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LEA Volume 17 Issue 1: MISH MASH

Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Volume 17 Issue 1: MISH MASH, August 2011.

Transmediation as Betrayal: The Case of the Leonardo Electronic Almanac Editorial by Lanfranco Aceti: When inheriting the history of a publication like the Leonardo Electronic Almanac (LEA) it is difficult to stay faithful to historical traditions and at the same time catch up with the evolution of contemporary online media and social networks.

Academic Vanitas: Michael Aurbach and Critical Theory by Dorothy Joiner: In a satiric series of sculptures, Michael Aurbach uses laughter to lampoon the excesses of the contemporary scholarship known as critical theory. Spun from psychology, linguistic hermeneutics, and philosophy, critical theory, in Aurbach’s view, tends to deemphasize art objects, substituting fatuous speculations for straightforward analysis. The Critical Theorist (2003) is a fantastical contraption on a metal table, each element of which is a visual joke. Reliquary for a Critical Theorist (2005) parodies the tradition of containers for relics. Two Plexiglas “books,” C’est Nothing and Deux Nothing (2009), continue the notion of vacuity. And Critical Theory’s Secret (2010) imitates a safe. It’s empty, however, mocking the notion of an underlying meaning.

Some Thoughts Connecting Deterministic Chaos, Neuronal Dynamics and Aesthetic Experience by Andrea Ackerman: The apparent randomness of deterministic chaos is differentiated from stochastic randomness and linked to natural processes, time’s irreversibility and the creation of meaning. Current neuroscience research strongly suggests that chaotic dynamics govern the physiological functioning of the brain/mind. The brain/mind is conceived as a multi-attractor system functioning at a far from equilibrium state poised for instantaneous state changes and transitions. Chaotic itinerancy has been suggested as a process by which chaotic transitions among attractors may be made and dynamically integrated in a multi-attractor chaotic system such as the brain. The article outlines a theory suggesting that the general characteristics of aesthetic experience are determined by the chaotic dynamics of the brain/mind and by the dynamics of chaotic itinerancy. Two examples, a novel by W.G. Sebald and the installation art of Jenny Holzer are described in terms of this new aesthetic theory.

Hacking the Codes of Self-representation: An Interview with Lynn Hershman Leeson by Tatiana Bazzichelli: This interview with Lynn Hershman Leeson reflects on the meaning and impact of her artistic activity since the Seventies, an important resource for understanding the socio-cultural transformation in the fields of art, technology and body-politics of our present. Today more then ever, we are experiencing the mixing and crossing of virtual and real worlds; dynamics of social networking and net-based participation are influencing not only a small group of experts, but everyone with access to technology. Through the art of Lynn Hershman Leeson, it becomes possible to access a critical space-in-between, a liminal state of performativity, in which to redefine powers and hierarchies, to question the meaning of identity, and to hack the codes of self-representation. As a “cultural infiltrator”, Lynn Hershman Leeson opens up a critical interstice in the everyday life to a constant redefinition of ourselves.

Electronic Literature as a Sword of Lightning by Davin Heckman: This essay analyzes the humanistic potential of digital poetry in the age of new media. By way of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Defence of Poetry,” theories of the posthuman, and the tradition of Marxist critique, this essay aims to identify an occasion for hope within the new media arts. Reading electronic literature through Shelley’s metaphor of poetry as a “sword of lightning, ever unsheathed, which consumes the scabbard that would contain it,” Heckman analyzes the ethical dimensions of literature against the backdrop of technocapitalism and instrumental theories of the human. The essay concludes with a discussion of intersubjectivity, politics, and love.

Profile: Darko Fritz – An Interview with Darko Fritz by Lanfranco Aceti: Darko Fritz’s work through its personal and social aesthetics obliges us to analyze both the technological determinism of contemporary times as well as the contradictions of contemporary aesthetics trapped in the conflict of real versus virtual.

Profile: Darko Fritz – Reflections on Archives in Progress by Darko Fritz by Sasa Vojkovic: Without really dovetailing to Jacques Derrida’s Archive Fever, in his Archives in Progress, Darko Fritz examines the technical mechanisms for archivization and for reproduction. Taking into account the multiplicity of regions in the psychic apparatus, this model also integrates the necessity, inside the psyche itself, of a certain outside, of certain borders between insides and outsides. This outside can also…

Profile: Darko Fritz – Error to Mistake > Notes on the Aesthetics of Failure by Vesna Madzoski: Two dominant scenarios of the future of humanity have marked the (post)modern century behind us. According to the first, optimistic one, we will reach unimaginable evolutionary peaks due to technological perfection; this disciplined and orderly functioning of machines will bring humans to the final state of evolution where the body never leaves the coziness of the pre-natal state of fullness and happiness. The other scenario gives a more concerned view on the technological advancement and supremacy, haunted with the images of Earth’s exhausted natural resources that will put humans a few evolutionary steps back – to their animal, ‘pre-civilized’ state.

Nexus of Art and Science: The Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics at University of Sussex by Christina Aicardi: The author explores the relationships between science and art that have developed at the Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics (CCNR) of the University of Sussex, which harbours an internationally renowned, leading research group in Artificial Life, Cognitive Science and Evolutionary Robotics. The aim is to establish whether and how interdisciplinary art-science practices at CCNR may lead to novel forms of knowledge production. Using fieldwork material as well as bibliographic and web resources, it showcases a number of initiatives and realizations. It also examines how individual researchers may understand, conceptualize, and justify, their experience and practice at the art-science junction in Artificial Life. This paper derives from the author’s PhD research project, of which a main focus has been to investigate interdisciplinary practices in the field of Artificial Life, which cross over the ‘two cultures’ divide. Artificial Life art is a predominant case of such interdisciplinarity crossover in the field of Artificial Life in general, and in the Sussex research group in particular.

Mish/Mash by Paul Catanese: There is a gulf between the implications of chaos and a haphazard undertaking; one implies cosmology, the other: untidiness. The complexity of mixing things together can be grand in scale, mesmerizing, protean – but also painful, rife with dead-ends, and uneven: wildly swinging between the startlingly rapid and agonizingly slow, a syncopated staccato so jarring, forwards and backwards are often indistinguishable without further examination or inquiry. Of mishmash, one can ascribe seemingly paradoxical traits: a mode of forming questions, a lens for meta-cognition, a gambler’s dilemma, a rehash of monkeys and typewriters, a ludic blossoming of multimodality, or perhaps the most devastating: an arbitrary wheel-spinning.

Sipping Espresso with Salmon by Carey Bagdassarian: Complex systems require, for their full description, a language commensurate in complexity. The application of mathematical language to systems such as ecosystems or ritual systems demands a psychological distancing in order to apply the math in the first place. The resulting sensorial disembodiment precipitates yet another flavor of the mind-body separation.

The Making of Empty Stages by Tim Etchells and Hugo Glendinning by Gabriella Giannachi: In this interview to acclaimed theatre photographer Hugo Glendinning, Gabriella Giannachi discusses with him the making of his latest work, Empty Stages (2003–11), a documentation about empty stages, touching on his collaboration with UK theatre company Forced Entertainment and Tim Etchells, who co-authored some of the images,as well as photographic methodologies and relfections about emptiness, absence, presence and performance.

Cognitive Labor, Crowdsourcing, and Cultural History of Human/Machine Assemblages by Ayhan Aytes: In November 2005, Amazon Web Services started a web-based labor market where workers from across the world can choose and complete human intelligence tasks (HITS) designed by corporate developers. Labor required for fulfilling HITS varies: finding and matching information and images, translating text, transcribing audio, tagging images, answering surveys or visiting a blog. The amount of pay for each HIT ranges from one cent to several US dollars.

Inverse Embodiment: An Interview with Stelarc by Lanfranco Aceti: What is left of cyborgology today when we are actually looking at an artworld that is in total flux with bio-art, nano-art, data art and an infinite recombinatory matrix of disciplines in which art is the definition of human creativity?

Order in Complexity by Frieder Nake: Order in complexity. Yes, of course, when confronted with a complex situation, we usually search for order. Otherwise we have no chance to make sense out of the situation. We make sense, and it seems we always want to make it. Sense is not there to discover. It requires our activity. It is a construction.

Teaching Video Production in Virtual Reality by Joseph Farbrook: Teaching video production using video game technology and a method of live manipulation of digital puppets and props offers new possibilities for narrative, without shifting focus away from storyline and dramatic content, due to technical hurdles. This production technique known as Machinima has been steadily gaining in popularity and prominence due to the relative ease and speed in which small production teams can learn to use video game software in this new way and quickly create professional quality animated movies.

Atomism: Residual Images within Silver by Paul Thomas: In this short article I want to present the thinking, processes and references that I am currently researching in my practice. This research connects to my early work that stems from an interest in residual spaces, subconscious meanings and the objectification of the world via perspectival space.

Collaborating with the Enemy by Shane Mecklenburger: Cost of Opportunity is a project that creates a series of diamonds as artworks. The Gunpowder Diamond will be produced entirely from carbon found in .223 Caliber assault rile ammunition.The gunpowder is safely neutralized in a laboratory and the carbon it contains is isolated. Future proposed art-diamonds include the Road-kill Diamond from Nine-Banded Armadillos killed on Texas thoroughfares and the Superman Diamond from a 1983 cellulose acetate film print of Superman III (wherein Superman crushes a lump of coal into a diamond). A monetary value for each diamond is to be determined at a live auction, generating funds for future diamonds in an ongoing series of stones made from various culturally charged materials. The project explores personal and cultural valuation, materiality, and the way market pressures have altered the definition and function of art. Multiple attempts to secure research funding reveal the limits of interdisciplinarity and institutional aesthetics, inspiring the artist, Shane Mecklenburger, to steal the diamond once exhibited, a plan he has yet to reveal to his collaborator.

Notes on Demonstration Exhibition: The Ammonite Order, or, Objectiles for an (Un)Natural History by Vince Dziekan: The demonstration exhibition, The Ammonite Order, Or, Objectiles for an (Un) Natural History (2008–09) explores a non-deterministic relation between digital mediation and spatial practice that supplants the primacy of real objects present in gallery space. The outcome of a research residency in London, the theme for this work evolved out of imaginatively projecting a ictive ‘correspondence’ between two local personages: the architect George Dance (the Younger) and naturalist Charles Darwin. Drawing implicitly upon a creative curatorial impulse in order to pursue this narrative fabula, the exhibition space unfolds as a multidimensional installation that combines physical elements with an accompanying set of media content. The exhibition promotes a model for a different type of aesthetic experience through defamiliarising how the art object is modulated at the intersection of the exhibition.

The Contemporary Becomes Digital by Bruce Wands: In 2003, I wrote an essay that was published in the SIGGRAPH Art Gallery catalog titled “The Digital Becomes Contemporary.” A lot has happened in the digital art Field in the past eight years, and this essay will examine some of those changes as they relate to the relationship between digital and contemporary art.

Leonardo Electronic Almanac: Historical Perspective by Craig Harris: As Leonardo Electronic Almanac “rekindles” I can’t help but be both nostalgic about the past and hopeful about the future. In looking back to when Leonardo Electronic Almanac (LEA) was founded I think of the challenges that the ield faced in terms of communication, networking, and collaboration. So much was happening at the intersection of art, science and technology in the early 1990s, yet much of it was taking place in isolation, disconnected from other relevant and related activities. There was a clear need to raise the profile of work on a global scale, and to identify ways to improve interdisciplinary communication and collaboration. The leadership at Leonardo/the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (ISAST) set on a path to play an important role in addressing these issues for its community.

Ars Electronica 2010: Sidetrack or Crossroads? by Erkki Huhtamo: After the Ars Electronica 2010 festival was over, the press office triumphantly touted in its communiqué: “90,227 visitors at the greatest Ars Electronica Festival since 1979.” For someone who has visited the festival every year since 1989 (with only two exceptions), it is easy to simply reverse the statement, and claim that this was the poorest – or to put it more nicely: the most mediocre – Ars Electronica of the past twenty years.


Aug 15, 17:55
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