Leonardo, Volume 55, Issue 5 | Leonardo/ISASTwith Arizona State University
Leonardo 55:5, 2022
On the cover: Julieta Gil, Nuestra Victoria III, digital print on paper, 50 x 75cm (© Julieta Gil, 2019--2020)
ISSN: 
1071-4391

Leonardo, Volume 55, Issue 5

October 2022

Contents

Editorial

Artists’ Articles

  • The Vera Icona Installation and Performance: A Reflection on Face Surveillance in Contemporary Society
    Michèle Gouiffès, Véronique Caye
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    Abstract
    The Vera Icona installation-performance considers the relationship between face and image in contemporary society. It is inspired by the legend of the Vera Icona, an “icon made without hands” (said to have come into existence miraculously rather than by human creation), which is part of the political and philosophical history of images, from the religious icon to contemporary video. The installation-performance proposes a critical analysis of Jerusalem’s surveillance society. Using artificial intelligence techniques such as deep learning in order to replicate the mise en abyme art technique, the installation blends faces of those being observed with the faces of observers. It invites viewers to consider themselves at the center of their own universe, far from established norms and controlling societies.

  • When Do We Stop Being Human? Prefiguring Nonanthropocentric Thinking
    Cesar Baio
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    Abstract
    The art collective Cesar & Lois (artists Lucy HG Solomon and Cesar Baio) discuss their artworks that explore networked growth as a logical system and form of thinking, incorporating living organisms such as Physarum polycephalum (slime mold) and fruiting mushrooms. Their artworks imagine a technological network built on a microbiological framework. The hybrid computational model they envision is linked to the ecosystemic logic of living systemsthe living network’s decisions are ecologically responsive. The artists seek to obtain knowledge across species and disciplines as they reconsider the nature of thought.

  • Black Hole: Using Black Hole Theory and General Relativity to Create a Data-Driven Light and Sound Sculpture
    Yiannis Kranidiotis
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    Abstract
    Black Hole is a data-driven light and sound sculpture inspired by the theory and the geometry of black holes. The terrifying boundaries of the event horizon, the point of no return, and the unbearable confinement of singularity are marked on the sculpture using an intangible medium, light. Sound translates distant gravitational waves into our humanly detectable domain, allowing us to sense the presence of the black hole. In this article, the artist investigates the inspiration he draws from the philosophical aspect of Einstein’s general relativity theory and black holes and describes the creative process of using the bending of space and time to form a sculpture.

  • A Transdisciplinary Approach in Art: Translating Physical Trauma into a Geographic Map
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    Abstract
    A transdisciplinary exploration has allowed the author to combine art, hematology, computer science, and geography to attempt the visual translation of physical pain. Research subjects are stray animals that have experienced traumatic events (such as shooting) which have a lasting impact on their lives or, at times, prove to be fatal. By applying different computational geometry methods, the author creates geographic maps, which reveal the scale of the damage to the body. Thus, the application of transdisciplinarity allows a deeper understanding of complex events.

  • Slime Mold and Network Imaginaries: An Experimental Approach to Communication
    Selena Savic, Sarah Grant
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    Abstract
    Physarum polycephalum, or slime mold, is an acellular organism extensively studied in scientific experiments and artistic engagements. Artist and critical engineer Sarah Grant collaborates with architect and researcher Selena Savic on hybrid bio-networking experiments with slime mold as an approximation of a computer network. They study communication as an organic process, rethinking networks’ inherent technicity through encounters with a living organism. They discuss network imaginaries situated in the way slime mold forages for food: at once transmitting and materializing its experiences, constrained and conditioned by the environment. The results of this work are imaginative accounts of adaptive network infrastructure and protocols.

General Articles

  • Investigating the Effect of Jo-Ha-Kyū on Music Tempos and Kinematics across Cultures: Animation Design for 3D Characters Using Japanese Bunraku Theater
    Ran Dong, Dongsheng Cai, Shingo Hayano, Shinobu Nakagawa, Soichiro Ikuno
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    Abstract
    Bunraku theater is a traditional Japanese performing art. Bunraku puppeteering can invoke deep unconscious affective reactions from the audience, overcoming what is known as the uncanny valley effect. The authors analyze Bunraku plays, showing that the music tempo and puppet movements follow the Jo-Ha-Kyū principle, which refers to recursive and fractal artistic modulations such as changes of tempo and rhythm breaks. The authors then illustrate the difference between Bunraku and European dance and finally propose the application of Jo-Ha-Kyū in character animation design.

  • Remediated Sites: The Lumen Prize Virtual Gallery as Site of Memory and Digital Assemblage
    Oliver Gingrich, Paula Callus
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    Abstract
    During the COVID-19 pandemic, new spaces for archives, creative representation, and display created novel ways of accessing, experiencing, and cataloging media art. Leonardo’s Lumen Prize 2020 exhibition offers a third space between virtual exhibition as a site of memory and an archive of knowledge and artistic production—a place of digital assemblage. Bolter and Grusin’s remediation theory sheds light on the many visual strategies employed by the artists and designers of The Lumen Prize 2020 exhibition. The authors discuss pertinent questions of immediacy and hypermediacy coexperience, and accessibility in generating this site of memory.

  • Inverting the Paradigm: From Art to Granular Science
    Benjamin Leighton, Itai Einav
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    Abstract
    The interface between art and science is an increasingly recognized source of innovation, yet explorations tend to skew toward art reaping the benefits of scientific developments. While, today, art is often freely embraced within scientific fields, it is rarely afforded the freedom to transform scientific research. The authors explore a new paradigm of “art-inspired science” by reimagining and computationally simulating an existing artwork as a dynamic body of cohesive particles. In the process, hanging forms of “granular stalactites” are identified and subsequently reproduced in an idealized simulated system. A theoretical “stickiness” model was then developed to predict their maximum height, which could have wide technological application. Artworks may therefore serve as catalysts for distinctive scientific research, allowing a mutually productive relationship between the disciplines.

  • Realism in the Age of the Simulated Image: Two Black Holes
    Peter Nelson
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    Abstract
    This paper examines the production and reception of two scientific images of black holes, the 2019 image of the M87 black hole and Gargantua from Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film Interstellar. The author argues that these two images of unobservable phenomena crystallize a definition of contemporary realism. In an information-rich society a simulated image achieves realism by compressing large amounts of data into an intelligible image using an algorithmic methodology that the viewer trusts as scientifically reliable and therefore realistic.

Special Section: Leonardo Abstracts Service: Top-Rated LABS Abstracts 2021

Special Section: Music and Sound Art

  • Demiurge: A Music of Babel
    Roberto Alonso Trillo, Marek Poliks
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    Abstract
    The authors explore the unfinished, attempting a fragmentary and blurred snapshot of an ongoing research project on the musical application of generative adversarial networks, entitled Demiurge. The project was initiated in July 2020 as a collaboration between an international team of interdisciplinary artists and researchers led by Marek Poliks (instrument design) and Roberto Alonso Trillo (violin). In keeping with its namesake, Demiurge asks questions about creation, specifically in the era of machine learning, and works to formalize a new creative process endemic to and natural within a world of machine collaborators.

  • The Zone: A Study of Sound Art as Hyperreality
    Dimitris Batsis, Xenofon Bitsikas
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    Abstract
    This article concerns The Zone, an interactive sound installation by the collaborative group Volumetric Units. It focuses on the installation’s philosophical and creative aspects through a reflective analysis. The Zone expresses the phenomenological experience of hyperreal cyberspace: a condition where the shift in consciousness causes an inability to distinguish reality from the simulation of reality. The installation is an investigation of the sociopolitical effects of hidden online processes. The work intends to provoke a feeling of condensed confusion like the hyperreality that we experience online, a sense of dissolution of information that is followed by a dissolution of meaning.

  • Castles versus Cheerleaders: The Clash of Old and New Power Values and Their Effect on the Role of the Conductor
    Majella Clarke
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    Abstract
    All forms of leadership are currently undergoing change, as digitalization, democratization, and increased transparency have led to a shift in social values and a realignment of influence disassociated from power. Power is shifting in the world; old leadership models are clashing with new leadership models. The article presents an analysis of the role of the conductor using the new power compass framework to discuss the drivers of change in the future of ensemble and orchestral direction and their programming to support diversity and inclusion.

  • A Strata-Based Approach to Discussing Artistic Data Sonification
    Milad Khosravi Mardakheh, Scott Wilson
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    Abstract
    Much discussion surrounding data sonification for musical and artistic purposes focuses on seeming contradictions that arise from the ways in which this practice differs from that of data sonification as a scientific tool. Over the past 30 years, this debate has become a rabbit hole of questions and arguments regarding the nature of music/sound-art and data sonification, and of their relationships with one another. In the following article, the authors identify three areas/classifications of artistic sonification, using a “strata” metaphor with the hope of bringing clarity to this discussion, as well as enabling reflection on the nature of science-art collaborations using this approach.

  • Mapping the Field of Sound Art: René Block’s Diagrammatic Modernism
    Lauren Rosati
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    Abstract
    The author examines a series of diagrams produced by gallerist René Block in the 1980s that aimed to provide a genealogy for the nascent field of sound art. She assesses the broad narratives presented in these schematics and the people and practices omitted. She then compares them to other modernist diagrams, including Alfred H. Barr Jr.’s 1936 chart for the Museum of Modern Art asserting the trajectory of abstraction. Finally, she measures Block’s diagrams against today’s expanded field of sound art.

  • The Leviathan’s Playing: Retrospective on Mediations with Gray Whales in the Ojo de Liebre Lagoon (Mexico)
    Fernando Martín Velazco
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    Abstract
    “The Leviathan’s Playing” cycle is a multidisciplinary research project interacting with gray whales in the Ojo de Liebre lagoon in the Baja California peninsula (Mexico). The project started with a single premise: to read poetry to the whales. After an encouraging initial response to human lyrical stimulus from these cetaceans, the cycle’s efforts were directed toward developing a mediation system with this species and attempting to understand their behavior during close interactions with humans. This paper discusses the project’s findings from 2017 to 2021.

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

  • How to Do Things with SVD: Mathematical Tool-Sharing from Physics to Performative Research
    Clint Hurshman, Joey Orr
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    Abstract
    Singular value decomposition (SVD) is a mathematical technique used throughout the sciences and engineering, which decomposes data, represented in terms of matrices, to construct an “optimal base” that can contain key information. SVD serves as a conceptual framework in Singular Value Decomposition, a performance by a research collective consisting of Janet Biggs (visual artist), Agnieszka Międlar (mathematician), and Daniel Tapia Takaki (physicist) with dancer Vinson Fraley and musician Earl Maneein and supported by the Integrated Arts Research Initiative (IARI) at the Spencer Museum of Art. Their work together aimed to be substantive to their fields and generative of each other. Drawing from discussions of tool-sharing in the philosophy of science and performative research paradigms, this article examines the collaboration and performance to consider the sharing of conceptual frameworks as an approach to collaborative, interdisciplinary research.

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