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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:
In Mann's 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, Jose 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. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: http://leonardo.info.