Leonardo online, and the new LEA
Most of us are familiar with Leonardo, the respected 'Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology' (ISAST), published by MIT. This journal, which focuses on issues around art, media and technology, has been around for 40 years. Apart from the main journal, another publication entitled Leonardo Music Journal is also circulated, as well as an imprint of books, under the 'Leonardo Book Series' name. Bits of information and content from the journal have been available online, but mostly through subscription-based access, or J-Stor.
Recently, however, the magazine launched a comprehensive online exchange site, entitled Leonardo Electronic Almanac (LEA) (http://leoalmanac.org/). Here users can browse through articles on the LEA-E section, as well as look at online work and take part in the discussion group (LEAD).
The current issue deals with notions of new media 'Poetry and Poetics' and makes for some interesting reading. In his article 'New Media Poetry and Poetics: From Concrete to Codework: Praxis in Networked and Programmable Media', guest editor Tim Peterson unpacks some of the dynamics of poetry as it is figured in new media objects and works. The nature of text and interaction with the written and printed word are here crucial to understanding ways in which electronic media are expanding our imagination and communication within literature and art. This article is not only interesting, but can serve very well as a reference for an academic journal article or other research - this is no flimsy internet source material.
Also included in the current edition is a section entitled 'New Media Poetry and Poetics Special Essays', which features a variety of creative texts making use of new media as platform and method. A highlight of this is 'Lens: The Practice and Poetics of Writing in Immersive VR (A Case Study with Maquette)' by John Cayley (http://leoalmanac.org/journal/Vol_14/lea_v14_n05-06/jcayley.asp). This extensive text deals with some examples and a selected history of textual work in the virtual reality realm. Another highlight is 'Digital Poetry: From Cybertext to Programmed Forms, by Phillipe Bootz' http://leoalmanac.org/journal/Vol_14/lea_v14_n05-06/pbootz.asp) which investigates ways in which programming and interactivity can be used to generate text.
Editor of LEA, Nisar Keshvani, seems pleased with the response to the newly launched section of Leonardo. He expresses his excitement in his editorial '10 000 hits during the first weekend!'. And, he is right to be thrilled: this addition to the established Leonardo group of publications will serve to enrich those who are already avid readers, but perhaps more importantly, Leonardo is now putting their money where their mouth is, so to speak, by providing such comprehensive and high quality online content.