Help Enable the Emerging Leonardos, both teams and inviduals !

Colleagues !

Subject: Leonardo has  fulfilled it’s original mission, now let’s shut it down ?!

Don’t worry, we’re not shutting down quite yetwe are hoping to codesign the future of our organization with you.   

My father and other kinetic artists in Paris in the 1950s wanted to show their work; they were told by museums, galleries and critics: If you have to plug it in, it can’t be Art. They wanted to write about their work and their technical innovations; the same art world told them: Artists don’t write, they have nothing to say. Artists paint, art critics do the writing. My father was American; he was told to go show his work in New York, not Paris. And why didnt artists read art theory !

Sixty years ago, a group of artists, scientists and engineers coalesced in Paris, leading to the early kinetic art and computer art movements. Similar groups met in other cities. In my parents home there were such meetings around food and wine, and the participants got themselves organized. Historian and critic Frank Popper championed their work, as did Ernst Gombrich, Buckminster Fuller, C.P. Snow and many others such as Jasia Reichardt. They succeeded.

Our world has changed:  Our community is geographically mobile; Digital culture has started to establish the new forms of art responsive to our own times; artists publish on their own on the web, with their own documentation and ideas.

Has Leonardo become unnecessary? Yes and No. Our growing academic community needs traditional peer reviewed journals. But they also need multimodal and multimedia ways of documenting their work and showing it to others. And they also need to publish in languages other than English. Next year we will publish our first Leonardo issue in Chinese.

With the community and MIT Press, we are designing a new publishing and collaboration platform. ARTECA is a gated commons that gives free open access to the content to anyone who contributes to the content (artists, authors), to the quality of the content (reviewers) and to its pertinence (editorial advisors). If you fall into any of these categories, contact me for your free access ( rmalina@leonardo.info) .

We hope this ‘gated commons’ approach to open access will help overcome the ‘Tragedy of the Internet” that is disrupting our lives.

The transdisciplinary community is growing, as is evidenced by the Leonardo LASER program now in 29 global cities. Documentation for this moment in history is being archived on ARTECA with the LASER videos and the Creative Disturbance podcasts. To respond to the influx of narrative data in all media, our next step will be to publish and archive key “gray literature,” such as the websites of the pioneers in our community, but also the kinds of new services needed by digital culture.


Let me also take this opportunity to thank the colleagues who have hosted or will host one of the 20 scheduled Leonardo Birthday parties in their communities (https://www.leonardo.info/50th-anniversary).

We need your involvement and support  in co-designing the future organization, projects and publications.


And for those of you in a position to make donations you can add Leonardo/ISAST as an organization that benefits when you buy through Amazon (https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-2863843).   You can also donate through Leonardo’s website (https://www.leonardo.info/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=2). For those of you that are US residents, these donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by the law. You can also choose to make your donation for the Steve Wilson Fellowship, that has been generously endowed by Sonia Sheridan ( https://www.leonardo.info/steve-wilson-fellowship-for-sdm )

In 2019 we will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the passing of our namesake Da Vinci and see how the emerging Leonardos today, both individuals and teams, are having  the kind of social outcomes that the Renaissance had. We know this grandiose outcome cannot be designed but hopefully Leonardo, working with you, can serve as enablers for the emerging Leonardos, both teams and individuals, over the next 50 years

If you want to think aloud with us:

Respond or insert some of the comments from this feedback link.


Roger F Malina

Founder and Board Member, Leonardo, International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology