On Emptiness (or, On Finishing with a Blank Canvas)

A paper presented at the xCoAx 2017 conference, “On Emptiness (or, On Finishing with a Blank Canvas)”:

Starting from a review of monochromatic art, minimalism, and conceptualism, this paper attempts to understand the significance of these approaches to processor-based arts, looking at a dominant strategy in these works, the deployment of destructive processes. The paper then studies a series of recent works by Austrian software artist Lia, that are closer to the roots of monochromatic painting, suprematism, and constructivism, and are based in a deeply procedural and conceptual approach that we describe as a constructive process.

Temporary Library of Portuguese Media Art for xCoAx


During this year’s xCoAx conference we presented the Temporary Library of Portuguese Media Art for xCoAx, curated by Alessandro Ludovico and co-curated by Luísa Ribas and myself.

The Temporary Library project relies on the concept of metaphorically breaking the classic boundaries of libraries. It means to bring publications in places where they’re not necessarily known, finally expanding and redefining in a contemporary sense, the public role of libraries. This project is about creating a temporary small library of Portuguese Media Art printed publications, which will be available during the xCoAx International Conference in Lisbon. Publishers and individuals have been asked to donate publications, and a specific space will be dedicated to consult the library. At the end of the conference the Temporary Library will be donated to the Faculty of Fine-Arts, University of Lisbon (FBAUL), and will form a special collection, available to be temporary lent as a whole, under certain conditions.

Patterns for Serendipity in Interaction Design

At xCoAx 2017, a paper by Ricardo Melo and myself, “Patterns for Serendipity in Interaction Design”:

With today’s filtering and personalisation of digital content, there is a growing need for systems that actively promote novel interactions and that allow the user to discover new, unsought information. As such, this paper starts by addressing the need for these serendipitous systems and how one can design for serendipity considering its unpredictable nature. We then propose a series of user patterns that define the mental model that is more conducive to serendipitous experiences, derived from our revision of the literature as well as our observations. Finally, and through an analysis of the state of the art, we propose a tentative series of design patterns at both the implementation and interaction level, which constitute a framework for the design of interactive systems that afford the experience of serendipity.

Interaction under Interference

At xCoAx 2017, a paper by Luís Eustáquio and myself, “Interaction under Interference”:

With today’s filtering and personalisation of digital content, there is a growing need for systems that actively promote novel interactions and that allow the user to discover new, unsought information. As such, this paper starts by addressing the need for these serendipitous systems and how one can design for serendipity considering its unpredictable nature. We then propose a series of user patterns that define the mental model that is more conducive to serendipitous experiences, derived from our revision of the literature as well as our observations. Finally, and through an analysis of the state of the art, we propose a tentative series of design patterns at both the implementation and interaction level, which constitute a framework for the design of interactive systems that afford the experience of serendipity.

Creation of Meaning in Processor-based Artefacts

At the ISEA2017 proceedings, a paper with Pedro Cardoso:

Processor-based artefacts are often created following conventions inherited from analogue media forms, allowing the development of experiences that, in spite of the new platforms, are not fundamentally different from those that were already possible in the previous contexts. But contemporary media and arts often use processor-based artefacts focusing on conceptual and mechanical principles that do not attempt to simulate earlier forms but rather explore their computational nature. These systems bring about new modes of reading and new challenges, to both readers and artists or designers. In order to optimize the usage of processor- based media, creators need to understand how these artefacts are interpreted and how readers develop processes of creation of meaning in procedural contexts. This will allow authors to ground their practices on procedurality rather than only on surface con- tents, and to make a constructive use of contingent behaviour, learning, adaptation, selection, and other traits of these systems, not being limited to the emulation of well-established media forms. This paper outlines some of these challenges and proposes designing for the meaningful interpretation of computational artefacts.

Valuably Unsought: Systems for Digital Serendipity

At the ISEA2017 proceedings, a paper by Ricardo Melo and myself:

Contemporary interaction with media is mediated through a plethora of digital systems, conditioning said interaction to the experiences that these systems anticipate and limiting the potential of the medium for surprise and serendipity. Through a literature-review and system analysis, we assert the value of serendipity in our digital interactions, arguing the necessity of a distinction between Natural and Artificial Serendipity, while establishing key areas of action of serendipitous systems: Information Encountering, Experience, Collaboration, Creativity and X. We identify specific systems within each of these key areas, as well as their methods and mechanics for achieving Artificial Serendipity in the Digital Medium.

Pedra Contida: Amethyst

The new Pedra Contida album, “Amethyst” is now available through FMR Records! Angélica V. Salvi (harp), Miguel Carvalhais (computer), Nuno Torres (alto saxophone), Marcelo dos Reis (electric guitar), João Pais Filipe (drums and percussion). Recorded live in concert by José Martins on 21st November 2015 at Salão Brazil. Back and inside Photos by Hélio Gomes. Design and artwork by Rossana Dos Reis.