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148 Leonardo Reviews spatial environments that takes place in the medium of television with the introduction of 3D computer graphics. These expansive images, as the book explains, are first presented in animated logos and openers. While this part closes with the critical investigation into disembodiment , the third and last part of the book explores visualizations of “discursive exchange ” and alternatives to “impersonal relations” in recent media arts. While at first the book clearly works out the strategic role of virtual imaging in warfare and in particular the development of virtual reality tools as war tactics to create “belief,” this is contrasted with artists that self-reflexively conduct virtualities to unfold the mechanisms of such a “realistic” look. Throughout the book Morse increasingly is concerned with media arts that differently express the notion of the virtual world and engages in bodily experiences. In particular she discusses installation works that are based in video and describes possibilities of “personal” interactions with the video image on monitor. Furthermore she considers the expansion of feedback and superimposition into the multiplicity of virtual space that is stored in the computer and allows for navigation and virtual voyaging. What is important here is that a concept of cyberculture gains shape that unfolds a model of human-machine interaction that does not remove or delete one or the other aspect. Rather the preferred model enhances the internal, affirms personal, subjective “interaction” between inside and outside, so that the experience of cyberculture is seen as grounded in the physical experience of one’s own body. “And, finally, although a virtual environment is an invention and a simulation that is prepared in advance , we (and even its designers) cannot fully anticipate what it means to experience that realm until we are ‘inside’” (p. 211). This notion of the body is grounded in the need of difference and against sameness. The experience will never be the same. Beyond the emphasis on the “real” body in “virtual” reality, the book gives a wide range of definitions within an intense theoretical framework that thoroughly connects the recent debates on media culture with the conceptual history and discursive use of terms and models that have developed in linguistics , structuralism, film and television theories to understand media communication . The reader also greatly appreciates that the book closes with a detailed and very useful reference index and gives a comprehensive bibliography. DESIGN BY NUMBERS by John Maeda. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 1999. ISBN: 0-262-13354-7. Reviewed by Roy R. Behrens, Department of Art, Univ. of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA 50613-0362, U.S.A. E-mail: . Design by Numbers is both a book and an interactive tutorial in computer programming for artists and designers. While it is now common for printed books to include CD-ROMs, this one has instead its own website at , where free software , called DBN (Design by Numbers), can be accessed, downloaded and used by anyone with a JAVA-enabled browser. Using the book and website in combination , it is the intention of the author (who heads the Aesthetics and Computation group at MIT) that designers, even those who are “mathematically challenged,” might quickly acquire “the skills necessary to write computer programs that are themselves visual expressions ,” and, as a consequence, “come to appreciate the computer’s unique role in the future of the arts and design.” Unfortunately, the layout of the book is so unexceptional (particularly the dust jacket, which might have been used in a powerful way) that it is unlikely to convert any graphic designers, who create far more complex forms intuitively, with little or no knowledge of programming. As a result, it may only reach those who need it least, meaning those who are already straddling the line between art and mathematics, between graphic design and computer programming. (Reprinted by permission from Ballast Quarterly Review 14, No. 4, Summer 1999.) MERCHANT PRINCE AND MASTER BUILDER: EDGAR J. KAUFMANN AND FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT by Richard L. Cleary. Heinz Architectural Center, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA, U.S.A. Distributed by Univ. of Washington Press, Seattle, WA, 1999. Exh. cat. ISBN: 0-880-390036-0. Reviewed by Roy R. Behrens, Department of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
pp. 148-150
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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