Leonardo, Volume 55, Issue 3 | Leonardo/ISASTwith Arizona State University
Kevin Mack, <i>Earlagra of Anandala,</i> 2021, cover of Leonardo journal 55:3. VR image of Anandala, multicolored biomorphic/geomorphic forms floating in air, described by the author as a 3D mandala of evolving shapes
On the cover: (© 2021 Kevin Mack)
ISSN: 
1071-4391

Leonardo, Volume 55, Issue 3

June 2022

Contents

Editorial

Artists’ Articles

  • Transformation of Buddhist Mandalas into a Virtual Reality Installation
    Julia A. Scott, Max Sims, Lee Harrold, Nicole Jacobus, Cecilia Avelar, Jeffrey Durham
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    Abstract
    Technology can translocate traditional art into interactive, immersive experiences. At the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, the authors transformed Tibetan Buddhist mandalas into a 3D virtual reality mandala installation. Furthering this project, they externalized an analog of the meditative experience by recording electroencephalograms that dynamically modulated the visual scene. The use of neurofeedback allowed fluctuations in the alpha power to drive the intensity of the fog obscuring the mandala. This aimed to give a sense of clearing the fog with one’s mind in a meditation-like state. The collaboration demonstrated how technology intended for scientific use may be adapted to an artistic installation that enriches the visitor experience.

  • Nanoart and the Moving Image: Shifts in Perception from Optical Microscopy to Nanoscopy
    Andrea Rassell
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    Abstract
    Artists engaging with the nanoscale have a particular problem of representation: Humans are unable to directly perceive nanoscale phenomena. Even without sensory or temporal experience of these phenomena, nanoartists are exploring technological, interactive and audiovisual mediation techniques. The author discusses this “problematic perception,” describes a key piece of nanoscientific instrumentation and finds diverse nanoart practices that exhibit a common concern for multisensoriality and embodied experience. This reflects our human desire to use our bodies to explore the world. Finally the author explores the question: How might nanoscientific and cinematic imaging systems work together with the perceiving body to further facilitate this multisensoriality?

  • Lithobox: Exploring Hybrid Crafting Practices through a Collaboration across Digital Fabrication and Fine Arts
    Jennifer Weiler, Todd Ingalls, Stacey Kuznetsov
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    Abstract
    New digital and physical fabrication tools are increasingly being integrated with traditional craft techniques to enable hybrid crafting practices. Inspired by the traditional lithophane technique whereby designs are molded in porcelain and visible only when backlit, the authors developed Lithobox: a software system, physical kit and workflow for creating illuminated 3D-printed lithophanes. They explored Lithobox as a creative tool in workshops with nine artists and presented the finished 3D-printed lithophanes and software tool as part of an international art exhibition. Through these collaborations and creative interactions, the authors’ work reveals how the amalgamation of material, technology and productive constraints can influence current art practices.

General Articles

  • Folded Electronic Textiles: Weaving, Knitting, Pleating and Coating Three-Dimensional Sensor Structures
    Berit Greinke, Emma Wood, Sophie Skach, Arantza Vilas, Pauline Vierne
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    Abstract
    This article reports findings from a one-month design research project in which four textile and fashion designers engaged in collaborative exploration of technical and artistic knowledge inherent in folds and folding. They experimented with textile technologies and construction methods to design, fabricate and analyze three-dimensional dynamic materiality in electronic textiles (e-textiles). The focus was on sensor structures achieved by knitting, weaving, pleating and coating techniques. The analysis of measurements of electrical resistance between one and 36 sensing areas per sample demonstrate the added value of folds integrated into textile sensor structures. The authors discuss types of folding and their aesthetic, textural and sensorial advantages. Detailed information on design, fabrication and experimental results is provided in supplemental materials to the article.

  • Beyond Representation in Virtual Reality: The Abstract Art of Jane LaFarge Hamill and Kevin Mack
    Charlotte Kent
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    Abstract
    Although virtual reality (VR) is largely associated with a dependency on realist imagery award-winning visual effects professional Kevin Mack and oil painter Jane LaFarge Hamill use VR to produce abstract works. Abstract art and early abstract film reveal the importance of such experimentation to each medium’s latent potential and how early oddities, in due course, enter the mainstream. The author examines Mack and Hamill’s respective works to propose that experimenting with abstraction in virtual reality is crucial to its unfolding as a creative medium.

  • Animation, Theory of Mind and Humanoid Robots: Creating a Social Robot Video Task
    Ziggy O'Reilly, David Silvera-Tawil, Ionat Zurr, Diana Weiting Tan
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    Abstract
    Theory of Mind (ToM)—a social cognitive ability commonly underdeveloped in individuals with autism—is necessary to attribute mental states to oneself and others. Research into robot-assisted interventions to improve ToM ability in children with autism has become increasingly popular. However, no appropriate task currently exists to measure the degree of efficacy of robot-assisted interventions targeting ToM ability. The authors demonstrate how animation techniques and principles can be leveraged to develop and produce videos of humanoid robots interacting, which could selectively measure ToM.

  • Chromatophony: A Potential Application of Living Images in the Pixel Era
    Juppo Yokokawa, Nobuhiro Masuda, Kazuhiro Jo
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    Abstract
    Squids can rapidly change their body color using chromatophores that are controlled by electrical signals transmitted through nerves. The authors transform a squid’s skin into an audio visualizer called Chromatophony. This is accomplished by sending an electric tone signal composed as music to the skin. Although Chromatophony’s appearance is similar to that of computer-generated images, it is based on a natural phenomenon with a colorful mosaic display. By comparing chromatophores with pixels, the authors propose Living Images to expand the potential of visual expression from the perspective of bioart theory.

Theoretical Perspective

  • Architecture of the Avant-Apocalypse: Preservation beyond Preservation of the Species
    Tijana Vujosevic
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    Abstract
    In an age in which human presence on Earth has become precarious, architects have begun to contemplate their discipline on two parallel timelines: that of human history on the one hand and that of geologica or evolutionary history on the other. Anxieties about the potential disappearance of the human species call into question accepted notions of cultural heritage. The author focuses on the emergence of nonhuman intelligences in architectural discourse by looking at two examples of new materials and their aesthetic qualities—the idea of “self-assembly” in concrete science and an invention involving “guided growth.” She speculates on how including nonhuman agents in a discussion of architecture changes the way we conceive of cultural and civilizational continuity.

Special Section: Music and Sound Art

  • The Soundlapse Project: Exploring Spatiotemporal Features of Wetland Soundscapes
    Felipe Otondo, Andre Rabello-Mestre
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    Abstract
    This article discusses an interdisciplinary project aimed at highlighting the acoustical heritage of wetlands by means of field recordings and a novel time-lapse montage method. The authors discuss a site-specific sound installation that was designed using original wetlands field recordings, live processing and spatial audio multichannel reproduction. The discussion focuses on spatial and temporal features of different types of recorded wetlands soundscapes. Future developments of this project will consider the implementation of a standalone spatiotemporal application, to be used in the context of virtual reality applications, game audio and interactive dance performance.

  • Cybernetic Performance Ecosystems: The Im-Medea Cycle
    Thanos Polymeneas-Liontiris, M. Eugenia Demeglio
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    Abstract
    This article discusses a series of experimental musical theater performances that took place between 2015 and 2017. This art-based research applies cybernetic and system theory principles at different levels (i.e. compositionally aesthetically dramaturgically) in the creative process to demonstrate how qualities of the posthuman condition can manifest in experimental music theater. The article presents a number of these experimental musical theater performances and introduces the term cybernetic performance ecosystem

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

  • Beyond Neurocinematics: Investigating Biased Social Perception through Collaboration between Neuroscience and Filmmaking
    Mamdooh Afdile
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    Abstract
    A growing number of neuroscientific studies use films as experimental stimuli, making filmmakers partners in investigations of the brain. The author provides his perspective as a filmmaker who has been conducting neuroscience experiments in collaboration with a team of neuroscientists at the Brain and Mind Laboratory of Aalto University, Finland, over the last five years. This collaboration led to the development of a novel method of investigating the subconscious brain using films as well as insights on how to create more empathy-evoking films. Finally, the author discusses the relationship between social bias and boundaries of collaboration between filmmaking and neuroscience.

  • Constructive Friction Creates a Third Space for Art/Science Collaborations
    Aaron M. Ellison, David Buckley Borden
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    Abstract
    Successful interdisciplinary collaboration between artists and scientists is not about discovering “common ground,” but about deliberately creating new spaces for collaboration. These spaces include physical, virtual and intellectual elements brought together through constructive friction and creation and honest use of a shared language. Communication shapes the collaboration, leads to the creation of joint work and engenders new ways of working together and new levels of understanding. The authors interrogate their collaborations to identify essential general principles for synergistic communication and productive collaborations between artists and scientists.

Special Section: Transcreation

  • Science and Art: Transcreation: Introduction to Special Section: Transcreation and Accessibility
    Meng Ji
  • The Tactile Comics of Shapereader
    Ilan Manouach
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    Abstract
    Shapereader is a system for tactile storytelling specifically designed for visually impaired readers and makers of comics. Its interface is built on a repertoire of free-floating tactile ideograms intended to provide haptic translations of the semantic features, conceptual functions and attributes of a textual expression. Shapereader works challenge the assumptions and exclusions of graphic literature and explore the conditions for synthesizing language through embodied notions of materiality and performativity. Shapereader situates touch as a conduit for vibrant artistic exploration and demonstrates that comics can address a diverse readership. Promoting an embodied, nonretinal narrative experience with an ongoing outreach plan, Shapereader has been unfolding worldwide in a variety of formats, contexts and collaborations.

  • A Visual Translation of the Pandemic
    Dario Rodighiero, Eveline Wandl-Vogt, Elian Carsenat
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    Abstract
    In 1923, Walter Benjamin published translations of Baudelaire’s poetry with a prefatory essay developing the idea that translation is not only the practice of addressing foreign readerships, but rather a process of authorship in which the original text is amplified with further significance. The authors use the term translation with a meaning that is not only linguistic but also visual. They analyze the coronavirus pandemic by translating scientific literacy through the techniques of natural language processing and data visualization. The Cartography of COVID-19 results from a visual translation that invites readers to explore the current pandemic from a different point of view that extends their perception.

  • Moving from Accessible Filmmaking toward Creative Media Accessibility
    Pablo Romero-Fresco
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    Abstract
    Accessible filmmaking, a new model that proposes the integration of translation and accessibility into the filmmaking process through collaboration between filmmakers and translators, is leading to increasingly creative examples of media accessibility. In this article, the author puts forward a definition of creative media accessibility and illustrates it with examples of current professional practice. Situated at the crossroads between creation and translation, these practices point to a new way to approach audiovisual translation and, more importantly, filmmaking itself.

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