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Observatoire Leonardo des Arts et des Techno-Sciences

Leonardo/OLATS (Observatoire Leonardo des Arts et des Techno-Sciences) is a cultural association devoted to research and online publications on the arts and techno-sciences.

Leonardo/OLATS is a Web site offering a wealth of editorial and reference texts, analyses and documents. Leonardo/OLATS promotes its work through projects (Pioneers and Pathbreakers, Cultural Roots of Globalization, Yasmin, Space and the Arts, Les Basiques), an information zone (bibliographies, etc.) and an analysis section (texts and essays).

Leonardo/OLATS focuses on the field of the techno-science arts as well as on meetings among researchers, engineers, artists and cultural stakeholders. It is the French branch of Leonardo/Isast, which, for 40 years has been a source of information, discussion and reflection for both the arts and science communities.

Leonardo/OLATS is directed by Roger Malina and Annick Bureaud.

One of the core projects of OLATS is Pioneers and Pathbreakers, which documents the history and practices of important electronic and media arts figures. To date, some 20 artists and artist organizations have been featured through monographs and notices, including John Cage, E.A.T., Oskar Fischinger, Frank Malina, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Abraham Palatnik, Jean-Claude Risset, Pierre Schaeffer, Nicolas Schöffer, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Leon Theremin, John and James Whitney, and Katsuhiro Yamaguchi. In addition, links are available to approximately 10 Web sites, including those of Merce Cunningham, David Em, Dick Higgins, Gyula Kosice, and James Tudor.

Pioneers and Pathbreakers is part of an international movement of reflection and work on the history, documentation, archiving and conservation of new media arts. The program is being conducted in collaboration with the Daniel Langlois Foundation Centre for Research and Documentation in Montreal (Jean Gagnon, director), GRAM/Groupe de recherche en arts médiatiques at UQAM/Université du Québec à Montréal (Louise Poissant, director), and MINT/ Musicologie, Informatique et Nouvelles Technologies at Université de Paris IV-Sorbonne in Paris (Marc Battier, director).

Besides its online publications, OLATS is pursuing several other projects, which, while diverse in content, all reflect the organization’s mandate to explore the intersection of many fields of knowledge in an effort to enrich contemporary thought and artistic practice:

- Space and the Arts Project: Leonardo has long been involved and is a key player in space art. As early as 1970, the journal published an article by Frank Malina entitled On the Visual Fine Arts in the Space Age. Since then, the organization’s involvement in space art has focused on paper and online publications, coordination of the Leonardo Space and the Arts Workshop, Spacearts (a space art database), an online bibliography, collaborations with other partners, and initiatives surrounding the structuring of the domain.

- Yasmin: Yasmin is a network of artists, scientists, engineers, theoreticians and institutions promoting communication and collaboration in art, science and technology around the Mediterranean Rim (Northern Africa, the Near and Middle East, the Balkans, and Southern Europe). The first Yasmin project was the creation of the Yasmin mailing and discussion list (, which was launched in May 2005.

© 2006 FDL