In the early 1990s I had the opportunity to work with Roger Malina, the American physicist, astronomer, Executive Editor of Leonardo Publications by Leonardo, and Chairman of the Board of the Leonardo/The International Society of Arts, Sciences and Technology. In addition to his many accomplishments as a space scientist and astronomer, Roger was energetically exploring the realm where the arts, sciences and technology converge. I joined the organization as Executive director, and together we facilitated enhanced international networking and collaborations in the emerging media arts field. We collaborated to produce annual festivals and conferences, like the International Symposium on Electronic Art; we preserved the twenty-five year old arts, science and technology field journal Leonardo by establishing a long term comprehensive publishing collaboration with MIT Press; we launched significant new Leonardo Book Series; and we founded one of the Internet’s first web-based field journal, Leonardo Electronic Almanac.
Tremendous work was taking place at the intersection of art, science and technology in the early 1990s, yet much of it was taking place in isolation, disconnected from other relevant and related activities. There was a clear need to raise the profile of work on a global scale, and to identify ways to improve interdisciplinary communication and collaboration. The leadership at Leonardo/the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (ISAST) set on a path to play an important role in addressing these issues for its community. One critical component responding to the challenge was to create a high quality online journal that could respond more quickly to the increasing speed of development in the field than was possible through the hard copy journal Leonardo, which had an 18-month to 2-year article and publication development cycle. Another goal was to raise the profile of the intense, diverse work taking place around the world, and to facilitate communication and collaboration taking advantage of the quickly evolving Internet.
We launched Leonardo Electronic Almanac (LEA) in 1993, with a long-term publishing agreement with MIT Press. LEA has evolved over the years, and is still available through MIT Press.
My article “Leonardo Electronic Almanac – Historical Perspective” tells the story about the origin and development of this project that I wrote for an issue of LEA when Lanfranco Aceti became Editor in Chief.20_LEA_Vol_17_No_1_Mish_Mash_Harris