Cassini Nazir Appointed as Director of Design and Research

Cassini Nazir, an assistant professor of interaction design at UT Dallas, has been appointed as Director of Design and Research for the ArtSciLab in the Arts and Technology program.
At UT Dallas, Cassini teaches classes in interaction design, web design and design principles. He is also academic head for the burgeoning Interaction Design track in the Arts and Technology program.
With Roger Malina, executive editor of the Leonardo journal, Cassini is currently managing Creative Disturbance, an international, multilingual network and podcast platform supporting collaboration among the arts, science, and technology communities.
In recent years, Cassini has worked closely with Big Design Conference founder Brian Sullivan to create opportunities for UT Dallas students to help organize the yearly conference that brings in over 1,000 design professionals from across the nation.
Over the past 17 years, Cassini has designed print pieces, logos, websites, and interactive experiences for mobile, tablet and desktop devices. Cassini holds an MFA from UT Dallas’ Arts and Technology Program and bachelors degrees in English literature and Economics.

ArtSciLab Paper and Performance Proposal Accepted for International Computer Music Conference

Scot Gresham-Lancaster,  a UT Dallas ATEC associate professor of sound design, has composed a piece and paper, “Culture of Fire” for Analog Neural Network Synthesizer, Geiger Muller Counters and Computer, which have been accepted for the  41st International Computer Music Conference hosted at the University of North Texas in Denton. The ICMC will take place September 25th to October 1st, 2015.
Below is an abstract:
“Culture of Fire” for Analog Neural Network Synthesizer, Geiger Muller Counters and Computer
Author:
Scot Gresham-Lancaster, UT Dallas
Abstract:
The “Culture of Fire” is an ongoing live performance piece constructed of residue from a project that was started by David Tudor and others to turn INTEL’s now defunct Electronically Trainable Analog Neural Net (ETANN) into a music synthesizer. A secondary layer of “control” in the live performance of the piece is that Geiger Muller Tube triggers are used as the source of actuation and location distribution of sonic events.

ArtSciLab Director serving on Editorial Board for New Open Journal On_Culture

Roger Malina, the Director of the ArtSciLab, has agreed to serve on the Editorial Board for the new journal On_Culture: Open Journal for the Study of Culture, published from the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC) in Giessen, Germany.
On_Culture is an open access e-journal, with a focus on transparency and openness as well as reflexivity and processes of metaization in dealing with concepts in the study of culture.The “open” aspect of On_Culture refers to a particular publishing mode, but the goal of the journal will be to develop alternative visions of how culture can be understood, studied, and promoted using new research methodologies that draw on emerging sciences. The journal will host a wide range of formats and modes of presentation, including peer-reviewed scholarly articles and review essays as well as artistic and experimental contributions.
On_Culture is presenting a call for abstracts for the first issue, which will offer perspectives on Emergence/Emergency as concepts in the study of culture.


 
On Emergence/Emergency, from On_Culture:
Emergence is a key term in the study of culture. It is both a structuring principle of academic research and an object of study. It serves as a conceptual nucleus of knowledge cultures and academic approaches that call mono-causal, reductionist explanations and determinstic accounts of complex phenomena and practices into question. With its connotations of creative energies being set free through emergent processes and phenomena, emergence is a marker of novelty, unpredictability and irreducibility.
Emergency indicates a state, or degree of severity, requiring immediate attention and intervention. States of emergency are often emergent phenomena, and their roots can lie far into the historical, ecological, financial, social and cultural pasts. Many emerging topics in the study of culture (e.g., migration, climate change, demographic change, financial crisis, rightwing/left-wing politics, digitization, globalization, social injustice, precarious working conditions) address ‘emergent emergencies.’
We have paired the concepts of emergence/emergency to highlight the degree of urgency with which much research on the phenomenon of emergence and emergent phenomena is conducted. Both terms call for self-reflexivity and cautious intervention in the cultural analysis of processes of transformation. Instances of the interfacing of emergence and emergency are urgent tasks that scholars in the study of culture need to tackle with the help of new approaches.
Possible questions to be reflected upon:
– Why is a specific object of study an emergent phenomenon? How can it be
explained with the help of a particular theory, or theories, of emergence?
– How has emergence been theorized within a specific discipline and/or across
disciplines?
– How have concepts of emergence evolved over time? What cultural and
historical circumstances have affected their expression?
More details can be found on the On_Culture call for abstracts.
If you are interested in having a peer reviewed academic article featured in the pilot issue, please submit an abstract of 200 words with the article title and a short biographical note to content@on-culture.org no later than 30 September 2015 with the subject line “Abstract Submission.” You will be notified by 15 October 2015 whether your paper proposal has been accepted. The deadline for submitting the final paper is 15 January 2016.
Please note: On_Culture also features a section devoted to shorter, creative pieces pertaining to each issue topic. These can be interviews, essays, opinion pieces, reviews of exhibitions, analyses of cultural artifacts and events, photo galleries, videos, works of art, and more. These contributions are uploaded on a rolling basis.

Leonardo ranked #4 in 2015 Google Scholar Metrics Visual Arts Category

The 2015 Google Scholar Metrics released last Thursday, June 25 revealed Leonardo to be ranked #4 in the Visual Arts category–a great showing.
The Scholar Metrics are an easy way to quickly gauge the visibility and influence of articles in scholarly publications. The current metrics are based on article citations that were indexed in Google Scholar as of mid-June 2015, and covers articles released in 2010-2014.
The top 20 publications are ordered by their five-year h-index and h-median metrics, which are respectively based on a journal’s most cited papers and the number of citations it has received in other publications, and the median of the h-index citation counts. Leonardo shows to have an h5-index of 11 and a median of 13. The next highest journal, Studies in Art Education, has an index of 12 and a median of 15, while Art Education, ranked #1, has metrics of 16 and 21.
The article with the most citations in Leonardo turned out to be Zombie Media: Circuit Bending Media Archaeology into an Art Method by Garnet Hertz and Jussi Parikka, published in the Oct 2012 Journal, Vol. 45, No. 5.
Good work to Leonardo scholars!

Roger Malina appointed to board of advisors for Sristhi Institute for Art, Design and Technology in India

Roger Malina was recently appointed to the international board of advisors for the Sristhi Institute for Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore, India, whose founding director is friend and colleague Geetha Narayanan. Geetha is an educator with over four decades of experience as a teacher, an educator, a curriculum and instruction designer. At all times a catalyst, Dr. Narayanan has tried over the years to evolve paradigms of learning that integrate the mind, body and consciousness and in the last few years has worked at creating collaborative pedagogical frameworks for the teaching of mathematics, science and languages within the Indian educational system at the informal and formal levels of schooling.
In particular, Dr. Malina will be helping with the new PhD program in Art and Design at Srishti, which is a recognized research center of Manipal University. Six scholars joined the PhD program in 2014, and nine more scholars from India and abroad are expected to join the program in 2015.
The advisors for the program are an interesting cross-section of the international art, design, and technology-practicing community. They include:
Joichi Ito, who is the Director of the MIT Media Lab and the Chairman of the Board of PureTech Health. He is also on the Board of Sony Corporation, The New York Times Company, The MacArthur Foundation, The Knight Foundation, and The Mozilla Foundation and the co-founder and board member of Digital Garage. He is a member of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Center of Innovation (COI) STREAM governance committee.
Brandon Gien, who is the CEO of Good Design Australia and current President of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID), the world organization for Industrial Design. Through his work with ICSID, he co-founded the World Design Impact Prize to honor design-driven projects that make a positive impact on our social, economic, cultural and environmental quality of life.
Ezio Manzini, who has been working in the field of design for sustainability. Most recently, his interests have focused on social innovation, considered a major driver of sustainable changes. With this perspective, he started DESIS: an international network of schools of design specifically active in the field of design for social innovation and sustainability.
John Newbigin, who is Chairman of Creative England and of Cinema Arts Network. As Special Advisor to the Minister for Culture, Rt Hon Chris Smith MP, he was closely involved in developing the UK government’s first policies for the creative industries in the 1990s. He was Head of Corporate Relations for Channel 4 Television and executive assistant to Lord Puttnam as the Chairman of the film company Enigma Productions Ltd. As a policy advisor to the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition, Rt Hon Neil Kinnock, MP, he had responsibility for environmental and cultural issues, amongst others.
Soon-In Lee, who has been a graduate school lecturer in design management. He was also Dean of International Design School for Advanced Studies of Hong-ik University. Soon-In Lee was President (2011-2013) of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID), Chair of the Korea Design & Brand Management Society, and General director for Gwangju Design Biennale 2007. Since 2003, he has been the Chair of Asia Design Network and Korea 3D Printing Culture Forum. At present, Soon-In Lee is Executive Managing Director of Seoul Design Center.

Performed Data from One Antarctic Night to be featured in soundtrack for BBC's Sound of Space

Sounds from One Antarctic Night, a series of interactive artworks created from 287,800 images of the night sky, are to be featured in the soundtrack for the BBC World Service series The Sound of Space.
One Antarctic Night, led by a creative team including Ruth West, Roger Malina, Lifan Wang, Scot Gresham-Lancaster, Alejandro Borsani, Andrew Blanton, and Brian Merlo, used data from the robotic telescope CSTAR in Antarctica and created electronic instruments that participants could interact with to make digital image and sound remixes. The resulting project sought to blend art and science in new ways, and has been featured in venues including the San Francisco Exploratorium, the New York Hall of Science, and the Rubin Center.
The Sound of Space, which features a tour of the Universe using audio that has either been recorded by probes such as Cassini-Huygens, or sonified from data gathered by spacecraft and telescopes, will have a soundtrack that includes artworks inspired by space. The soundtrack will include 5 sonifications from One Antarctic Night, including Deep Choir and White Noise Universe. Other audio in the soundtrack will include works from Caroline Devine, Louis Dandrel, Radioqualia, Sigur Ros and Semiconductor.
This project can be found under the ArtSciLab Projects page for more details.

ArtSciLab Paper by ATEC PhD Candidate Accepted by Union College Symposium on Engineering and Liberal Education

An ArtSciLab paper by Kathryn Evans, Senior Lecturer in Music and ATEC PhD Candidate at UT Dallas, has been accepted for the Union College “Engineering and the Liberal Education” symposium in Schenectedy, NY.
Below is an abstract:


 
“Does studying music enhance higher order learning skills in undergraduate non-music majors?”
Authors:
Kathryn Evans, Senior Lecturer in Music, School of Arts and Humanities, Frank Dufour, Associate Professor, Rosanna Guadagno, Associate Professor and Roger Malina, Professor, Arts and Technology, The University of Texas at Dallas
Abstract:
Many studies have looked at the correlation between music study and academic skills. A review of over 11,000 studies between 1950 and 1990 conducted by Harvard Project Zero tested the claim that studying the arts leads to some form of academic improvement. Only three areas were found that demonstrated a clear causal link between education in an art form and achievement in a non-arts, academic area. Two were in music: a medium-size causal relationship between listening to music and spatial-temporal reasoning and a large causal relationship between learning to make music and spatial-temporal reasoning. (Winner 2001). The majority of these studies have been conducted with students in primary and secondary education, but little research has been done on students at the undergraduate college level who study music, either as a minor or for general interest. Most pedagogical studies in music address the needs of music majors and not non-majors.
This pilot study looked at students at the University of Texas at Dallas who enrolled in music studies (either music performance, music theory or sound design) who are not majoring in music. Many are students in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) areas. Through phenomenological research methods, we looked at the experiences of students who study music or sound design and how they perceived it affects their academic skills in other areas. Emails for students currently enrolled in music or sound design courses in AY2014-15 were obtained from registration records and they were solicited to take an on-line survey, with an option to volunteer for an in-depth interview. Over 800 students were solicited in February 2015 and a response rate of 20% has already been obtained. Additionally, over 30 students have volunteered for the interview. Initial data and a preliminary analysis will be presented.

DataRemix Paper Live on Leonardo Just Accepted Page

“DataRemix: Designing the Datamade,”is now on the Leonardo Just Accepted page, hosted by MIT Press. The paper was a part of the Special Section of Leonardo Transactions “Highlights from VISAP’13”, and was previously announced by the ArtSciLab as presented at the 2013 IEEE VIS Arts Program (VISAP) in Atlanta, Georgia. The authors of the paper were Ruth West, Roger Malina, John Lewis, Scot Gresham-Lancaster, Alejandro Borsani, Brian Merlo, and Lifan Wang.
The full paper can be downloaded here: DataRemix: Designing The Data made Through ArtScience Collaboration
The article is forthcoming in the Leonardo print publication, and can be cited with the DOI: 10.1162/LEON_a_01060.

ArtSciLab Paper Presented at IEEE VISAP Conference

Analogy and Conceptual Blending are Part of a Visualization Toolkit for Artists and Scientists: Introducing the Cognitive Space Transfer, an ArtSciLab paper by Jack Ox, was presented at the IEEE VIS 2014 Arts Program, VISAP’14: Art+Interpretation in Paris, France, held November 9th-14th 2014.
Below is an abstract:
Analogy and Conceptual Blending are Part of a Visualization Toolkit for Artists and Scientists: Introducing the Cognitive Space Transfer
Author:
Jack Ox, University of New Mexico
Abstract:
This paper demonstrates knowledge representation mapping techniques common in both the domains of art and science. Analogical mapping systems take information from a source domain and map that data to a target domain located in another perceptual mode. I also explain conceptual blending, in which information from different sources combine into a new emergent structure. The theories that describe these visualization processes are conceptual metaphor theory (CMT) and conceptual blending theory (BT), which were orginally created by George Lakoff, Mark Johnson [15], Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner [4] more than thirty years ago. My own work of visualizing music also began in the late seventies, coincidentally during the same period of time that CMT and BT were being conceptualized and written down. I will illustrate the use of analogy as a basic visualization tool through describing visualizations of extant music, including the twentieth-century, intermedia masterpiece––the Ursonate by Kurt Schwitters. The cognitive space transfer is an important part of this process; it is a type of conceptual blend. I developed this method while creating art works, but predict that it can also contribute a rich, qualitative dimension to scientific visualization that adds in a substantial way to the story told by the information.
Keywords:
Analogy, cognitive space, conceptual blend, metaphor, knowledge representation, model, visualization.
Introduction:
Even the most austerely ‘scientific’ models operate through analogy and metaphor. The Rutherford-Bohr model depicts a hydrogen atom as a miniature solar system. Darwin’s concept of ‘natural selection’ is analogous to the ‘artificial selection’ process practiced by animal breeders [2].
Beginning in the seventeenth-century and continuing through to the present, science has developed strong analogical processes in order to create new knowledge and make concrete, originally abstract concepts. Scientific models are analogies [5, 11]. The mode of re-expression, or representation, is usually other than linguistic, for example visual and/ or sonic. A model is always a partial mapping; part of creating a successful model is the knowledge of what to filter out from the mapping process. It must be limited because including all information would be an uninteresting duplication of the original [11]. By looking at data in a new mode or domain, researchers are able to see it in different ways, sometimes bringing about a conceptual change that is dramatic enough to cause a frame shift.


 
[2] T. L. Brown, Making Truth; metaphor in science, Urbana and Chicago: U. of Illinois Press, 2003.
[4] G. Fauconnier, and M. Turner, The Way We Think; Conceptual Blending and the Mind’s Hidden Complexities, NY, NY: Basic Books, 2003.
[5] D. Gentner, and M. Jeziorski, “The shift from metaphor to analogy in Western science,” Metaphor and Thought, A. Ortony, ed., pp. 447-480, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
[11] R. Harré, J. L. Aronson, and E. C. Way, “Apparatus as Models of Nature,” Metaphor and Analogy in the Sciences, F. Hallyn, ed., pp. 1-16, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2000.
[15] G. Lakoff, and M. Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago, 1980.

ArtSciLab Paper Accepted for Understanding Visual Music 2016, Brazil

An ArtSciLab paper by Andrew Blanton, Connectome Data Dramatisation: The Human Brain as Visual Music, has been accepted for Understanding Visual Music to be held June 10, 2015 in Brazil.
Below is an abstract:


 
Connectome Data Dramatisation: The human brain as visual music.
Authors: Andrew Blanton, MFA; Sruthi Ayloo, MS; Micaela Chan, MS; Scot David GreshamLancaster, MA, MFA; Roger Malina, PhD; Tim Perkis; Neil Savalia, BA; Maximilian Schich, PhD; Anvit Srivastav, MS; Gagan Wig, PhD
Abstract
We, as a collaboration of scientists and artists, have built a visual and sonic representation of highly connected areas in the human brain. This model was developed to not only be a tool of scientific research but also as a tool for art creation. In the process of developing the software, the tool was built to interface with musical instruments for real time visualization and sonification. Working conceptually with the idea that scientific data can be repurposed for art creation, the Connectome is performed as both a sonic and visual representation of fMRI data, manipulating the model in real time as a form of multimodal data dramatisation.
Introduction
Partnerships between artist and scientist allow for creative forms of collaboration that can push both scientific and artistic research. With the Connectome Data Dramatisation project, our principal interest was in the creation of a hybridized tool, one that could work as both scientific instrument as well as artistic work. Beginning with a dataset that consisted of 441 neural bundles or nodes systematically differentiated into 21 areas or systems of interest in the human brain based on fMRI data collected by one of us (Gagan Wing) as part of the work of the UTDallas Cognitive Neuroimaging Lab.[1]
Area Centers Coded by System Membership
Our team was able to extract visual and sonic representations of the connections between those areas using custom software. We then developed that representation further in the form of an interactive three dimensional node edge graph and sonification of the 421 highly connected areas of the brain (in the case of the visualization, the width of the edges).
This would form the basis of the representation. With the addition of the ability to activate nodes from external data feeds via Open Sound Control[2] different nodes could be excited at will creating a virtual, three dimensional instrument that could be used for visual and sonic performance. Using four small drums, the visual and sonic representation of connections between areas of the brain can be played in real time. Custom software receives input in the form of audio signal from each drum and excites specific areas of the brain. Each section of the brain that is played will present a unique visual and sonic representation.
Historical Perspective
Building on previous explorations in bridging art and science through the development of new technology, we were actively looking to understand how this project is situated within the history of visual music. In looking at the work done at Bell Labs in the 60’s and 70’s[3] and with the work of artist such as James Whitney[4], the question emerges, what are the components of a successful art and science collaboration? How do separate practitioners collaborate while furthering each of their own research? Phill Mortin and Dan Sandin’s image processing units[5] also played a role in both the conceptual development as well as the technical development of the work. How is information shared and disseminated after it’s creation? Other contemporary artist were looked at as well including the work of Noisefold[6] in their sound extraction techniques form visual information, Ryoji Ikeda[7] in his visual and sonic representation of data as well as Semiconductor[8] in their blending of art and science amongst others working with visual music as a contemporary practice.
Visual music has been historically tied to the development of technology. This holds true now as much as it has in the past. Current rendering technologies are evolving rapidly within the gaming community and practitioners of visual music are greatly benefiting from real time rendering advancements within the gaming communities. Robust community support and the indie gaming movement have provided new tools for interfacing with gaming environments[9]. Two areas that are underdeveloped with regard to these environments and practitioners of visual music can provide insight are in the development of procedural animation, and the assimilation of data into these environments. With this project we have begun to build a framework that can both provide a series of procedural animations with regard to node edge graphs as well as interface a gaming environment with a dataset of approximately 77,000 connections. In doing so we have tried to maintain the work as both a piece of art and a scientific instrument.
Future Work
In the process of building this project, we have worked with many technologies to find the right combination of frameworks and development to allow for extensive flexibility in artistic representation of the data set. We have worked with Max/MSP Jitter[10], Unity[11], Syphon[12], Three.js[13], node.js[14] midi.js[15], coffee collider[16] and D3.js[17] in a exploration to find what technology would serve the representation of this dataset best. Beginning with a representation using three.js hosted on a node.js server we were able to bring in live data via OSC to trigger the model. We found ultimately that building everything in the web browser provided great accessibility for global use of the tool, however, confining the project to the web browser also creates limitations with regard to power for rendering and audio synthesis. We have built a framework that now uses the Unity game development environment specifically for it’s strength with regard to real time rendering and are working on integration of Pure Data[18] via the Kilimba Unity extension[19]. This process will allow us to build a platform addressing the two primary areas of dataset integration into gaming environments and procedural manipulation as well as sonification and visualization of said dataset.
Summation of Findings
The creation of the Connectome project has led to some interesting further work in collaborations between artist and scientist. Beginning with the fundamental question can scientific instruments be used as tools for art creation and can artist tools produce scientifically valid results, our team was working to further a dialogue between artist and scientist while creating real value for each party involved. In doing so we have opened up another path of exploration in the form of using game development platforms for data visualization and sonification as well as the reappropriation of these platforms for use in real time audio visual work. By creating a core representation, we were able to build a model that could be manipulated in real time using incoming Open Sound Control data and provide a scientifically accurate representation of the underlying dataset.


[1] Area of interest in this case were areas of concentration of neurons in the brain as identified by researchers at of the Center of Vital Longevity Cognitive Neuroimaging Lab at the University of Texas at Dallas. http://vitallongevity.utdallas.edu/cnl/ accessed march 7 2015.
[2] http://opensoundcontrol.org/ accessed March 7 2015
[3]http://www.ieeeghn.org/wiki/index.php/Archives:Bell_Labs_%26_The_Origins_of_the_Multimedia_Artist accessed March 7 2015
[4] William Moritz on James Whitney’s Yantra and Lapis http://www.centerforvisualmusic.org/WMyantra.htm accessed March 7 2015
[5] Museum of Modern Art https://www.moma.org/momaorg/shared/pdfs/docs/press_archives/5958/releases/MOMA_1982_0014_14.pdf?2010 accessed March 7 2015
[6] http://noisefold.com/
[7] http://press.web.cern.ch/press-releases/2014/01/japanese-artist-ryoji-ikeda-wins-third-prix-ars-electronica-collide-cern
[8] http://semiconductorfilms.com/
[9] http://pjim.newschool.edu/issues/2011/01/pdfs/ParsonsJournalForInformationMapping_Medler-Ben+Magerko-Brian.pdf
[10] https://cycling74.com/ accessed March 7 2015
[11] http://unity3d.com/5 accessed March 7 2015
[12] http://syphon.v002.info/ accessed March 7 2015
[13] http://threejs.org/ accessed March 7 2015
[14] https://nodejs.org/ accessed March 7 2015
[15] http://mudcu.be/midi-js/ accessed March 7 2015
[16] https://github.com/mohayonao/CoffeeCollider/wiki accessed March 7 2015
[17] http://d3js.org/ accessed March 7 2015
[18] http://puredata.info/ accessed March 7 2015
[19] https://github.com/hagish/kalimba accessed March 7 2015