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.

Sound Canvas 2

Sound Canvas 2, compiled by Kurt Liedwart, is now out on Mikroton. It includes our piece “One Hundred and Twenty (for Kurt)”.

Artificial Aesthetics reviewed by Neural

Neural issue 55 / Autumn 2016 has published a review of Artificial Aesthetics.

Over the years, Miguel Carvalhais has developed a consistent practice producing music compositions, graphic design, live audiovisual performances and sound art installations. Furthermore, this practice is accompanied by academic work teaching and publishing. Artificial Aesthetics manifests all of the aforementioned work in a single, coherent articulation around the fulcrum of his research: the aesthetic qualities of programmable media. The autonomous quality of programmable media emerges as a key factor in Artificial Aesthetics and the author goes through an attentive historical analysis of the processual systems for its creation, from the recombination of elements to various degrees of artificial intelligence. Here Carvalhais is developing an analytical model for the analysis of procedural systems. This is arguably a new methodology, but one with the concrete potential to become a standard. One of the most valuable aspects of this book is how every single chapter includes relevant content emerging across specific visual, audio and textual artworks, all of which are drawn together in a coherent presentation. The “artificiality” of processes is constantly referred to when the author qualifies elements with or without acknowledgeable human qualities. As Carvalhais brilliantly defines it, we are still in the historical phase of “computational incunabula”, already with a substantial history behind us. This book can potentially become a classic, but it already looks it could become an essential reference for digital art and culture in the future.