Leonardo, Volume 51, Issue 5 | Leonardo/ISASTwith Arizona State University
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Artist's Article

  • Virtual Reality—Virtual Brain: Questioning Reality
    Teresa Wennberg, Byeong-jun Han
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    The author’s multimedia art is inspired by memory and cognitive processes. This paper discusses certain human brain functions, including a reflection on the evolution from individual human memory to collective computer memory and the role of the artist in this vital change.

General Article

  • Interactive Sonification of Weather Data for The Locust Wrath, a Multimedia Dance Performance
    PerMagnus Lindborg
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    To work flexibly with the sound design for The Locust Wrath, a multimedia dance performance on the topic of climate change, the author developed software for interactive sonification of climate data. An open-ended approach to parameter mapping allowed tweaking and improvisation during rehearsals, resulting in a large range of musical expression. The sonifications represented weather systems pushing through Southeast Asia in complex patterns. The climate was rendered as a piece of electroacoustic music, whose compositional form— gesture, timbre, intensity, harmony, spatiality—was determined by the data. The article discusses aspects of aesthetic sonification, reports the process of developing the present work and contextualizes the design decisions within theories of cross-modal perception and listening modes.

  • Advanced Constructivism and Postgravity Art: Theoretical and Philosophical Implications
    Mojca Puncer, Jennifer Salmond
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    This article discusses art’s potential in outer space through a dialogue between European and Russian avant-garde traditions, and the postgravity art project by Dragan Živadinov, Dunja Zupančič and Miha Turšič. They enact a 50-year theater performance, Noordung::1995–2045, with the help of high tech, Suprematism and Constructivism. The performance is based on five replays every 10 years with the same actors and on technological substitutes of the deceased. The project has several topical theoretical implications. The author explores its key philosophical aspects and presents new potentialities for a systemic cognitive model for image and space conceptual transformations within the context of contemporary art and aesthetics.

  • Walk-in Theater: Interaction Design for a Miniature Experience with Peripatetic Cinema
    Rachel Strickland, Eric Gould Bear, Jim McKee
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    Walk-in Theater is a portable virtual cinema for the display of spatially distributed multichannel movies (“walkies”). The miniature experience engages participants’ proprioceptors and spatial memory, allowing them to orient themselves as they navigate a field of scattered video streams and localized sounds reproduced on a handheld computing device. Departing from one-way linear cinema played on a single rectangular screen, this multichannel virtual environment pursues a cinematic paradigm that undoes habitual ways of framing things, employing architectural concepts in a polylinear-video polyphonic-sound construction to create a kind of experience that lets the world reveal itself and permits discovery on the part of beholders. Interaction design for Walk-in Theater supports approaches to cinematic construction that employ the ambulatory, multiple and simultaneous viewpoints that humans exercise in everyday life.

Technical Article

Historical Perspective

  • Sculpture in Space: Flotation and Levitation in Postwar Art
    Stephen Petersen
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    The idea of sculpture with no visible contact with the earth, hovering in space without the usual vertical and horizontal orientation, arose in contemporary art practice during the postwar decades, amid the Cold War race for space. In Milan, Paris, Düsseldorf and New York, an array of floating art projects were attempted both inside—and outside-—the art gallery. These artistic experiments offered a counterpoint to the first satellites and manned spacecraft, using simple technologies including magnets and balloons to address complex aesthetic issues raised by the outer-space environment and, in particular, the zero-gravity field. By the late 1960s, free-floating “aerial” and “pneumatic” art had become an international trend, reflecting a new conception of art’s meaning during a time of cultural and technological change.


  • The Character Thinks Ahead: Creative Writing with Deep Learning Nets and Its Stylistic Assessment
    Roger T. Dean, Hazel Smith
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    The authors discuss how to control outputs from deep learning models of text corpora so as to create contemporary poetic works. They assess whether these controls are successful in the immediate sense of creating stylometric distinctiveness. The specific context is the authors’ piece The Character Thinks Ahead (2016–2017); the potential applications are broad.

Extended Abstract

  • Abstract of: A Geometric Surprise in Dürer’s Engraving of St. Jerome in His Study

Special Section: Art and Atoms

  • Scanning Electron Microscope: Transmigration of Scientific Photography into the Domain of Art
    Anastasia Tyurina
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    The author’s visual art project is concentrated in the specific area of scientific photography of the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), which has expanded the boundaries of observation and representation of the micro world since it was introduced to scientific research in the mid-1960s. Like a number of other artists who have preceded the author, she investigates how to interpret scientific images captured by the SEM as aesthetic forms. In particular, the author considers microscale drops of water from different aquatic systems after evaporation. She does so in an attempt to discover morphological features of the patterns related to water contamination and thus continue in the lineage of artists’ attempts to turn scientific photography into a creative art form.

Special Section: Environment 2.0

  • Surrounded: A Series of Sound Installations That Combine Plant Electrophysiology and 3D Sonic Art
    Augustine Leudar, Wolfgang Kerbe
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    This paper discusses a series of sound installations that combine plant electrophysiology with 3D sonic art. A brief introduction to plant electrophysiology is given. The sonification of electrophysiological signals in the mycorrhizal network is discussed, explaining how art and science are combined in this project in a way that differs from the simple sonification of data. Novel 3D audio spatialization techniques, the 3D audio mapping of natural environments and immersion are also discussed, along with technical details of how to read the electrical signals in plants known as action potentials. Other topics addressed include acoustic signaling in the forest, spectral composition and interaction with forest flora and fauna.

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107 pages

Leonardo, Volume 51, Issue 5

October 2018