2004 Leonardo Award for Excellence Given to Steve Mann
Honorable Mention Awarded to David First
Steve Mann has been named the recipient of the 2004 Leonardo Award for Excellence for his article “Existential Technology,” published in Leonardo 36:1. This annual award recognizes excellence in articles published in Leonardo, Leonardo Music Journal (LMJ) and Leonardo Electronic Almanac (LEA). Excellence is defined as originality, rigor of thought, clarity of expression and effective presentation. Receiving Honorable Mention is David First, for his article “The Music of the Sphere: An Investigation into Asymptotic Harmonics, Brainwave Entrainment, and the Earth as a Giant Bell” (Leonardo Music Journal, Vol. 13). The winning article and all of the articles nominated for the award are available at: http://leonardo.info/isast/awards.html.
In Manns winning article, the author presents “Existential Technology” as a new category of in(ter)ventions and as a new theoretical framework for understanding privacy and identity. His thesis is twofold: (1) The unprotected individual has lost ground to invasive surveillance technologies and complex global organizations that undermine the humanistic property of the individual; and (2) A way for the individual to be free and collegially assertive in such a world is to be “bound to freedom” by an articulably external force. To that end, the author explores empowerment via self-demotion. He founded a federally incorporated company and appointed himself to a low enough position to be bound to freedom within that company. His performances and in(ter)ventions over the last 30 years have led him to an understanding of such concepts as individual self-corporatization and submissivity reciprocity for the creation of a balance of bureaucracy.
Steve Mann has written more than 200 research publications and has been the keynote speaker at numerous industry symposia and conferences. His work has been shown in museums around the world, including the Smithsonian Institute, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Triennale di Milano and the San Francisco Art Institute. Mann is known for his work with WearComp (a wearable computer) and WearCam (an eyetap camera and reality mediator), and for keeping a web log of his visual experiences (inventing the Cyborglog, also known as a “glog”). He received a Ph.D. from MIT in 1997 and is now a faculty member at the University of Toronto.
Honorable mention David First discusses in his article the conceptual framework for the organization and performance of music that has its basis in the frequency relationships of the Schumann Resonances and in the principle of binaural beats. Describing the steps he took in conceiving the project, the technical issues involved in realizing the goal of live data transmissions from a remote location and the creation of his three-dimensional overtone series, he also lays out his philosophy of improvisation and treads lightly into the curious grey areas where science mutates into leaps of faith.
The Leonardo Award for Excellence was originally established by chemist and inventor Myron Coler and Leonardo publisher Robert Maxwell. Past recipients of the award include Rudolf Arnheim, Otto Piene, Charles Ames, Frieda Stahl, Donna Cox, George Gessert, Janet Saad-Cook, Alvin Curran, Karen O’Rourke, Eduardo Kac, Hubert Duprat with Christian Besson, José Carlos Casado and Harkaitz Cano, Arthur Elsenaar and Remko Scha. The 2004 Excellence Award Committee comprised: Lynn Hershman, chair; jury members Mark Beam, Neora Berger, Luc Courchesne and Machiko Kusahara.
In addition to the winning article and the honorable mention, a number of other articles were nominated: Hisham Bizri, “City of Brass” (Leonardo 36:1); Iba Ndiaye Diadji, “From ‘Life-Water’to ‘Death-Water’or On the Foundations of African Artistic Creation from Yesterday to Tomorrow” (Leonardo 36:4); Manfred Friedrich, “Polarization Microscopy as an Art Tool” (Leonardo 36:3); Stefan Gec, “The Celestial Vault” (LEA 11:9); Michael John Gorman, “Art, Optics and History” (Leonardo 36:4); Graham Harwood, “Uncomfortable Proximity: The Tate Invites Mongrel to Hack the Tate’s Own Web Site” (Leonardo 36:5); Amy Ione, collected reviews (Leonardo and LEA); William Magee, “Materialism and the Immaterial Mind in the Ge-luk Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism” (LEA 11:2); Gunalan Nadarajan, “Phytodynamics and Plant Difference” (LEA 11:10); Nancy Paterson, “Stock Market Skirt and New Directions” (LEA 11:12); Robert Pepperell, collected reviews (Leonardo and LEA); Dennis Summers, “The Crying Post Project: A Multi-Part, Multi-Media Artwork to Memorialize Global Sites of Pain” (Leonardo 36:5); Eugene Thacker, “Genetic Difference in the Global Genome” (LEA 11:11); Yasunao Tone, “John Cage and Recording” (LMJ 13); Ruth Wallen, “Of Story and Place: Communicating Ecological Principles through Art” (Leonardo 36:3).
The 2004 Leonardo Award for Excellence is co-sponsored by the Program in Technocultural Studies at the University of California, Davis, where an award ceremony and lecture are planned. For further information about this program, visit http://technoculture.ucdavis.edu.
For more information about the Leonardo Awards Program, contact Leonardo/ISAST, 211 Sutter Street, Suite 800, San Francisco, CA 94108, U.S.A.