Leonardo, Volume 51, issue 3 | Leonardo/ISASTwith Arizona State University
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Editorial Response

Artist's Article

  • Creating Emotion-Sensitive Interactive Artworks: Three Case Studies
    Adinda van 't Klooster
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    Emotion-sensitive artworks provide a challenging yet rewarding locus of activity. After a comparative review of the situation in art and music with respect to emotion research, three innovative, interactive and emotion-sensitive artworks are described. The Emotion Light (2009) is an interactive biofeedback sculpture in the shape of a light-emitting uterus that responds by changing color depending on the arousal level of the person holding it. In a State (2014) and BioCombat (2015) are generative, interactive live performance systems that detect emotion from audio or live biosignals, respectively, and create abstract animations and electroacoustic music in response.

General Articles

  • Image Creation through Manipulation of Transform Space Representations
    David Brownrigg
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    The author utilizes the mode space of certain transforms for digital image data to change and combine images in ways that cannot be visualized directly by an artist. The author’s methods include a novel use of nonmatched transform pairs in forward and backward processing. The results retain some broad predictability of effect, while the outcomes of using a particular method vary by image. This demonstrates that an artist can guide the choice of techniques used while obtaining unexpected results that suggest variations in the creative process. Results of this research illustrate some of the systematic and individual effects obtainable in several dimensions using such techniques.

  • Inside Out: Video Mapping and the Architectural Facade
    Eran Neuman, Jennifer Bornstein
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    This article discusses the conceptual implications of the introduction of video mapping to building facades, the role of the facade as an architectural mediator between interior and exterior spaces and the ways in which video mapping transforms this role. At one time transparent (in modern architecture) and then opaque (in postmodern architecture), the architectural facade has traditionally maintained its integrity as a mediator between public and private spheres. Video mapping proposes to transform this situation by creating an ever-changing image for the facade, as well as by exploiting the facade’s ability to absorb any projection on its surface. The outcome is a video-mapped facade, composed of both a physical surface and the video’s virtual images; together, these two elements create a new type of architectural facade.

General Note

  • Jean-Michel Basquiat, Charles Darwin, T.H. Huxley, the Origin of Cotton and Gregor Mendel (Inventor of X-rays)
    Bethany F. Econopouly, Stephen S. Jones
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    The drawing Untitled (Charles Darwin) (1983), by the late Jean-Michel Basquiat, incorporates portraits of biologists, geneticists and genetical terms. What follows is a personal reflection on how the text and symbolism of Untitled affected the authors as plant breeders, causing them to pause and reflect on their own work and that of their field. They learned how art speaks to the spectator differently from direct conversation, allowing for subtler, but perhaps more effective, criticism and a unique opportunity for public peer review. By employing emotion and invoking empathy, art places scientists in the depths of the ethical, sociopolitical and historical contexts in which their work unfolds, urging them to see more fully. In the end, the authors expose their own biases.

Historical Perspectives

  • Foresight and Hindsight
    Mihai Nadin, O.S. Adelabu
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    Computation existed long before the computer—and there were artists, seduced by the beauty of mathematics, who integrated computation into their creative endeavors. With the advent of the digital machine, the relation between aesthetic artifacts and computation was redefined. This article deals with images produced between 1965 and 1970. The generation of images associated with mathematical formulae raised questions regarding art’s condition and the nature of creativity. These are addressed from the perspective of aesthetic experiments. Through dedicated experiments involving computers in Eastern Europe, particularly in (communist) Romania, artists strove for artistic freedom.

  • The Pioneer of Generative Art: Georg Nees
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    The pioneer of computer art Georg Nees passed away on 3 January 2016, at the age of 89. He was the first to exhibit computer-generated drawings, in Stuttgart in February 1965. Influenced by Max Bense’s information aesthetics (a rational aesthetics of the object based on Shannon’s information theory), Nees completed his PhD thesis in 1968 (in German). Its title, Generative Computergraphik, is an expression of the new movement of generative art and design. Trained as a mathematician, Nees participated in many early, but also recent, displays of computer art. After retiring from his research position at Siemens in Erlangen, he again concentrated on computer-generated art and researched issues of digital coloring but also wrote several novels expressing his philosophy of a nonreligious, human-made culture.


  • Closing the Loop of Inspiration-to-Creation: Responding with Programmable Sphere
    Shengen Lim, Byungjoo Lee, Kwangyun Wohn
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    In this statement, we envision a futuristic direction of art creation that explores the uncharted possibilities of incorporating program-mable inspirations into the creative process. We invited three artists to draw an object called Programmable Sphere, which dynamically changed its shape and texture in response to the artist’s movement. From this experiment, in which an artist and an external object are dynamically coupled, we discuss new possibilities of artistic expression when inspiration is not isolated from the creation process.

  • Mapping Indeterminacy and Chance through Movement Notation: A Study on Dance Improvisation
    Kai-Han Chung, June-Hao Hou
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    A dance notation system is usually regarded as a representation tool rather than a creative tool. This paper uses the indeterminacy approach as a creativity method to assist body-based limb exercise and development. The movement notation system is constructed based on the effort action from Laban Movement Analysis. In-depth interviews provide a comprehensive insight into the choreographer’s perspective. The findings show that the notation system and body-based improvisation training are not mutually exclusive. Therefore, the use of a notation system gives dancers a better understanding of how movements interact with various stimuli, in relation to internal and external environments.

Special Section: Papers from the 4th and 5th Balance-Unbalance International Conference, Part 2

  • Papers from the 4th and 5th Balance-Unbalance International Conference, Part 2
    Ricardo Dal Farra
  • Climate Change and Cultural Heritage in Western Mongolia
    Jennifer C. Post
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    This report addresses the impact of climate change on cultural production among Kazakh mobile pastoral herders in the Altai Mountains of western Mongolia. It highlights the body of ecological knowledge that herders carry from generation to generation and express in their music, instruments, textiles, and heritage actions such as work patterns and social gatherings. Extreme weather events, loss of water sources, and desertification have deeply impacted herders and this is expressed in their cultural forms. The study engages with rangeland and climate science and draws on the author’s fieldwork with Kazakh herders in Mongolia.

  • Beak Disorder: A Sound and Sculpture Installation
    Leslie Sharpe
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    This paper discusses Leslie Sharpe’s sound and sculpture installation project “Beak Disorder,” exhibited at Manizales, Columbia for Balance-Unbalance 2016. The work addresses how anthropogenic climate change may be affecting birds in the Pacific Northwest regions of Canada and the United States. “Beak Disorder” is a project that references an unexplained condition documented in birds in the Northwest of Canada and Alaska called “avian keratin disorder” where the bird’s beak becomes distorted and elongated. The work includes a series of 3D printed distorted beaks as well as a sound piece and web component.

  • Sensitive Territories: Performatives Researchers in Arts and Nature
    Walmeri Ribeiro, Daniel Quaranta
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    Inserted in the field of art in dialogue with climate changes research and, particularly, the social impacts in contemporary society, this paper presents the contribution of performative researchers in this area of discussion. It also presents the actions and artistic intervention realized by Sensitive Territories project.

  • Man, Nature and Technology—Eastern Philosophy, Global Issues and Western Digital Visualization Practice
    Christin Bolewski
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    This practice-based research project explores cross-cultural influences between the West and the East. It reinvestigates relationships of man and nature in Eastern traditional art and philosophy and transposes the content to contemporary global environmental issues. The outcomes are two ambient digital video art animations presented as video painting on high-resolution wall-mounted flat screen displays.

  • Alternative Strategies in Contemporary Art Practice
    nina Czegledy
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    In the last decades, the blurring of boundaries between artists, curators, venues and audiences has created an entirely new ecology where nearly every phase, every aspect, and every role embodied in contemporary art practice is profoundly changing in previously unanticipated ways. Alternate strategies performed in the creation and presentation of emerging eco art projects definitely illustrates this premise.

  • Microbial Nanoids, Electronic Arts in the Face of Mexico’s Megadiversity Crisis
    Reynaldo Thompson, Tirtha Prasad Mukhopadhyay
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    In this paper the authors describe the pioneering robot designed by Arcangel Constantini, called the Nanodrizas (2006). Nanodrizas is a cluster of small robots resembling extraterrestrial flying objects. They are introduced into an ecosystem for water recycling, among other effects. The result of a seriocomic robotic device like the Nanodrizas is to make the viewer aware of the specific technology that would one day allow humans to invite machines and artificial life-systems to save an environment that is precariously balanced on the edge.

  • Gardens, Machines and Education
    Shannon C. McMullen, Fabian Winkler, Steven Zuiker, David Carrier
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    The authors discuss their contributions to the 2015 Balance-Unbalance conference goals, bringing together McMullen_Winkler’s Soybots artwork and Zuiker’s Connected Gardening partnership with a local Phoenix elementary school. This collaborative effort balanced art, plants and technology for alternative learning experiences about future natures.

  • River Listening: Acoustic Ecology and Aquatic Bioacoustics in Global River Systems
    Leah Barclay, Toby Gifford, Simon Linke
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    River Listening is an interdisciplinary research project exploring the cultural and biological diversity of global river systems through sound. The project examines the creative possibilities of accessible and noninvasive recording technologies to monitor river health and engage local communities in the conservation of global river systems. River Listening combines emerging fields of science with acoustic ecology, creativity and digital technology to further the understanding of aquatic biodiversity and inspire action at a time when the conservation and management of freshwater ecosystems is a critical priority.

  • Building Environmentally Attuned Communities: The Politics of Alvin Curran’s Maritime Rites
    Joseph Finkel
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    Alvin Curran (1938–) has always spent time near bodies of water and this fact has arguably left a mark on his compositions from his important work Songs and Views of the Magnetic Garden (1975) for live performance and sounds of gentle water waves, which Curran recorded on tape, to his ongoing series Maritime Rites (ca. 1975–) for musicians in boats on bodies of water. This essay examines Curran’s use of water as a compositional resource while also considering ideas such as music outside of the concert hall and building environmentally attuned communities.

  • Modern Science, Nature and the Phenomenology of Data Collection
    Meredith Hoy, Yixue Li
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    Artistic practices of data collection frequently reconfigure the ways in which we imagine ecosystems to operate. The interventions the author discusses here explore atmospheric conditions through visualization and sonification of data collected about phenomena indirectly experienced by the viewer. Each of the projects examined in this paper specifically address the unbalancing effects on the land and atmosphere of the byproducts of human technologies. Additionally, these artworks demonstrate how human subjectivity cannot simply encapsulate experience of the world as if from an outside perspective, but must be incorporated into the greater environmental systems of which it is a part.

  • Comu arvulu scippatu: A Cycle of Pieces for Solo Violin
    Marcello Messina, Leonardo Feichas
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    At Balance-Unbalance 2016 in Manizales, the authors presented a cycle of four musical pieces for solo violin, Comu arvulu scippatu. This commentary illustrates the theoretical premises and the technical circumstances of their work, highlighting the noncoercive, horizontal quality of their collaboration and the historico-critical background of the composition.

  • Transforming Nature
    Margot McMahon
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    Interpretations of human, plant and animal forms define the sculptures and drawings of Margot McMahon. Humans, plants and animals symbolizing lifeforms may be fused into organic interpretations in bronze, ciment Fondu, aluminum, stone or wood. These sculptural symbols, in natural materials, emphasize the importance of interdependent and unique evolved forms of nature.

  • The Live Audio Archive
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    The Live Audio Archive is what is called the shifting pool of real-time audio available online. Each year on International Dawn Chorus Day, SoundCamp draws on these materials for Reveil: a 24-hour broadcast of live sounds of daybreak that loops the earth with the Grey Line of twilight. Reveil brings remote ecological and acoustic projects together in a tour of this emerging field. Technical resources developed for the project are applicable to both ecoacoustics and musical composition. Affordable and simple, they have potential to create an extended and diversified open microphone network as a resource for researchers, artists and activists.

  • Atmo-Sphere: Art and Conscious Environmental Visualization
    Maria Cristina Villanova Biasuz
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    It is presented a reflection on the possibilities that Art can have in engaging audiences across the world on activities that foster consciousness and responsibility concerning the future of the Earth. Through interactivity enabled by technology one can propose projects with young artists and observe the impact that Art can have in their lives and the way they face the ever-changing society, its processes/products and how these can affect the environment. A virtual object presented by our research group will be the focus of our theorization concerning: Data, Science and Eco Action looking at Art and Technology through interactive art objects.

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Leonardo, Volume 51, issue 3

June 2018