contraction. Using specific myosin inhibitors and different temperatures the author has examined the molecular mechanisms of stretch-induced force enhancement. The results, which suggest that lengthening force arises from the strain of both cross-bridge and non-cross-bridge components of the sarcomere, help to refine understanding of the molecular mechanisms of muscle contraction.

  • More than Meat and a Motor: The Diverse Biomechanical Roles of Skeletal Muscle and Their Place in ‘Semi-Living’ Machines
    Jonas Rubenson
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    The biomechanical roles of skeletal muscle and their tendons are diverse. Perhaps most intuitively, muscle is regarded as a biological ‘motor’ that provides the work required for accelerating the body and overcoming aero- and hydrodynamic forces. With detailed biomechanical analyses, more intricate roles of the muscle-tendon unit have been uncovered, ranging from energy recyclers, to shock absorbers and capacitors. The functional scope of muscle-tendon tissue makes it an attractive choice for exploring bio-machine integration. Research and cross-disciplinary collaboration at SymbioticA offers a testbed for scientific and artistic exploration into engineered muscle-tendon constructs and the broader philosophical debate surrounding their place in ‘semi-living’ machine systems.

  • The Affects of Agency: An Entangled Ethnography of a Living Machine
    Chris Salter
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    The author discusses an experimental and interdisciplinary art science project based out of SymbioticA and in collaboration with Ionat Zurr and Oron Catts that attempts to construct a “living machine” out of skeletal muscle tissue and the ontological, aesthetic and methodological complexities inherent in such a project.

  • On Life, Movement and Stoppage: Agency and Ethics in the Anthropocene
    Joanna Zylinska
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    Responding to the current narratives about the impending planetary catastrophe caused by our human activity, this philosophy-cum-art piece develops a more affirmative story about life, death and extinction. Framed as a non-normative ethics for the Anthropocene, it considers the human’s expanded obligations towards the bio- and geosphere, while also critically reflecting on the very constitution of this “human”.


  • On the Nature of the Background Behind Mona Lisa
    Claus-Christian Carbon, Vera M. Hesslinger
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    One of the many questions surrounding Leonardo’s Mona Lisa concerns the landscape visible in the portrait’s background: Does it depict an imagination of Leonardo’s mind, a real world landscape or the motif of a plane canvas that hung in Leonardo’s studio, behind the sitter? By analyzing divergences between the Mona Lisa and her Prado double that was painted in parallel but from another perspective the authors found mathematical evidence for the motif-canvas hypothesis: The landscape in the Prado version is 10% increased but otherwise nearly identical with the Louvre one, which indicates both painters used the same plane motif-canvas as reference.

  • Critical Aesthetics and Compositional Informatics
    Colin Holter, Sarah Pink
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    The author discusses his compositional practice, which relies on the application of information-processing technologies to problematize conventions of musical meaning.

  • Research in Human-Computer-Biosphere Interaction
    Hill Hiroki Kobayashi
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    Currently human-computer interaction (HCI) is primarily focused on human-centric interactions. However, people experience many non-human-centric interactions every day. Interactions with nature can reinforce the importance of our relationship with nature. This paper presents the author’s vision of human-computer-biosphere interaction (HCBI) to facilitate non-human-centric interaction with the goal of moving society towards environmental sustainability.

  • Visions Project K. 1 DIY: 3D Interactive Device
    Francesca Mereu, Javier Villarroel
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    The Visions Project K. 1 is an interactive video installation consisting of a volumetric device that allows visualization of 3D objects and their interaction with the user in real time. Objects are projected onto a pyramidal structure with an LCD monitor, and due to the special geometry of the structure, they look like real 3D objects floating inside the pyramid for any observer from any direction. The modular design of the components of the structure enables the user to build his or her own device DIY (Do It Yourself).

  • Manifesto on Art, Design and Social Science—Method as Speculative Event
    Mike Michael, Brigid Costello, Julie Mooney-Somers, Ian Kerridge
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    The authors propose that techniques from art and design can be used within social science research as part of a speculative methodology and provide a set of heuristic principles for speculative method, characterizing it as processual, performative, playful, promising and propositional.

  • The Dialectics of Kinesis + Stasis in My Visual Art
    Maureen Nappi
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    The author reflects on how her work in both kinetic and static arts has influenced—and continues to influence—her approach to her art practice as a whole.

  • A DJ in the Library
    Noémie Soula
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    Disc Jockeys (DJs) have worked with large collections of electronic media since the advent of file sharing in the 1990s. Each week, or more often, they generate fresh sets of material from the collection and present them publicly. The DJ’s interaction with the digital collection has to support recall and encounter in a creative flow. Their system for retrieving and using information enables learning, stimulates creativity, and allows responsive presentation and publication. The DJ’s model of information interaction is a read/write engagement in the archive: a system of authorship that reuses pre-authored material. It is transferable to other data-representations.

  • Sequences and Intervals
    Gareth Polmeer
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    This article discusses some ideas around video and color through nature, landscape and technology. This is related to experimental film and video practices in Europe and North America and various aesthetic traditions.

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Leonardo, Volume 48, Issue 2

April 2015