[Reader-list] [Announcements] Leonardo Electronic Almanac Supplement - Volume 15, Number 7 - 8, 2007

Nisar Keshvani, LEA keshvani at leoalmanac.org
Sun Aug 19 05:41:55 IST 2007


Leonardo Electronic Almanac Volume 15, Number 7 - 8, 2007http://leoalmanac.org
ISSN #1071-4391


< Introduction by Michael Punt >

< Deep Time of the Media: Toward an Archaeology of Hearing and
Seeing by Technical Means by Siegfried Zielinski, Gloria
Custance > reviewed by Sean Cubitt

< From Technological to Virtual Art by Frank Popper > reviewed
by Amy Ione

< Digital Performance: A History of New Media in Theater,
Dance, Performance Art, and Installation by Steve Dixon >
reviewed by Dene Grigar

< Leonardo Reviews, August 2007 >


< Table of Contents: Leonardo Vol. 40, No. 4, 2007 >


< Leonardo/OLATS Awards the Leonardo-EMS Award for Excellence
to criticalartware >

< MutaMorphosis Conference Speakers Announced >

< Leonardo Abstracts Service (LABS) opens new Chinese language
database >


< Digital Humanities Chair Position available at Dartmouth
College >



Judging by the current publishing trend we are all fast
approaching middle age or even our dotage: by all, I mean those
of us who participated in the secessionist hey days of 'media
art' and thought that art, perception, and the world would be
changed by new technologies. Now we know, at least from the
three MIT publications highlighted in Leonardo Reviews here,
that nothing changes. After the brief wild party, the historians
have come in to sweep up the pieces into a sensible heap. This
is not to decry writing history, an enterprise that I hope I
also have contributed to. It is merely to point out that at
least as far as publishing in the field of science, art and
technology is concerned it is about time to quietly abandon the
word 'new' when we talk of media - even when it is willfully
confused with technology.

The three featured reviews below identify distinct historical
methods for conceptualizing the relationship between art and
those technologies that some choose to call media. Our reviewers
collectively address this topic and their dialogue sets up the
debate about how future histories are to be written. Histories
in which the assumptions, parallelisms and the tenuous
associations of coincidence of populist writing are replaced by
the rigor of researchers trained to avoid the seductions of
their own rhetoric.

Not only in these three reviews but also throughout the recent
postings at http://www.leonardo.info/reviews/books.html the
maturation of our practices, discussions and reflections
concerning the intersection of art, science and technology is
increasingly evident. We hope that the early warning radar of
this trend will be reflected in our future reviews for the
benefit of the
Leonardo community

Michael Punt
Leonardo Reviews

< Deep Time of the Media: Toward an Archaeology of Hearing and
Seeing by Technical Means by Siegfried Zielinski, Gloria
Custance > reviewed by Sean Cubitt

Siegfried Zielinski offers a new take on the long history of
media technologies, taking his readers on a tour of forgotten
archives and forgotten innovators. Familiar names appear, among
them a fascinating repositioning of Athanasius Kircher. By
refusing to accept the normative histories, Zielinski recovers a
lost trajectory that involves a long tradition of magical and
quasi-rational thought from Empedocles to the Illuminati and,
thence, to the late 19th century reinvention of time. Among
those recovered from obscurity are Giovan Battista Della Porta,
Purkyne, Lombroso and the extraordinary Aleksej Kapitanovich
Gastev. In his conclusion, Zielinski not only draws together the
legacy of Ramon Llull, but proposes a new cartography of media
'anarcheology', whose centres are no longer London, Paris,
Berlin and New York but Petersburg, Prague and places south and
east. It is a marvelous book in the most literal sense of the
word, and a wonderful read in its own right, quite apart from
the scholarship and the revelation of new trajectories for media
historiography. One reason for this is that the book opens onto
a landscape of strangely familiar if obscure beauty: the history
of the magical tradition as an intellectual pathway now left in
darkness, but once a shining path for intellectual and
technological enquiry.

Zielinski's passion for the hermetic tradition steers clear of
the worst excesses of Jungian mysticism while recalling the
line, from Robert Fludd to Vilém Flusser, that situates a
history of media in the gnostic tradition in Western Europe. He
reminds us that Newton's dark obsession with alchemy is of a
piece with his physics and optics; and that Copernicus is as
much the heir of Pico della Mirandola's solar worship as he is
the ancestor of scientific rationalism. It is an attractive
thought, that right knowing of material science sails so close
to the perennial philosophy; and that however materialist this
history is, it addresses, if only by rejection, the repressed
chronotope of the eternal wisdom.

What has always repelled materialists from the hermetic
tradition is not its whimsy but on the contrary the solemnity
with which its priesthood has historically erected ever more
complex cathedrals of theodicy and theogeny on the intuition
that something 'more' inhabits, locates and frames the givenness
of the world. It is sad therefore to note that materialism has
often - though not universally - eschewed any address to the
sacred. By this I do not mean that materialism in any way fails
for lack of a theology, nor that the sacred forms some
ontological ground on which the material world is more deeply
founded. Rather, what has been often lacking is a commitment to
understanding that affect which we recognise under the rubric of
sacredness, an elevation beyond not merely the instinctual but
also the intellectual pleasures, a yearning apart from the
desire for justice, peace and plenty for all. Since the term
sacred has, moreover, been tainted by centuries of mouthing in
institutions that have done little for justice, peace or plenty,
we need another term, one that might displace the materialist
reluctance to address affect in general and this affect in
particular. I propose a mediological enquiry into the nature of
wonder, a task admirably launched by Zielinski's book.

Quite properly Zielinski calls this tradition 'magic'. It is
hard nowadays not to evoke Arthur C Clarke's dictum that any
sufficiently advanced technology appears as magic. What neither
Clarke nor Zielinski undertake is an analysis of the curiously
braided destinies of magic and familiarity. As Don Ihde
observes, technologies that at their invention appear magical
can, with widespread adoption, become 'embedded' and
transparent, as signs written in one's native language are
transparent. Embedded technologies like television, once
marvellous, become the invisible vehicles of messages whose
mediation we notice only when the machinery breaks down. The
braiding of magic and the mundane occurs when familiarity breeds
contentment. The internet is a case in point. Early adopters not
only found the technology marvellous: we found it interesting.
The early adopter generation tended to be computer literate, at
least at the level of understanding (and wondering at) the
processes of packet switching, the efficacy of html, even the
duplicity of cookie technology. But for the internet generation
who grew up with them, these marvels are the more truly magical
because they are not understood. Comprehension of how the net
works is today a specialist discipline, or the domain of nerds,
and while nerds command a higher degree of peer respect than in
previous generations, their knowledge is regarded as arcane, and
only its instrumental use in problem solving genuinely prized.
For the rest, the web, e-mail, IRC are apparitions whose arrival
might as well be the result of angels fluttering in Intel Core
Duos as of the massive infrastructure of satellites, fibre-
optics, domain name servers and internet access points.

Not only does this leave internet governance at the mercy of
cultures of expertise; nor merely open the doors to the exercise
of power through control of code and protocol. It can also be
damned for condemning us to good-enough solutions, like web-safe
colours. At the same time, this state of affairs echoes with the
same magical apparatuses that Zielinski points us towards. The
difference is that while embedded internet appears without
explanation or the need for it, it rarely evokes the sense of
wonder that Zielinski's protagonists and their audiences so
graphically experienced. It is a task - perhaps preliminary, but
vital - of critical enquiry to restore that sense of wonder in
the face of technologies that have become banal.

There is a further refinement required to the concepts of the
hermetic tradition and of magic that such a project requires.
Hermeticism's reliance on correspondences - on similarities held
to embody a deeper linkage between phenomena at some
metaphysical level - has a tendency to proliferate connections,
drawing ragged collocations of words, numbers and things into
mystic configurations. Pilloried by Umberto Eco in his novels,
and defended as the root of radical (and contemporary) art
practice by Barbara Maria Stafford, the practice of analogy can
be as ludicrous as it is illuminating. Critical studies of
technology seeking to induce a sense of the strangeness of their
objects need to be alert to both the poetic affordances of
analogy and its capacity for mystification. The methodological
brush with magic reminds us that the world still has surprises
in store for us. Should the word 'surprise' seem too redolent of
fairground attractions, Tom Gunning has taught us that this is
no bad thing. If we are to retain our capacity for amazement, we
have to remain open to the chance encounter of the sewing
machine and the umbrella stand on the operating table. If this
encounter explains nothing, we must place it alongside more
licit engines of interpretation which, it appears, increasingly
can offer only approximations, intimations, abstractions of or
from reality. Fractal geometry, the uncertainty principle,
string theory all move away from claims to describe nature and
natural processes. Without abandoning the claim to some kind of
relation to reality, such theoretical and mathematical models no
longer offer one-to-one transcriptions of the real. The relation
is neither one of utter deracination nor of simulacra lacking an
original. On the contrary, such expressions mediate between
reality and ourselves using processes that often enough arise
equally from natural and artificial domains. Zielinski's book
traces processes of mediation that have found some material form
that would allow some mode of conformation or congruence between
terms. His achievement is to have noted that proximity is no
guarantor of truth: the fleck in my own eye is as strange as, if
not stranger than, the beam in my ancestor's.

< From Technological to Virtual Art by Frank Popper > reviewed
by Amy Ione

Technological and virtual art have become so prevalent in
recent years that I find it difficult to conceptualize a world
in which static media were the norm. Frank Popper's From
Technological to Virtual Art chronicles the trajectory that
brought about this revolution. Defining virtual art as art that
allows us, through an interface with technology, to immerse
ourselves in the image and interact with it, the book surveys
the originality and power of recent projects and offers some
historical antecedents as well. A well-respected art historian,
long at the forefront of art and technology studies, Popper is
an appropriate figure to present this material. Among those who
have taken the art/ science/technology interface from the
fringes and into the mainstream, his expertise is vividly
translated into this well-documented and comprehensive study of
the paradigmatic change. Here he argues that the move toward
technologically based projects, largely begun in the twentieth
century, has humanized technology due to an emphasis on
interactivity. It is also noteworthy that many of the artists
Popper focuses on see their commitment to art in larger terms.
As the book details, this brings them in touch with politics,
the community, and various social dimensions. Reading through
the publication is like visiting an exhibition with a
smorgasbord of themes, a global sweep, and sensitivity to the
personal relationship artists establish with their projects.

Popper sets the stage with an impressive history of technology-
inspired work from 1918 to 1983 that immediately demonstrates
the wealth of material packed into this volume. Accounting for
about a third of the book, Part I includes historical
antecedents and key figures. This section begins to make it
clear that the artistic imagination sometimes finds the "right"
technology through incremental experimentation. Surveying
technologies that include lasers, holography and eco-
technological, computer and communication art, the overview also
offers a fine foundation for the coverage of contemporary
technological/virtual art and artists, which comprises the bulk
of the publication. Part II is subdivided into sections on
materialized digital-based work, off-line multimedia and
multisensoral works, interactive digital installations, and
multimedia online works (net art). Covering 1983-2004, the
second part examines plastic and cognitive issues, sensory
experiments, interactivity, and experimental modalities more
recently pursued. Well-crafted vignettes of key innovators, in
both sections, underscore that many practitioners who bring
science and technology into their research are sensitive to
aesthetic values. What sets them apart is that formal elements
are addressed in tandem with investigations of everything from
politics to philosophical questions about the real, their own
virtual "space," connections between the real, the virtual, and
the imagined, and multisensory experience. Indeed, the
juxtapositions of themes and formal goals accounts for the
work's strength and power.

Given its sweep, From Technological to Virtual Art is a hard
book to evaluate critically. Popper shows a willingness to let
the artists speak for themselves and honors their intentions by
explaining their aspirations non-judgmentally. This style of
authorship successfully outlines artistic histories and the
movement's growth but does not contextualize the kinds of
critical themes that are apt to arise in a general academic
discussion of the art, science, and technology interface. It is
my impression that when critical questions were introduced in
depth it was because an artist brought this dimension into a
discussion with Popper. This minimalistic approach led me to
relish the few parts where deeper issues were more fully brought
into play. One of these exceptions was in the chapter on
Interactive Digital Installations; perhaps the strongest in the
book. Here there is some discussion of how the transcendental
approach of immersive, virtual projects (such as Char Davies)
intersects with the historical view. Stepping aside from his
theme driven biographical survey style, Popper mentions how
transcendence, as discussed by Plato, Kant, and other
philosophers who have thought about this topic, differs from the
common presentation of virtual art. Including more developed
commentary throughout the book on how the field has re-visited
philosophical issues and artistic questions would have added a
nice tension to the chapters.

Overall, the book works best as a tribute to the
art/science/technology paradigm and as an invitation to seek out
the pieces presented. I was delighted with the background
material on a number of artists whose work I have encountered
over the years, and on figures I know more by name than from
exposure to their contributions. For example, Leonardo readers
will particularly appreciate Popper's summary of the life,
inventive mind, and artistic contributions of Frank Malina. Also
of note were summaries on Patrick Lichty, Nina Czegledy,
Catherine Ikam and Louis Fléri, Roy Ascott, Orlan, and Rafael
Lozano-Hemmer. On the other hand, even a thorough introduction
cannot include the wealth of talent within this community. In
this case, I was sorry there was no mention of Margaret
Dolinsky's work and wished that Victoria Vesna's research,
particularly with nanotechnology, had received a fuller
treatment. I also found myself surprised by some of the examples
Popper chose. Jenny Holzer, for instance, is not someone I think
of in terms of technological or virtual art, although her neon
sign projects are well known and definitely qualify as
technological artifacts. Just as I was ruminating on the Holzer
section, I learned that she now has new silk-screen works on
display at the Venice Biennial. Her latest turn to this older
technology is a reminder that as the virtual becomes more a part
of the art world, artists still move in and out of diverse
media, at times returning to more traditional forms.

Perhaps the book's greatest contribution is its expansion of
the art/science/technology literature. Popper mentions early in
the book that his intention is to present the history of
technological and virtual art in a manner that goes beyond the
contributions of Oliver Grau and Christine Buci-Glücksmann. In
this he is successful. Grau makes a compelling case that media
art has a history that is receiving more (well-deserved)
attention, and Buci-Glücksmann demonstrates that technological
art now has a place at the table. By contrast, Popper highlights
the characters who have brought about our current vision. His
much-needed history of key players brings Vasari's sixteenth-
century Lives of the Artists to mind. This is not a trivial
comparison. On the one hand, both authors present brief
overviews of the revolutionary artists of an era. On the other
hand, both authors offer presentations that need to accommodate
the technological realities of their time. Vasari's descriptions
were primarily textually based due to the limitations in
printing visual images in the sixteenth century. Although the
second edition included woodcuts of the faces of most of the
artists mentioned, there were no reproductions of the artworks
he described. Ironically, the Popper book is similarly limited
in relation to the artworks. One or two small black and white
static images accompany the short sketches of the various
artists. While numerous, these are a far cry from the actual

Having said this, it should surprise no one that the distance
between an illustrated text and physical reality was foremost on
my mind as I read the book and prepared this review. During this
period, coincidentally, I visited Anthony McCall's installation,
You and I, Horizontal (2005) at the San Francisco Museum of
Modern Art. Although McCall is a figure Popper does not include,
he could easily have found a place in the mix. Interacting with
this piece, which emphasized the sculptural qualities of a light
beam as it comes in contact with a changing geometrical
projection and particles in the air - here, vapor from a
theatrical haze machine - I could not help but think how poorly
this active piece would translate if presented as a small black
and white reproduction, even though it is a monochromatic work.
Spending time digesting its magical qualities, as the haze
seemed to continually change its "physical" form(s) in real time
and physical space, underscored how necessary the unfolding
experience is to our comprehension of technological art, virtual
art, and art in general. To be sure, Popper's words convey that
he recognizes how hard it is to articulate all that "embodiment"
adds in the book form. Fortunately he did try to address this
limitation through the artist list at the end of the volume,
which provides URLs that supplement the print medium.

Finally, it is important to underscore that a short review
cannot even begin to touch on the many wonderful tidbits of
information Popper packs into this history. Without a doubt, his
knowledge of the field and personal acquaintance with the range
of artwork discussed elevates his exposition of motives,
technology, and the creative problem-solving involved in moving
a piece from idea to actuality. Even given the distance between
the publication and the actual experience of the work,
Technological to Virtual Art (particularly with the
supplementary material) provides a nice overview of the field.
It would be a wonderful choice for a textbook in a course
exploring the professionals who have nurtured the current
art/science/technology climate. Educators could enlarge the book
with the URLs, onsite visits, and other media examples that more
fully convey the artistic projects outlined in the text. Indeed,
and to Popper's credit, much of the material about the work has
genuineness to it that came about through his extensive reliance
on personal interviews rather than secondary sources. Crafted to
touch upon key themes within the work and the creative problem
solving that motivated the artistic imagination and
technological development needed to bring an aspiration to
fruition, the book is a welcome addition to the field. Those who
are new to the art/science/technology discipline will find the
sweeping survey offers a nice map. Those who know the terrain
will no doubt learn more about groundbreaking practitioners and
appreciate the wealth of detail that illuminates how we got to
this point in time. Libraries now building collections that
cover the emergence of recent virtual and media projects should
definitely put this book on their shelves. From Technological to
Virtual Art is a book that marks the arrival of the
art/science/technology perspective and presents the work of many
of the innovative people responsible for its ascendancy. I
highly recommend it.

< Digital Performance: A History of New Media in Theater,
Dance, Performance Art, and Installation by Steve Dixon >
reviewed by Dene Grigar

It's hard to imagine a bolder or more in-depth book on digital
performance than Steve Dixon's Digital Performance: A History of
New Media in Theater, Dance, Performance Art, and Installation.

Exhaustive without being exhausting, Digital Performance
includes 800 pages that outline histories as well as theories
surrounding digital performance, with large sections of the book
paying detailed attention to such topics as the "body," "space,"
"time," and "interactivity." Along with providing a history of
digital performance, Dixon addresses assumptions and critiques
views taken by some at face value. Little escapes Dixon's lens,
for it is a book with roots in a long-running research project
undertaken, from 1999-2001, by Dixon and Barry Smith that
"document[ed] developments in the creative use of computer
technologies in performance." Called The Digital Performance
Archive (DPA), the web-based archive included "live theater and
dance productions that incorporate[d] digital media to
cyberspace interactive dramas and webcasts. . . [and] collate[d]
examples of the use of computers technologies to document,
discuss, or analyze performance, including specialist websites,
e-zines, and academic CD-ROMs" (ix).

The book begins with a revised perspective of the postmodern
take on art, challenging Lev Manovich's stance on new media art,
which Dixon says "fetishizes the technology without regard for
artistic vision and content" (5) and views that ignore the
influence of Italian Futurism (and those movements connected to
it) on digital performance (47). Section one of the book traces
this influence as well as the development of digital performance
in three periods, looking first at the avant-garde in the early
20th C, then to multimedia theater from 1911-1959, and finally
to technology infused performance work from 1960 onwards.

Section two concerns itself with the "Theories and Contexts"
surrounding digital performance, starting with the "liveness
problem" (115), then "Postmodernism and Posthumanism," "The
Digital Revolution," and "Digital Dancing and Software
Developments." Here Dixon critiques postmodern theories that he
says "can . . . operate doctrinally to impose specific and
sometimes inappropriate ideas onto cultural and artistic works"
(135) - and takes on the theorists who propose them. Jay David
Bolter and Richard Grusin's "remediation," Dixon says, though
not a new idea (it is itself repurposed from the "disposal and
recycling industries") does shed light on "inherent dialectical
tensions at play within computer representations and
simulations" (136). George Landow, Dixon tells us, possesses
"evangelical zeal typical of the writers at the time" (137).
Dixon points to Diane Gromala's utilization of Lyotard's
language game to talk about new technologies and, then, Deleuze
and Guttari's theories to explain her views of virtual reality
and, next, to Gregory Ulmer's focus on Derrida, Lacan, and
Wittgenstein for theories of hypertextuality. A whole section is
devoted to Jean Baudrillard, whose nihilistic and cynical view
of technology, while "seductive and compelling," is "over the
top" and in the end offers a view that is for the most part one-
sided and incomplete (140-143). There is a section, also, on
Derrida, whose theory of deconstruction (particularly, that the
"world [is] constant flux") does not really fit "the liveness of
theater," which "conspires to fix time and space" (author's
emphasis, 145).

It would be easy to react to Dixon's critique of theory as
simply as one of a Monday morning quarterback able to make
better claims in hindsight than those living in the moment of
action, as he picks apart past ideas, showing them to be
hyperbolic or faulty. When he writes, for example, that "an
inescapable fact about the progression of software is that after
the initial miracle of new computer 'life,' a certain sameness
and staleness creeps in through the repetition that replaced the
initial awe and wonderment" (208), we have to ask, isn't this
problem true for all new things? Is it just a problem with
software? I say this because I remember having to explain to a
roomful of college students why Piet Mondrian's Composition in
Blue, Yellow, and Black is, paraphrasing their comments, "a big
deal, considering that the painting was just lines and squares
that anyone can do with PhotoShop." The fact does remain that
postmodernism does (or did, depending on one's perspective)
offer an alternative to ancient Greek philosophy and worldviews
that have dominated the Western world for over two thousand
years and don't necessarily work for a contemporary world that
is vastly larger and more technologically advanced than that of
5th century Athens. At some point we do get excited about
something new and must be able to map new views onto our new
world. But the question Dixon forces us to remember is, when and
which ones?

But this questioning of Dixon's perspective on postmodernism
does not mean that his insights are off base. Far from the
truth: They are right on target for those performers and
performance scholars who have long wondered about the wisdom of
placing so much importance on theories not born out of
performance practice. Dixon's views will be perceived as
sensible and be felt as breaths of fresh air.

The next sections, as stated previously, look at the body,
space, time, and interactivity. There is a lot to like in the
next 600 pages, starting with Dixon's position that "bodies are
not animated cadavers . . . . Bodies embody consciousness"
(212), to the dream quality of performance (337), to the notion
of "media time" (517), to his definition of and categories for
interactivity (563), to cite just a few of the hundreds of pages
of ideas and insights he offers.

Readers looking to consult the DPA database introduced at the
front of the book will be disappointed that it is not currently
available. Some may wonder why Dixon did not cite Mike Phillips'
wry work concerning Shakespeare's works and monkeys but simply
alluded to it (166) or question his spelling of Margarete
Jahrmann and Max Moswitzer's work, the "nibble-engine-project"
(611) when they themselves write of it as "nybble-engine." Women
who have been working with computers for decades may take
umbrage at Dixon's own assumption that the internet was
populated by cowboys, forgetting about us cowgirls (160) or
grrls, as many of us called ourselves.

Despite these issues, Dixon's book possesses both depth and
breadth that performance theorists and practitioners will find
not only useful but also necessary for research and teaching. As
such Dixon's book is not a history of digital performances but
rather a book about the whole concept of digital performance.


Leonardo Reviews, August 2007

< Bullshit by Pea Holmquist and Suzanne Khardalian > Reviewed
by Jonathan Zilberg

< Cartographic Cinema by Tom Conley > Reviewed by Jan Baetens

< Clarence John Laughlin: Prophet Without Honor by A.J. Meek >
Reviewed by Allan Graubard

< Deep Time of the Media: Toward an Archaeology of Hearing and
Seeing by Technical Means by Siegfried Zielinski and Gloria
Custance > Reviewed by Sean Cubitt

< Design Anarchy by Kalle Lasn > Reviewed by John F. Barber

< Digital Performance: A History of New Media in Theater,
Dance, Performance Art, and Installation by Steve Dixon >
Reviewed by Dene Grigar

< Dub: Soundscapes and Shattered Songs in Jamaican Reggae by
Michael E. Veal > Reviewed by Stefaan Van Ryssen

< The Face of Evil by David Tosco, Director > Reviewed by Roy
R. Behrens

< Forever by Heddy Honigann > Reviewed by Roy R. Behrens

< From Technological to Virtual Art by Frank Popper > Reviewed
by Amy Ione

< Imagining MIT: Designing a Campus for the Twenty-First
Century by William J. Mitchell > Reviewed by Dr Eugenia

< Jules Kirschenbaum: The Need to Dream of Some Transcendent
by Thomas Worthen > Reviewed by Roy R. Behrens

< Mind as Machine: A History of Cognitive Science by Margaret
Boden > Reviewed by Roy R. Behrens

< Native Moderns: American Indian Painting, 1940-1960 by Bill
Anthes > Reviewed by Jonathan Zilberg

< Notes on Marie Menken by Martina Kudlacek > Reviewed by Roy
R. Behrens

< Ohne Schnur: Kunst und Drahtlose Kommunikation Edited by
Katja Kwastek > Reviewed by Stefaan Van Ryssen

< Our Daily Bread by Nikolaus Geyrhalter > and < The Gleaners
and I by Agnes Varda > Reviewed by Roy R. Behrens

< Shigeru Ban: An Architect for Emergencies by Michel Quinejure
> Reviewed by Roy R. Behrens

To read all the reviews posted for August 2007, visit Leonardo
Reviews at: <http://www.leonardo.info/ldr.html>.


LEONARDO, VOL. 40, No. 4 (July 2007)


< Research on and from within Creative Practice > by Ernest


Special Section: The Fire Arts of Burning Man

< Introduction: A Passion to Burn > by Louis M. Brill

< Curator Overview: Playing with Fire > by Christine Kristen
(a.k.a. LadyBee)

ABSTRACT: Fire as an art form is evolving in the Black Rock
Desert of Nevada, where many Burning Man artists explore the
creation and manipulation of fire in their installations.
Sculptors, engineers, geeks and pyromaniacs experiment with open
fires, pressurized gases and pyrotechnics to produce mesmerizing
and beautiful works of art.

< Burning Man Artists' Statements > by Joe Bard and Danya
Parkinson, Tim Black, Larry Breed, Paul Cesewski and Jenne
Giles, Bill Codding, Dan Das Mann, Wally Glenn, Lucy Hosking,
Syd Klinge, Tamara Li, Dan Ng, Andrew Sano, Jack Schroll, Eric
Singer, Nate Smith, Charlie Smith and Jaime Ladet, Kal
Spelletich, Kasia Wojnarski


General Note

< The Use of Artistic Analogies in Chemical Research and
Education > by Balazs Hargittai and Magdolna Hargittai

ABSTRACT: This compilation presents examples of artistic
artifacts that have served as successful visual analogies to
aspects of chemistry. The authors have used them in various
college-level chemistry classes, outreach programs and chemistry
textbooks, as well as in journals and monographs. They include
ancient Chinese, Turkish and Thai sculptures, modern sculptures
and a medieval fresco. These examples illustrate the chemical
concept of chirality, the periodic table of the elements and
molecular systems such as buckminsterfullerene, nanotubes and



< Interactive Experience in Public Context: Tango Tangle > by
Zafer Bilda

< Constraints and Creativity in the Digital Arts > by Linda Candy

< Interaction as a Medium in Architectural Design > by Joanne
Jakovich and Kirsty Beilharz

< A Pleasure Framework > by Brigid Costello

< Fundamental Insights on Complex Systems Arising from
Generative Arts Practice > by C. Burraston


Special Section: ArtScience: The Essential Connection

< Deconstructing the Genome with Cinema > by Gabriel A. Harp

ABSTRACT: Evidence from language, history and form suggest an
analogy between the cinema and the genome. The author describes
some of the relationships between cinema and the genome and
points to opportunities for discovering unmarked categories
within the genome and new methods of representation. This is
accomplished by evaluating existing metaphors presented for the
understanding of genetics and revealing how current scientific
understanding and social concerns suggest a cinematic
alternative. The formal principles of function, difference and
development mediate discussion and serve as heuristics for
investigating creative opportunities.

< Fractal Graphic Designer Anton Stankowski > by Vladimir A.

ABSTRACT: The author introduces an outstanding master of
graphic design and photography, Anton Stankowski, as a fractal
artist. Stankowski saw his challenge as inventing a visual
graphic language capable of depicting natural and technological
processes and abstract notions in an aesthetic and
comprehensible way. Many of Stankowski's works demonstrate
fractal-like characteristics. Analysis of his theory of design
provides convincing evidence that this is not accidental.
Stankowski used these features consciously. He devised and
applied a principle of organizing forms in pictures by means of
two components, branching and regeneration, both of which are
properties of self-similarity and the underlying bases of


From the Leonardo Archive

< Introduction > by Darlene Tong and Roger F. Malina

< Caricature Generator, the Dynamic Exaggeration of Faces by
Computer and Illustrated Works > by Susan Brennan (Reprinted
from Leonardo Vol. 18, No. 3, 1985)

ABSTRACT: The author has researched and developed a theory of
computation for caricature and has implemented this theory as an
interactive computer graphics program.  The Caricature Generator
program is used to create caricatures by amplifying the
differences between the face to be caricatured and a comparison
face.  This continuous, parallel amplification of facial
features on the computer screen simulates the visualization
process in the imagination of the caricaturist.  The result is a
recognizable, animated caricature, generated by computer and
mediated by an individual who may or may not have facility for
drawing, but who, like most human beings, is expert at
visualizing and recognizing faces.


Leonardo Reviews

Reviews by Kathryn Adams, Wilfred Niels Arnold, John F. Barber,
Martha Blassnigg, Andrea Dahlberg, Sean Cubitt, Amy Ione, Mike
Leggett, Michael Punt, Eugene Thacker, Stefaan Van Ryssen,
Jonathan Zilberg



< Leonardo/OLATS Awards the Leonardo-EMS Award for Excellence
to criticalartware >

We are pleased to announce that Leonardo/OLATS and the
Electroacoustic Music Studies Network (EMS Network) have awarded
the Leonardo-EMS Award for Excellence to criticalartware (Jon
Cates, Ben Syverson and Jon Satrom) for their paper "likn: A
Flexible Platform for Information and Metadata Exchange" which
they presented at the Electroacoustic Music Studies Conference
in Beijing, October 2006.

criticalartware's likn project is an artware application that
addresses the nature of knowledge, ideas and language in the era
of globalization. More specifically, likn is a functional online
collaborative environment which wages a persistent critique of
the desire to standardize and universalize meaning, and offers
an alternative by applying postmodern and postcolonial theories
to the challenge of organizing discourse and media. The paper
can be accessed online at
.html <http://www.leonardo.info/isast/announcements/LeoEMS2006_announce.html>

The Leonardo-EMS jury convened on Thursday, October 26 after
the official closure of the third Electroacoustic Music Studies
Conference. The Leonardo-EMS jury, consisting of Marc Battier,
Kenneth Fields and Ricardo dal Farra, was thrilled at the high
quality of presentations by young researchers during the Beijing
event and the final decision was difficult to reach.

The EMS Network has been organized to fill an important gap in
electroacoustic music, namely focusing on the better
understanding of the various manifestations of electroacoustic
music. Areas related to the study of electroacoustic music range
from the musicological to more interdisciplinary approaches,
from studies concerning the impact of technology on musical
creativity to the investigation of the ubiquitous nature of
electroacoustic sounds today. The choice of the word "network"
is of fundamental importance, as one of the goals of the EMS
Network is to make relevant initiatives more widely available.
More about the Electroacoustic Music Studies Network can be
found at http://www.ems-network.org

Leonardo/OLATS has established a collaboration with the EMS
network through which annual Leonardo-EMS Awards for Excellence
will be made for the best contribution to the EMS symposium by a
young researcher as decided by a joint jury.

< MutaMorphosis Conference Speakers Announced >

The MutaMorphosis conference is part of the Leonardo 40th
Anniversary celebrations and of the e n t e r 3 festival. The
festival will feature performances, screenings and exhibitions
at various locations around Prague 8 - 11 November 2007,
including the first retrospective of Frank J. Malina (artist,
scientist and founder of Leonardo).

Scheduled Plenary Speakers at this time are:

Roy Ascott
Terror Incognito: Steps toward an Extremity of Mind

Albert-László Barabási
The Architecture of Complexity

Louis Bec

Václav Cílek
Climate as the Last Wilderness

David Dunn & James P. Crutchfield
Insects, Trees, and Climate: The Bioaocustic Ecology of
Deforestation and Entomogenic Climate Change

Roger F. Malina
Limits of Cognition: Artists in the Dark Universe

Alternate Anatomical Architectures: Extruded, Empty and Absent

Victoria Vesna & James Gimzewski
The new territory of nano

Plenary speakers abstracts are available on line at:http://www.mutamorphosis.org

Join us in Prague November 8 - 10, 2007 for this outstanding
international event!

MutaMorphosis concentrates on the growing interest - within the
worlds of the arts, sciences and technologies - in EXTREME AND
HOSTILE ENVIRONMENTS. More than 60 renowned practitioners in the
arts, sciences, engineering and humanities will speak about the
limits and extremes in our conceptions of life, space and

Feel free to BROWSE the abstracts at our web
sitehttp://www.mutamorphosis.org where you can also REGISTER and
BOOK your hotel at special conference prices. Please note
that the capacity of the conference halls is limited.

- Early registration: June 1, 2007 -  July 31, 2007
- Regular registration: August 1, 2007 - October 15, 2007

The international conference MutaMorphosis: Challenging Arts
and Sciences is organized by CIANT - International Centre for
Art and New Technologies in Prague and co-organized by
Leonardo/ISAST, Hexagram - Institute for Research/Creation in
Media Arts and Technologies and Pépinières européenes pour
jeunes artistes.

Should you require further information do not hesitate to
contact us at mutamorphosis at ciant.cz.

< Leonardo Abstracts Service (LABS) opens new Chinese language
database >

Leonardo is delighted to announce the opening of the Chinese
Leonardo Abstracts Service (LABS) database, following the
of the English language and Spanish language LABS databases.

The Chinese language LABS, organized by Ken Fields at the China
Electronic Music Center at China's Central Conservatory of
Music, is for abstracts of art/science/technology MA or PHD
theses written in Chinese and can be found at: http://china-labs.daohaus.org

The Chinese-language peer review panel for 2006/2007 includes:

Ma Gang, Central Academy of Fine Art, Beijing
Zhang Peili, China Academy of Fine Art, Hangzhou
Zhang Xiaofu, Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing
Zhu Qingsheng, Peking University, Beijing
Lothar Spree, Tongji University, Shanghai

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