Leonardo, Volume 54, issue 5 | Leonardo/ISASTwith Arizona State University
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Artists’ Articles

  • Earth-Centered Communication Technology: Lichen as a Model Interface
    Jules Litman-Cleper
    Get at MIT Press

    Earth-Centered Communication Technology (Earth Tech Net) is a framework that aims to shift technological value systems away from the normative human and toward planetary-aware ecological inclusivity. The framework grounds computational media as part of ecological evolutionary forces. It also generates experimental artworks that can reveal the current limitations of technological value systems and how they shape human behavior at different scales, as well as create models of an ecologically focused paradigm of technology, for example, an augmented-reality (AR) lichen interface made to model a hypothetical Earth-communication device that connects different species together.

  • Volumetric Reconstructions of Found Footage: Stressing the Nonidentity of 3D Replicas
    Gabriel Menotti
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    This article examines the history and operational underpinnings of forms of volumetric reconstruction based on the capture of visual data, particularly photogrammetry. Photogrammetry is one of the chief techniques currently employed in the production of virtual replicas for heritage conservation and audiovisual production. The computational realism resulting from this process induces the belief that it is possible to recover the totality of an object from its medial traces. The author analyzes how his work, as well as those of other artists, challenges this technological promise by exploring the formal idiosyncrasies of photogrammetric models.

  • Tracking the Loving Gaze
    Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert, Omiros Panayides
    Get at MIT Press


    Tracking the Loving Gaze is a futile attempt to follow, map and
    capture the way cherished personal photographs are viewed. The authors asked 30
    survey subjects to use an eye tracker while looking at a preselected photograph
    that held a special meaning for them. The raw visual data from this
    process—heat maps, focus maps and scan paths—became the foundation
    of a body of work that includes darkroom prints, short videos and a
    limited-edition artist book. Apart from exploring the invisible viewing
    processes of personal photography, this article introduces the concepts of the
    detached and the invested viewer as well as the corresponding concepts of the
    cold and the loving gaze.

  • DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Electronics, Coin-Operated Relic Boxes and Techno-Animist Shrines
    Emit Snake-Beings
    Get at MIT Press

    The author uses creative practice and DIY electronics as the vehicle for a practice-led inquiry into the similarities between techno-animism and material agency. Combining technology with aspects of magic and religion, techno-animism is an emerging concept in postmodern anthropology used to discuss the sentient agency of objects and materials within the context of modern technological societies. This combination of seemingly disparate fields of knowledge is the basis of a postdisciplinary research into creative practices, attitudes and ethos using a series of artifacts that visualize the ideas of techno-animism, made by the author over a period of 30 years.

Artists’ Note

  • SEEC: Photography at the Speed of Light
    Enar de Dios Rodriguez, Brannon Klopfer, Philipp Haslinger, Thomas Juffmann
    Get at MIT Press

    SEEC photography is a project at the intersection of art and science. It uses modern technology to record the motion of light, to see c, that is, the universal physical constant for the speed of light and the inspiration for the project name SEEC. In order to familiarize the general public with this physical phenomenon, SEEC records light moving across familiar objects, with visual scenes paying homage to iconic images from the history of photography. Exposure times shorter than 0.3 nanoseconds allow the authors to capture light (Greek: phos) in the process of writing (Greek: graphein) an image.

General Articles

  • How Music AI Is Useful: Engagements with Composers, Performers and Audiences
    Oded Ben-Tal, Matthew Harris, Bob Sturm
    Get at MIT Press

    Critical but often overlooked research questions in artificial intelligence applied to music involve the impact of the results for music. How and to what extent does such research contribute to the domain of music? How are the resulting models useful for music practitioners? This article describes work arising from research engaging with composers, musicians and audiences to address such questions: two websites that make their AI models accessible to a wide audience and a professionally recorded album released to expert reviewers to gauge the plausibility of AI-generated material. The authors describe the use of their models as tools for cocreation. Evaluating AI research and music models in such ways illuminates their impact on music-making.

  • Exploratory Discoveries from Eye-Tracking Tests of Wertheimer’s Gestalt Patterns
    Xinran Hu, Dinko Bačić
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    In this study, the authors use a novel eye-tracking technology to determine how
    viewing behavior complies with Wertheimer’s descriptions of Gestalt
    principles of similarity, proximity, continuation and closure. The results show
    that viewers respond predictably to most Gestalt principles and that there are
    nuances to note when it comes to better understanding the role of visual
    attention in the closure principle and competing principles. In addition, the
    results reveal a fundamental distinction between visual attention and visual
    perception. By grasping this critical difference between attention and
    perception, designers may become more successful in applying Gestalt principles
    to their design.

General Note

  • Light Mantle: Quantifying Daylight Perception in Edward Hopper’s Spaces
    Emil Osorio-Schmied
    Get at MIT Press

    The spaces represented in Edward Hopper’s paintings are taken as a model by an academic project about light behavior in architecture, the goal of which is to develop a quantitative approach contrastable with the perception of natural light in such paintings. With the support of a physical model and a smartphone as measurement and verification instruments, the author tests the idea that it is possible to establish links between sensory registers and the performance of light in a certain precinct, using as a starting point the question posed by Hopper about the feasibility of light.

Special Section: Leonardo Abstracts Service: Top-Rated LABS Abstracts 2020

Special Section: Artists and War

  • Art, Censorship and Nuclear Warfare
    Gabrielle Decamous
    Get at MIT Press

    The traumas of nuclear warfare, from 1945 to the end of the Cold War, are not merely calamities of the past. They still have contemporary consequences, contaminating the health, lives and memories of the many nuclearized cultures in Japan, Oceania and other places. The author argues that looking at past and present artworks representing the nuclear age helps us to understand nuclear nations’ biopower and its lasting effects.

  • Is There a Place in Human Consciousness Where Surveillance Cannot Go? Noor: A Brain Opera
    Ellen Pearlman
    Get at MIT Press


    Noor: A Brain Opera is the first fully interactive, immersive brainwave opera, in which a performer wearing a wireless EEG brainwave headset touches, gazes and walks around audience members in a 360° theater while a story is narrated. Her measured emotional states trigger videos, sound and a prerecorded libretto as her emotions are displayed as live time-colored bubbles. The opera rhetorically asks: “Is there a place in human consciousness where surveillance cannot go?” This article discusses the rationale and implementation of the brainwave opera.

Special Section: ArtScience: The Essential Connection

  • A Nest for Art and Science
    Jorge Pérez-Gallego, Erin Espelie, Tara Knight
    Get at MIT Press

    Forming part of the University of Colorado Boulder’s Grand Challenge initiative, the Nature, Environment, Science & Technology (NEST) Studio for the Arts is a new endeavor that explores the interrelation, generative overlaps and productive differences between the sciences and the arts by means of exhibitions, student work, lectures, panels, courses and events. Operationally launched in the summer of 2018, NEST seeks efforts that engage with central questions regarding alternative and constructive ways of passing information and methodologies back and forth between the two worlds. Efforts such as these are key to advancing cross-disciplinary efforts in siloed campuses across the nation.

  • Narcissus and Echo: Reflections on an Art-Science Collaboration
    Dolores Steinman, David A. Steinman, Peter W. Coppin
    Get at MIT Press

    More than a decade ago, the authors proposed establishing a basis for scientific exploration of blood-flow dynamics intertwined with the visual arts. Here they present a case study showing how paradigms they codeveloped for visually abstracting cerebral aneurysm blood flows were extrapolated to sonification and bimodal representations, and how a close interdisciplinary partnership was effected by guiding engineering students versed in the arts and artists adept with digital technology toward final outcomes greater than the sum of their parts.

Special Section: ArtScience: The Essential Connection/Watershed

Special Section: Abstracts from the Spectra 2018 Symposium

Leonardo Reviews

The Network


  • Acoustic to Electronic and Public to Private: An Introduction to Music in the Great Expansion (1700–2100 CE)
    Marc Jensen

Leonardo, Volume 54, issue 5

October 2021