Leonardo, Volume 55, Issue 2 | Leonardo/ISASTwith Arizona State University
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Artists’ Articles

  • Exploring 4D Image Sets of Early Heart Development Using Gesture and an Immersive, Spatial Operating Environment
    John Carpenter, Rusty Lansford
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    Scientists today can collect more data than they can perceive using traditional
    visualization methods. New technologies and sensors allow researchers to gather
    dynamic, complex multidimensional datasets—all of which must be carefully
    studied to reveal hidden patterns and narratives. The authors used an immersive
    platform to design a new visualization for real-time, intuitive spatial
    manipulations of time-based volumetric datasets via a wand-based gestural
    interface. The resulting work resolves microscopic tissue structures at a human
    scale in a room-based pixel space, facilitating research, discovery and
    in-person teaching and collaboration.

  • The Data Imaginaries of Climate Art: The Manifest Data Project
    Tom Corby, Gavin Baily, Jonathan Mackenzie, Giles Lane, erin dickson, Louise Sime, George Roussos
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    The authors discuss a series of artworks produced since 2009, including The Southern Ocean Studies (2012), The Northern Polar Studies (2014) and Carbon Topographies (2020). Through this work they explore how climate models can be employed to develop data-driven imaginaries of climate change, its impacts and causes. They argue for the experiential potential of this information for producing differently situated ways of knowing climate, framing this through a methodological approach described as “data manifestation.”

General Articles

  • Who (or What) Is an AI Artist?
    Kieran Browne
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    The mainstream contemporary art world is suddenly showing interest in AI art. While this has enlivened the practice, there remains significant disagreement over who or what actually deserves to be called an AI artist. This article examines several claimants to the term and grounds these in art history and theory. It addresses the controversial elevation of some artists over others and accounts for these choices, arguing that the art market alienates AI artists from their work. Finally, it proposes that AI art’s interactions with art institutions have not promoted new creative possibilities but have instead reinforced conservative forms and aesthetics.

  • Mathematical Inspiration for Color Choices in Oblique, Open-Work Weaving
    Eva Knoll, Tara Taylor
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    The authors propose a connection between mathematical and aesthetic reasoning for the case of color selection in oblique, open-work woven artifacts. The general approach is first modeled on a set of open-work squares. Rotational symmetries of the square provide a mathematica starting point for a set of four open-work mats woven with paper strips. A mathematical eye, guided by concepts such as symmetries and equivalence relations, helps determine aesthetic choices for the set, specifically with respect to color. This color selection algorithm is then applied to a more complicated woven artifact.

  • The Flesh of Imagination: Locating Materiality in Biology-Inspired Visual Art
    Asmita Sarkar, Aileen Blaney
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    In this article, the authors explore the sensuous and material dimensions of artworks inspired by biological science. They use Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s concept of “flesh” to reflect upon the embodied processes of understanding that unfold during a viewer’s initial encounter with an artwork. Using Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of perception and the work of selected artists based in India who engage with biology and botany the authors locate the sensing body in a reciprocal relationship with these artists’ works.

  • Art as a Future-Generating Machine: Rheinberger’s Experimentalism in Practice-Based Arts Methodologies
    Ash Tower
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    This article explores the potential syntheses between practice-based arts research methodologies and historian of science Hans-Jörg Rheinberger’s framing of the scientific “experiment.” Rheinberger offers the experiment as a “future-generating machine” resulting from material discursive processes enacted as “repetition with difference.” This framing of epistemological development has applications in practice-based methodologies through their simultaneous execution of action and reflection, as well as the importance of “surprise” in experimental practice.

Technical Article

  • Generating Facial Character: A Systematic Method Accumulating Expressive Histories
    Ana Jofre
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    The author presents a method to simulate facial character development by accumulating an expressive history onto a face. The model analytically combines facial features from Paul Ekman’s seven universal facial expressions using a simple Markov chain algorithm. The output is a series of 3D digital faces created in Blender with Python. The results show that systematically imprinting features from emotional expressions onto a neutral face transforms it into one with distinct character. This method could be applied to creative works that depend on character creation, ranging from figurative sculpture to game design, and allows the creator to incorporate chance into the creative process. The author demonstrates the method’s application to sculpture with ceramic casts of generated faces.

Special Section: Music and Sound Art

  • Observations on Performing Sine Waves with an Oscillator Ensemble
    Nicolas Bernier
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    Founded in 2016 at Université de Montréal, Ensemble d’oscillateurs (French for “Oscillator Ensemble”) brings together 10 musicians around old analog test equipment oscillators that produce audio sine waves. The ensemble performs new compositions while also arranging early electronic pieces. In parallel, the project has developed itself as a space to gather information and reflect on sine wave–based music. In this article, the author presents some of the key considerations and challenges in the formation of Ensemble d’oscillateurs. Based on observations made throughout the development of a body of work using these audio oscillators, he then aims to open a discussion on some aspects of the historical trajectory of the use of sine waves in modern music.

  • The Multi-Tuned Piano: Keyboard Music without a Tuning System
    Roger T. Dean
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    Unlike a physical grand piano, a physical synthesis instrument, such as one of Pianoteq’s series of grand pianos, is not necessarily constrained at any moment to a single tuning system. This article discusses why a system using discrete piano pitches (not sliding pitches) chosen freely among the audible pitch continuum presents interesting musical and expressive possibilities. Audio and video of compositions and an improvisation exploiting the system demonstrate its potential and a performing interface for it.

  • Embodied Composition: Composing the Body with Sound
    Julie Herndon
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    Embodied composition is the practice of organizing sound in relation to the body and its internal/external experiences. It includes the intuitive and corporeal capacity to create, remember and respond to the environment. This creative practice manifests in the use of voice, gesture and the creative state. While many composers work with embodied composition, a clear definition is lacking. Toward this end, the author offers a perspective from her own creative practice as research. Her definition is illustrated with examples from Meredith Monk, Pamela Z and Cassandra Miller.

Special Section: Pioneers and Pathbreakers

  • Horizons of the Image: Interweaving Photography, Collage and the Digital Realm
    Carlos Fadon Vicente
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    The author addresses the place of visual representation in his body of work, focusing on the genesis of his interest in digital imaging and the relationship between digital imaging and photography. He also discusses the connection between photography and collage/montage, the extended imagination enabled by digital imaging, human-machine collaboration and the design of narrative structures, both of which are guided by the interplay between certainty and uncertainty. In addition, the author presents aspects of his creative and research processes, referring to some of his artworks and conceptual concerns. Using a retrospective and personal approach, the author’s analysis is unavoidably incomplete.

  • The New York Digital Salon: A Memoir
    Bruce Wands
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    This article traces the 20-year history of the New York Digital Salon (NYDS). Initiated in 1993 to provide an annual venue for digita art images in New York City, the NYDS quickly expanded into an international forum for exhibitions, lectures, screenings and a website. The salon also featured panel discussions with well-known digital artists and curators in its 2002 Digital Art & Culture Symposium. From 1995 to 2002, salon artworks and essays were featured in eight issues of Leonardo. In 2013, the salon’s 20th-anniversary celebration included an exhibition and catalog featuring Jean Pierre Hébert, Manfred Mohr, Michael Noll, Roman Verostko and Mark Wilson.

Special Section: Science and Art: Understanding the Cross-Disciplinary Dialogue

  • Ruptures and Wrong-Footings: Destabilizing Disciplinary Cultures
    Fiona Crisp, Louise Mackenzie, Chris Dorsett
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    In this transcribed conversation, three artists from the U.K. research group The Cultural Negotiation of Science (CNoS) share the generational perspectives they bring to the contested field of arts-science research. Traversing territories between art-practice, physics, genetics and critical theory, their practice-based strategies actively destabilize the binary nature of cross-disciplinary dialogue in productive ways, allowing the spaces between artistic and scientific modes of inquiry to become sites of learning, both within and beyond academic institutions.

  • Beyond Service-Subordination: Materials Experimentation in an Art-Science Collaboration
    Amy Robbins
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    The author examines the Specialty Glass Residency, an art-science collaboration administered by Corning Incorporated and the Corning Museum of Glass in upstate New York. While the aesthetic and communicative function of art has been an important dimension in characterizations of art-science, scholarship has also demonstrated the value of art as a practice of inquiry. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, the author examines an artist’s research and development contributions and argues that the residency’s focus on materials generates reciprocal benefits for artists and scientists and opens the door to different possibilities in making and experimentation.

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Leonardo, Volume 55, Issue 2

April 2022