Leonardo, Volume 55, Issue 6 | Leonardo/ISASTwith Arizona State University
Leonardo 55:6, 2022
On the cover: Valentina Povarova, Unification,1980. (Frants Family Collection)
ISSN: 
1071-4391

Leonardo, Volume 55, Issue 6

December 2022

Contents

Editorial

Introduction

Leonardo Gallery

Artists’ Articles

  • Archaean Memory Farm: Notes on the Creation Process
    Where Dogs Run
    Get at MIT Press

    Abstract
    This article outlines the history, stages, and processes of work on the Archean Memory Farm project by the Where Dogs Run group. The work is concerned with magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) as organisms that mediate between bio- and information technologies. The authors describe their experiments in creating a symbiotic bio-cybernetic structure, conceived as new media for preserving and transforming information. The article outlines ongoing experimentation with cultivating MTB and building a roboticized setup capable of both maintaining the environmental parameters needed for these species and using bacterial qualities for input and preservation of data, with the aim of receiving artificial “geological clots of information” created through hybrid human-bacterial efforts

  • Symbiosis, Anarchy, and Fermentation
    Sergey Katran
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    Abstract
    In this article, artist Sergey Katran reflects on practice-based interaction with live nonhuman agents. A kombucha, cultivated at home, gradually assumes anthropic qualities and, promoted by the artist, even starts participating in exhibitions and roundtable discussions. This can be viewed as the first step in establishing and developing ideas of biocentrism within an artistic community. The author also views this case as precedent for the participation of other biological species (and nonhuman agents) in exhibitions normally intended for humans. As the cultivating of kombucha normally involves double fermentation, the artist then proceeds contemplating on the process and its possible outcomes. Fermentation, which brings about rapid change in the environment with subsequent synthesis of various substances, while yeast fungi and bacteria continue producing necessary ferments, is metaphorically linked to major changes in art and society.

  • Fermenting Futures: An Artistic Exploration of Yeast Biotechnology
    Alex May, Anna Dumitriu
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    Abstract
    The Fermenting Futures project is a body of artworks by the authors that explore the importance of yeast from cultural, scientific, ethical, and aesthetic perspectives. The project was created through an embedded artists’ residency at the Institute of Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria. Yeast’s ability to ferment alcohol and make bread rise has played a key role in the development of human civilization; the works in the project ask us to consider how yeast biotechnology might now help confront global environmental problems.

  • Do It Yourself, Rain! Dabbling Drops, Splashes, and Waves: Experiments in Art and Science
    Tuula Närhinen
    Get at MIT Press

    Abstract
    The author’s visual practice draws from the natural sciences. Playful installations create “portraits” of naturally occurring phenomena. The artworks invite the viewer to witness the spontaneous emergence of patterns and traces induced by water. Facilitated by the artist, the drops and splashes are allowed to manifest in autographic renderings, generated by exposing sensitized substrates to rainfall or to waves. The article describes the empiric scientific method, followed by a discussion of the information the visual inscriptions contain. Drawing analogies between the experimental approaches of art and science, the article considers the impact of images in shaping the world we inhabit.

  • THE ARTIST AS FERMENT OF THE SOCIAL BODY
    ORLAN
    Get at MIT Press

    Abstract
    Multidisciplinary artist ORLAN offers a glimpse into her revolutionary work and creative process as fermentation.

General Articles

  • Aspects of the Digital Fermentation of Moving Images
    Victoria Ilyushkina
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    Abstract
    This article examines the diverse methods used by artists working with both analog and digital images in time-based art, using examples from the collection of the CYLAND video archive. The aim of this brief study is to examine and analyze the “fermentation” of the image of film and video art in the transition from analog technologies working with film, light and color transmission, animation, and editing, to digital special effects, computer processing, spatial video and media installations, and the use of Web 2.0 and Web 3.0. The author dissects the creative methods of artists Evgeny Yufit, Boris Kazakov, Andrius Venclova, judmila Belova, Anna Frants, Alexander Shishkin-Hokusai, Alek Borisov, and Anna Tolkacheva. The author seeks to identify a certain fermentation that causes a “reaction” that changes the very structure and texture of an image and leads to the creation of vivid artistic expression.

  • Sweet & Sour Power: The Practice and Social Metaphor of Pickling
    Frankie Jenner, Slavs and Tatars Collective
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    Abstract
    The authors explore pickles, processes of fermentation, and its metaphorical
    significance as a lens through which we can explore our social history. The
    authors interrogate how their work speaks to the concept of fermentation as a
    metaphor.

  • Biocultural Transformations: Fermentation as Artistic Medium
    Mariana Pérez Bobadilla, Rodrigo Guzman Serrano
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    Abstract
    In art, fermentation can be understood metaphorically as a representation of transformation. However, as a biocultural phenomenon within a posthuman framework, it manifests a complex lattice of multispecies relationships, microbiopolitics, and metaphorical figurations that are adopted in works of art and biology as medium and content. In this article, the authors analyze artworks and projects that utilize fermentation by artists such as WhiteFeather Hunter, Amor Muñoz, Anna Dumitriu, and others. These works explore fermentation in the creation of biomaterials, its role in foods like cheese, and its status as a metaphorical figuration in hybrid mechanisms that give center stage to fermentation as a biocultural artifact embodying a nature-culture continuum in a microbial postanthropocentric framework.

General Note

  • The Vanitas of Sound Art
    Sergey Komarov
    Get at MIT Press

    Abstract
    The author applies the concept of fermentation to sound through the prism of saturation and sonification, and studies the fermentation process as a medium and approach in sound art. He traces this medium in the works of Alexey Grachev, Rumore Bianco, Wouter Van Veldhoven, Sam Conran, and Vasily Bakanov. The article examines the history of the CYLAND Audio Archive and the formula for archiving, cataloging, and exhibiting works of sound art.

Erratum

2022 Author Index: Leonardo Volume 55

The Network

Endnote

  • Weaving Systemic Wisdom: Nurturing a Mycorrhizal Learning Network
    Alan Boldon
    Get at MIT Press

    Abstract
    This essay is an assemblage or collage of ideas with a focus on ways of engaging with the complexities of places. The author suggests that engaging complex interwoven features of places requires drawing upon multiple ways of knowing. The author suggests that this is also necessary for the world to pull back from the precipice of many interconnected crises. The essay describes a project to establish a network of places learning together how to engage with complex problems underlying crises. The methods of facilitating the collaboration across this network may have implications for pedagogy and education design.