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4 October 2019, Leonardo 52:5 release
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About the cover: David Gepp, Stirring the Porridge with Albert E, UV sensitive pigments on glass plates, 2017. See the endnote by David Gepp in this issue.
 
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Kemper_Fig5Can Musical Machines Be Expressive? Views from the Enlightenment
and Today

by Steven Kemper and Rebecca Cypess
How can music produced by automated technologies be expressive? Transitive theories of expression dominated eighteenth-century ideas of automated music, and many contemporary designers of robotic instruments adhere to these ideas, increasing sonic nuance to make their instruments seem more like expressive human performers. A listener-centered understanding of expression—an “intransitive” perspective—allows us to see automatic instruments as capable of expression despite the fact that no human performer is present. The expressive potential of these instruments is best understood as a product of their mechanical nature—their idiomatic movements and sounds, which remain distinct from those of human-operated instruments. This article explores two case studies in the history of “expressive” automated instruments: Diderot and Engramelle’s cylinder-driven instruments from eighteenth-century France and contemporary robotic musical instruments. 
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Rodriguez_fig1Putting film in an (entropic) envelope
Hector Rodriguez’s model breaks down the information flow of cinematic imagery, suggesting time’s echoes of narrative “beats.”
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harrower_figArt and the sixth extinction
Jennifer Harrower’s work from Joshua Tree mixes field science and motherhood to help bring parts of global crises home.
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LABS_Pearlman_fig1The latest from the
“perpetual beta” labs

Sheila Pinkel presents the Leonardo Abstracts Service’s top entries, featuring sculptural reconstructions, brainwave opera and more.
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Additional articles in the issue span a range of art/science topics, as does the Leonardo Reviews section, which provides critiques of recently published books and exhibitions. Leonardo is available as print and online editions as well as via download at a library
near you!
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Cover image credit: © David Gepp.
Image credits, from first to last article: © Steven Kemper; Jean-Luc Godard, 1965. © Hector Rodriguez; © Juniper Harrower; © Ellen Pearlman. Photo by Vincent Mak.
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INVITATION: LIVE DISCUSSION WITH LEONARDO AUTHORS
Wednesday, 30 October 
9:00 AM San Francisco / 12:00 PM New York / 4:00 PM (16:00) London

bookclub_bannerThe Leonardo Book Club series provides opportunities for our authors to connect with our readers. Join authors Steven Kemper and Rebecca Cypess for a discussion of their article "Can Musical Machines Be Expressive? Views from the Enlightenment and Today," the featured free download from the October issue of Leonardo journal. We will be producing this livestream on Facebook and Zoom for audience discussion and participation. Register and more info

If you missed our recent live video discussions with our authors, you can find them on our channel. Watch here

Get updates of future discussions in Leonardo Book Club.
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