Post 4.Leonardo vs JAR
Updated: Mar 23, 2019
This post is dedicated to two scientific journals and in particular the comparison of them through the commendation of two articles, one from each journal.
Starting browsing these two journals I didn’t have in mind what kind of article I would choose. My attention was focused more on audiovisual context, however, it appears that I chose something new to my interests but something I am very keen to explore. Installations are indeed something that can contain audio and visual but the process doesn’t stop on the processing of these two elements. Without noticing I fund my self to have chosen similar articles in both journals, which present and analyse two installation projects.
I started by browsing Leonardo Journal, the article that dragged my attention the most was an article from Haru Hyunkyung Ji and Graham Wakefield with the title “Inhabitat: An Imaginary Ecosystem in a Children's Science Museum”. Every single word of this title looks interested to me and in fact, the context of this article proved to be inspiring and enlightening. To be more detailed, this article describes this installation, present the relevant work of the authors, explain the process of the creation and the technical aspects focusing more on the use of VR and finally present the children’s feedback.
Haru Hyunkyung Ji and Graham Wakefield aimed to create a new biological system and put the human (participants) into it. That’s why they create three different realms(rooms) of this installation. Each room represents a different perspective, they achieve that by creating different levels of sizing the participant.
In synopsis, in a macro-scale level, the participant observes the world on a mapped landscape of sand. In the meso-scale, there is an equal size of the world and the participant, where the world is projected on the wall. Finally, in micro-scale, participants experience the world through VR and they are in a smaller size.
Moving to JAR journal, I chose an article by Marcus Maeder which present his project “trees: Pinus Sylvestris”. This article is also a presentation of an installation. This audiovisual project is dedicated to ecological issues and especially climate change. He chose to represent his ideas through a composition of sonified data and recordings of the acoustic emissions of a tree in Swiss Alps. The final work is an installation in four versions, which varies from stereo representation to multichannel and from audiovisual mixed media to interactive “self –explanatory artistic system”.
The article contains detailed explanations of the process of the creation of this project. It goes deep into the explanation of the plant bioacoustics, the process of the data Sinification, the description of the different versions of installation and of course the theory behind his practice, “context” as he named it.
Two similar articles but structured and presented so differently. On the one hand, Leonardo’s article looks more academic and the form of the writing refers to the academic paper form. It briefly explains the process of the project focusing more into the structural process rather than the technical process. Also, the authors dedicate a paragraph on the feedback of the installation on the audience, which I believe is very important documentation of an installation. On the other hand, the JAR article looks like a project representation with its own webpage and menu bar to navigate through parts of the compositional process. It focuses more on the technical aspects of the project and less on the perception of the installation. In fact, there is no documentation of the performance of this installation and the audience feedback.
Making a step further from the individual articles, the two journals have similar context and research subjects however they are structured differently in a way that they referred to a different audience.
Leonardo looks more like an academic/scientific journal with a subscription fee, thus access only to the academic world whereas JAR is an open source of information and anyone can have access to the articles. Lastly, a detail I observed is that Leonardo has more articles per issue and more issues per year when the JAR has a few articles per journal which leads me to the suspicion that JAR is open to the audience but not to the artists/scientists to present their work.
In conclusion, both Journals are a significant resource of information and inspiration for artists and scientists and the choice between the two is subjective. To me, the choice always depends on the subject of the article I want to study. Having a free source of information is an advantage but we need to consider the consequences of this practice in the context of the journal.
 Ji, H. and Wakefield, G. (2018). Inhabitat: An Imaginary Ecosystem in a Children’s Science Museum. Leonardo, 51(4), pp.343-348.
 Marcus Maeder (2016). trees: Pinus sylvestris. Journal for Artistic Research, (11).https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/215961/216415/0/0 [accessed 05/11/2018]