Álvaro Barbosa (Angola 1970), is an Academic and a Media Arts & Technology (MAT) Researcher based in Macao, SAR-China. He is a Full-Professor of Communication and Media, and presently the Vice-Rector for Strategic Development and Outreach at the University of Saint Joseph (USJ). Priorto this position, Prof. Barbosa served as Dean of the Faculty of Creative Industries at USJ from 2012 to 2018, and before that as Head of the Sound and Image Department of the School of Arts at the Catholic University of Portugal (UCP), where He co-founded in 2004 the Research Center for Science and Technology of the Arts (CITAR), in 2009 the Creative Business Incubator ARTSpin and in 2011 the Digital Creativity Center (CCD). Prof. Barbosa also designed and implemented various innovative curricula at UCP and USJ, including a PhD program in Science and Technology of the Arts, a Master Degree in Creative Industries Management, a Bachelor Degree in Fashion Design, a Bachelor Degree in Digital Cinema, and Post-Graduate programs in Photography and Digital Design. Holding a PhD degree in Computer Science and Digital Communication from Pompeu Fabra University in Spain and a Undergraduate Degree in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering from University of Aveiro in Portugal, his core academic research is grounded on the field of Audio and Music Technology, which he developed as a researcher at the Barcelona Music Technology Group(MTG) between 2001 and 2006. His work, on experimental Network Music and Interactive Sound-Design Systems, was consolidated in 2010 during a Post-Doctoral Research Position at Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). Prof. Barbosa's academic research has been published extensively in peer-reviewed conferences and journals, collaborating with a large number of renowned international researchers. In addition, he was the founding editor of the Journal for Science and Technology of the Arts - CITAR Journal, and regularly collaborates in scientific committees of prestigious international Journals and Conferences. As an Experimental Media Artist, Prof. Barbosa also produced, presented and performed various projects worldwide, featuring creative work in Electronic and Acoustic Music, Interactive Art Installations, Photography, Sound Design, Computer Animation and Audiovisual Media Production. In recent years, his Academic focus, has been in fostering Systematic Creativity as an essential process applied to Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Leadership, by mentoring start-ups, supervising and teaching, in multiple international University Programs ( i.e. Design, Architecture, Cultural Studies, Media Communication, and Business Administration).
December - Appointment as Full Professor (Professor Catedrático) at the University of Saint Joseph.
January - Habilitation Exam (Provas de Agregação) at the Portuguese
Catholic University School
March - Appointment as Associate Professor (Professor Associado) at the Portuguese
Catholic University School
December - Post-Doctoral fellowship awarded by Fundação
para a Ciência e Tecnologia, conducted at Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) from Stanford University,
under the supervision of Chris Chafe.
November - Appointment as Assistant Professor (Professor Auxiliar) at the Portuguese
Catholic University School
July - Doctorate degree with excellent cum laude and
Mention of European Doctor at Universitat Pompeu Fabra,
under the supervision of Xavier Serra and Sergi Jordà and with
a scholarship awarded by Fundação
para a Ciência e Tecnologia.
December - Diploma de Estudios
Avanzados degree (DEA) under the supervision of Xavier Serra at Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
1998, February - Digital Arts Post-Graduation degree at the Portuguese
Catholic University School
1997, August - Extension Course on "Digital Sound and
Music Design" at the Center
for Research in Electronic Art Technology from University of California - Santa
Barbara, Supervised by Curtis Roads.
September - Graduate Degree in Electronics
and Telecommunications Engineering at the University of Aveiro.
Graduation thesis developed at the Optic Communications Group of the U. A. Electronics and
Main Work Positions
- Vice-Rector for Strategic Development and Outreach at University of Saint Joseph
2012/2018 - Dean for the Faculty of Creative Industries at University of Saint Joseph and researcher at the Research Center in
Science and Technology of the Arts (CITAR)
2006/2012 - Director of the Sound and Image Department at the UCP School of Arts -
Portuguese Catholic University (UCP-Porto)
2011/2012 - Visiting Professor at University of Saint Joseph
2010 - Visiting Research Scholar at CCRMA - Stanford University
Visiting Researcher at the Music Technology Group
- UPF, Barcelona
1999 - Visiting Internship position on sound design
for video and film, at the Recording Arts department of Loyola Marymount University - Los
Angeles, under the supervision of Mladen Milicevic.
time Faculty and member of the Coordination Committee for the Sound and Image Department
Staff of the Department of Systems and Information Technology at UCP-Porto as network
- Staff of the company ETC
as web developer and network system administrator.
- Staff of the company Caleida
as web developer.
Participation in Conference Scientific Committees
ARTECH 2004, 2005, 2006 , 2008 (conference chair), 2010, 2012 , 2015 - International conference on Digital Arts
& White 2004 (Jury), 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 - Audiovisual Festival
CDCH 2012 - International Workshop on Creative Design for Interdisciplinary Projects in Cultural Heritage
CONFIA 2012 - International Conference on Illustration & Animation
CSO 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 - Congresso Internacional "Criadores Sobre outras Obras"
DAFX 2008, 2009 - International Conference on Digital Audio Effects
DESIRE 2010, 2011 - Creativity and Innovation in Design
EEA-AES (pt) - 2008 -
10º Encontro da Associação Portuguesa de Engenharia de Áudio (AES)
Future Places 2008, 2009, 2010 - Digital Media and Local Culture Festival
ICAD 2010, 2014, 2015 - International Conference on Auditory Display
ICMC 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014 -
International Computer Music Conference
INTERFACES 2013, 2015 - Interactive Art Competition organized by the Research Center for Science and Technology of the Arts (CITAR)
LaTiCE 2013 (doctoral consortium chair), 2014 - Learning and Teaching in Computing and Engineering Conference
MML 2010 - ACM Multimedia International Workshop on Machine Learning and Music
NIME 2005, 2008 - New Interfaces for Musical Expression International
de Outono 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 - Digital Arts Festival
SBCM 2009, 2011 - Simpósio Brasileiro de Computação Musical
SCE-Madrid 2007 - 17 Semana de Cine experimental de Madrid
SMC 2009 (scientific program chair), 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 - International Conference on Sound and Music Computing
xCoAx 2013, 2014, 2015 - Computation Communication Aesthetics Conference
Member of Scientific Referee Committees and Advisory Boards
University of Porto | FCT | UPTEC | University of Aveiro PhD Program in Design - Advisory Board
NMSAT Networked Music and Sound art Timeline - Development Committee
Vienna Science and Technology Fund (WWTF) - Project Reviewer for Art(s)&Sciences Call 2009
Journal of Science and Technology of the Arts - Editor (2009-2011)
The Sonification Handbook - Reviewer Board affiliated with EU COST Action IC0601 SID
Computer Music Journal (MIT Press ISSN 0148-9267) - Guest Editor
Special Issue on Sound and Music Computing. Computer Music Journal Volume 34 (3) (2010)
Computer & Graphics Journal (Elsevier ISSN 0097-8493) - Reviewers Committee
Special Issue on Digital Arts, Volume 31,Issue 6 (2007)
International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (Elsevier ISSN 1071-5819) - Reviewers Committee
Special Issue on Sonic Interaction Design, Volume 67, Issue 11 (2009)
Special Issue on Reality Based Interaction Evaluation Methods, (2010)
International Journal of Arts and Technology (InderScience Publishers ISSN 1754-8853) - Reviewers Committee
Digital Creativity (Taylor & Francis ISSN 1462-6268) - Reviewers Committee
Funded R&D Projects and Events
2015 "Lisbon Consortium: Seminar on Cultural Spaces and Creative Trends" - The Faculty of Creative Industries of the University of Saint Joseph, in collaboration with the Faculty of Human Science of the Catholic University of Portugal and the Lisbon Consortium network, is organizing a Symposium on Creative Industries, under the topic "Cultural Spaces / Creative Trends". The event took place on 17 and 18 April 2015 in the Auditorium of the Macau Art Museum and the Auditorium of the Orient Foundation, respectively. The panel of guest speakers was comprised of more than 20 experts, coming from different countries and professional backgrounds. Among the international speakers was Isabel Capeloa Gil, from Catholic University of Portugal, Christoph Wulf | Freie, from Berlin University and Martin Kaltenbrunner, from the Interface Culture Lab, University of Art and Design, Austria. Macau was represented by USJ faculty members and PhD students from the Faculty of Creative Industries, Leonardo Dioko (Professor in IFT) and the designer and entrepreneur James Chu, from the Macau Design Center. In both days the event closed with a musical performance dedicated to crossover genres, characterized by the use of new musical interfaces and abstract musical approaches.
Funding: Macau Foundation
Task: Project Coordinator
2014 "Interior Video-Mapping Workshop: Sculpting with Light" - The Communication and Media and Information Technology at the Faculty of Creative Industries are developing areas related with the projection of digital video over tangible structures providing a dynamic and immersive scenography, as a new trend in Digital and Media Design. This project conist of a training workshop that resulted in a final product, presented at the Vnue Ponte 9 in Macau, and it povided an opportunity to develop skills for local artists, with the help of experienced Media artists and Academics
Funding: Macau Foundation
Task: Project Coordinator
2010/2014 "Assistive Real-Time Technology in Singing" - This project proposal addresses pedagogy of singing, assessment of the quality of singing and the preventive vocal usage assisted by computers by gathering together institutions, professionals and researchers from three complementary areas: singing pedagogy, engineering/signal processing, and medical/laryngology. The common purpose is to articulate knowledge and know-how from the different disciplines in order to design, implement and validate innovative technologies and methodologies that are useful to singing students, teachers or professionals, namely:(1) new technology-assisted pedagogic methodologies; (2) real-time visual feedback of relevant quality parameters of the singing voice; ( 3) real-time monitoring and assessment of the singing voice with the purpose to prevent voice disorders.
Funding: Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT)
Task: Research Supervison of TASK3 (singing to musical score transcription)
2009/2012 "Digital Creativity Center" - The Digital Creativity Center (CCD), was established as one of the anchor projects from the Creative Industry Cluster in Northern Portugal, as a center of competence and creative excellence with an infrastructure equipped with cutting edge technology in the areas of Digital and Interactive Arts, Computer Music, Sound Design, Cinema and Audiovisual Arts, Computer Animation. The Center was installed at the School of Artsfrom tha Catolic University of Portugal, integrating and promoting activities such as, Artistic Production, Research, Specialized Training, Business Incubation and Events Organization. The implementation of project's first phase was accomplished in 2012, with the installation of a Motion Capture Lab, an Interactive Art Lab, a Sound Surround Mixing Studio, and Outdoor Video Projection and Production equipment.
Funding: Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) and SACIC – IF/1/2009 (ON2 -NORTE-02-0369-FEDER-00001)
Task: Scientific and Technical Coordinator and Project Manager
2009/2012 "DESIRE: Creative Design for Innovation in Science and Technology" - DESIRE is an Initial Training Network funded by the European Commission, Framework 7 under Marie Curie Programme. It aims to make theoretical contributions to the field of creative design by bringing together expertise in human computer interaction, psychology, arts and design. The network aims to advance our understanding of creative design processes applied in the scientific and technological problem solving. This will lead to the elaboration of: theories and models of creative processes in general, and those involved in creative problem solving in particular, and; methods, techniques and systems to support both creative design processes and creativity training. These 3 year positions are funded through the European Commission Framework 7 and are offered with excellent financial conditions including competitive salary, mobility and travel allowance, contribution to the participation expenses in research and training activities, as well as career exploratory allowance. An attractive training programme will be offered to the successful candidates consisting in expert research supervision by world leading researchers, access to training courses on foundation and advanced topics in creative design, access to complementary training and industrial secondments within network’s over 10 industrial partners, as well as participation to networks’ summers schools and conferences.
Funding: European Commission, Framework 7 under Marie Curie Programme
Task: Coordinator of Project 11 and Work Package 8 (complementary training)
2007/2010 "COST Action Cost-IC0601-SID" - The COST-IC0601 action (Sonic Interaction Design) pro–actively contributes to the creation and consolidation of new design theories, tools, and practices in this innovative and interdisciplinary domain of Sonic Interaction. While being advanced through a few sparse projects, this field relies on the COST – SID Action to strengthen the links between scientists, artists, and designers in the European Research Area.
Funding: European Union COST Office
Task: Delegate representing Portugal
2005/2007 "COST Action Cost-287-ConGAS" - The Cost-287 action (Gesture Controlled Audio Systems) contributed to the advancement and to the development of musical gesture data analysis and to capture aspects connected to the control of digital sound and music processing.
Funding: European Union COST Office
Task: Delegate representing Portugal
2003/2004 "Sound data Mining" - R+D project focused on the topics of sonification and data mining applied to heterogeneous databases. Project partners are the Department of Sound and Image from the Portuguese Catholic University, the company YDreams and the Instituto Geográfico Portugues from Universidade Nova de Lisboa.
Funding: Agência de Inovação (ADI)
Task: Research Supervison of tasks related with auditory display, sound synthesis and Project management
2000/2004 "Olhares de Outono" - Annual two weeks international festival on new tendencies in the Digital Arts Field, featuring, conferences, workshops and events with internationally acknowledge personalities. Project is carried out by the Department of Sound and Image from the Portuguese Catholic University.
Funding: Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) and ICAM.
Task: Co-founder and coordinator of the Festival
2000 "Projecto Multimédia Jubileu 2000" - Multimedia production project resulting on an interdisciplinary exhibition hosted at the Alfandega do Porto Building for 3 months. Project partners were the Department of Sound and Image from the Portuguese Catholic University, and the Diocese do Porto.
Funding: Programa Operacional para a Sociedade de Informação (POSI) in the Framework of the European Union Structural Found
Task: Development of a commissioned Electroacoustic Music piece and the exhibition's Interactive Applications
1998 "Projecto Integrado Parque Arqueológico do Vale do Côa" - Production Project Resulting in a Multimedia Platform (on-line and off-line) and Documentary video about the Foz Côa Archeological Site. Project partners were the Department of Sound and Image from the Portuguese Catholic University, and the Parque Arqueológico do Vale do Côa.
Funding: Programa Operacional para a Região Norte (PRONORTE) and European Union Regional Development Founds (FEDER).
Task: Sound and Multimedia Production; Project management assistant.
Funded Supervision of Doctorate Research Projects
2009/2012 "Designing Instruments Towards Networked Music Practices"
PhD Researcher: Nicolas Alexander Makelberge
Funding: European Comission, Framework 7 - Marie Curie Initial Training Network, Project DESIRE
Status: Concluded in 13 November 2012
Abstract: It is commonly noted in New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME) research that few of these make it to the mainstream and are adopted by the general public. Some research in Sound and Music Computing (SMC) suggests that the lack of humanistic research guiding technological development may be one of the causes. Many new technologies are invented, however without real aim else than for technical innovation, great products however emphasize the user-friendliness, user involvement in the design process or User-Centred Design (UCD), that seek to guarantee that innovation address real, existing needs among users. Such an approach includes not only traditionally quantifiable usability goals, but also qualitative, psychological, philosophical and musical such. The latter approach has come to be called experience design, while the former is referred to as interaction design. Although the Human Computer Interaction (HCI) community in general has recognized the significance of qualitative needs and experience design, NIME has been slower to adopt this new paradigm. This thesis therefore attempts to investigate its relevance in NIME, and specifically Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) for music applications by devising a prototype for group music action based on needs defined from pianists engaging in piano duets, one of the more common forms of group creation seen in the western musical tradition. These needs, some which are socio-emotional in nature, are addressed through our prototype although in the context of computers and global networks by allowing for composers from all over the world to submit music to a group concert on a Yamaha Disklavier in location in Porto, Portugal. Although this prototype is not a new gestural controller per se, and therefore not a traditional NIME, but rather a platform that interfaces groups of composers with a remote audience, the aim of this research is on investigating how contextual parameters like venue, audience, joint concert and technologies impact the overall user experience of such a system. The results of this research has been important not only in understanding the processes, services, events or environments in which NIME's operate, but also understanding reciprocity, creativity, experience design in Networked Music practices.
2010/2013 "Automatic Mixing Systems Using Adaptive Audio Effects"
PhD Researcher: Pedro Duarte Pestana
Co-Supervision: Joshua D. Reiss
Funding: Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) - SFRH/BD/65306/2009
Status: Concluded in 20 of May 2013
Abstract: The field of Automatic Mixing has been ripe with research over the past five years. There are now systems that emulate level and panning decisions with some sophistication, and these have been evaluated as being close in quality to offerings produced by a professional sound engineer. However, a real-world mix is an integrated effort between several axes, and we are missing a ground-truth on how expert mixers holistically perform their art and craft. The purpose of this thesis is to fill that knowledge gap in what mixing best practices are. An exhaustive number of approaches were made to complete this endeavor, starting with a review of academic, technical and non-technical literature. A significant number of interviews with expert professional mixers followed, which led to a quantitative questionnaire in best practices. Simultaneously, over 20 different subjective evaluation tests were performed with the collaboration of medium-skilled to expert listeners. Another validation approach was through the devising of algorithms that could extract significative content from full-mixes. The pursuit of these goals involved the creation of two extensive datasets, one of multi-track unmixed material, and a second one of commercially very successful songs to be analyzed for production patterns. All these concurrent efforts led to the creation of a shifting collection of assumptions that crystalized into its final form as the 88-assumption database that is the kernel of this thesis. Unlike previous efforts, it focuses on top-quality, offline, studio mixing of music. For each individual assumption we have undertaken a validation process whenever possible, and summarized efforts done so far in terms of implementation. As a part of the testing and validation process, many implementation algorithms were developed, some of them novel, and are described together with the assumptions that inspired them. The work was organized so that it may contribute as a self-contained blueprint to many of the upcoming approaches to computer-assisted mixing. Despite the considerable length of our effort, we acknowledge that there is so much more to unravel on this topic, that the present work serves only as a modest foundation stone, probably opening up more questions for further research than the ones it now closes.
2008/2014 "Sound Based Social Networks"
PhD Researcher: João Miguel Magalhães Marcelino Fernandes Cordeiro
Co-Supervision: Luis Gustavo Martins
Funding: Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) - SFRH/BD/47844/2008
Status: Concluded in 28 of July 2014
Abstract: The sound environment is an eco of the activity and character of each place, often carrying additional information to that made available to the eyes (both new and redundant). It is, therefore, an intangible and volatile acoustic fingerprint of the place, or simply an acoustic snapshot of a single event. Such rich resource, full of meaning and subtleness, Schaeffer called Soundscape. The exploratory research project presented here addresses the Soundscape in the context of Mobile Online Social Networking, aiming at determining the extent of its applicability regarding the establishment and/or strengthening of new and existing social links. Such research goal demanded an interdisciplinary approach, which we have anchored in three main stems: Soundscapes, Mobile Sound and Social Networking. These three areas pave the scientific ground for this study and are introduced during the first part of the thesis. An extensive survey of the state-of-the-arte projects related with this research is also presented, gathering examples from different but adjacent areas such as mobile sensing, wearable computing, sonification, social media and contextaware computing. This survey validates that our approach is scientifically opportune and unique, at the same time. Furthermore, in order to assess the role of Soundscapes in the context of Social Networking, an experimental procedure has been implemented based on an Online Social Networking mobile application, enriched with environmental sensing mechanisms, able to capture and analyze the surrounding Soundscape and users' movements. Two main goals guided this prototypal research tool: collecting data regarding users' activity (both sonic and kinetic) and providing users with a real experience using a Sound-Based Social Network, in order to collect informed opinions about this unique type of Social Networking. The application – Hurly-Burly – senses the surrounding Soundscape and analyzes it using machine audition techniques, classifying it according to four categories: speech, music, environmental sounds and silence. Additionally, it determines the sound pressure level of the sensed Soundscape in dB(A)eq. This information is then broadcasted to the entire online social network of the user, allowing each element to visualize and audition a representation of the collected data. An individual record for each user is kept available in a webserver and can be accessed through an online application, displaying the continuous acoustic profile of each user along a timeline graph. The experimental procedure included three different test groups, forming each one a social network with a cluster coefficient equal to one. After the implementation and result analysis stages we concluded that Soundscapes can have a role in the Online Social Networking paradigm, specially when concerning mobile applications. Has been proven that current offthe- shelf mobile technology is a promising opportunity for accomplishing this kind of tasks (such as continuous monitoring, life logging and environment sensing) but battery limitations and multitasking's constraints are still the bottleneck, hindering the massification of successful applications. Additionally, online privacy is something that users are not enthusiastic in letting go: using captured sound instead of representations of the sound would abstain users from utilizing such applications. We also demonstrated that users who are more aware of the Soundscape concept are also more inclined to assume it as playing an important role in OSN. This means that more pedagogy towards the acoustic phenomenon is needed and this type of research gives a step further in that direction.
2009/2014 "Influência da Acústica do Palco na Performance Musical: Um Novo Paradigma na Simulação de Eventos Acústicos para Auralização Interactiva com Músicos"
PhD Researcher: Gustavo Afonso Nina Almeida
Co-Supervision: Octávio Inácio
Funding: Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) - SFRH/BD/80737/2011
Status: Concluded in 29 of July 2014
Abstract: The main goal of this study was to understand how to create interactive auralization of musical segments played by musicians through an electroacoustic system that respects the three dimensional radiation characteristics of musical instruments. This work consisted in the theoretical development, practical implementation and experimental validation of a new model for the simulation of acoustic events with musicians in real time performance designated VWsystem (Virtual Wall System). The concept of a virtual wall based on the synthesis of one single sound reflection using a microphone/loudspeaker system was introduced and the phenomenon of the electroacoustic interaction was discussed. The model was evaluated both objectively and subjectively through several methodologies, including electroacoustic measurements as well as the experimental work with musicians. The proposed model was compared with the traditional auralization methods of a monophonic aquisition close to the musical instrument. The results showed a higher immunity to electroacoustic feedback from the VW-system. The use of several microphones placed far away from the sound source does not compromise the system potential acoustic gain, allowing the three-dimensional capture of the musical instrument's sound. A new method for eco attenuation caused by feedback was proposed. An attenuation of 32dB of the echo was achieved which is independent from time and intensity of the simulated reflection. These results place the phenomenon of feedback below the threshold of human perception defined in the literature. The experimental work realized with solo instrumentalists confirmed that the VW-system can be implemented in a real space in order to simulate a virtual acoustic shell increasing in this way the energy reflected onto stage. An average Just Noticeable Difference (JND) of 5dB for the STearly parameter on the intensity of the early reflections simulated was obtained. The preferential acoustic condition for a solo concert situation corresponds to a STearly comprised between -9 and -6dBA was identified. The results of the subjective comparison between the traditional model and the VW-system pointed towards a feeling of greater envelopment and realistic behaviour through the proposed model. Along the realization of this work, several software tools were developed to operate the system using MAX/MSP programing language. These tools are available for use by the cientific and professional community.
2008/2015 "Estudo Particular das Dinâmicas Intermedia no Início do Século XXI" (Co-Supervision)
PhD Researcher: André Rangel Macedo
Supervision: Paulo Ferreira Lopes
Funding: Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) - SFRH/BD/61492/2009
Status: Concluded 20 of January 2015
Abstract: The aim of this research work, in the field of intermedia practice and thought, is to identify the main characteristics, dynamics and antecedents of this medium of artistic expression, as well as the type of knowledge and the types of skills inherent to the process of doing and experiencing intermedia, interactive, multi-sensorial works. In face of the apparent lack of peer consensus, in relation to terminology and the meaning of the word 'intermedia', we question the actuality of the concept intermedia, its emergence and the ways by which intermedia research generated knowledge can be disseminated, both in the fields of art and design. We start from a process of practical reflexive investigation, in which we experiment the design and construction of intermedia interactive systems, integrating knowledge from a large spectrum of scientific and artistic activities. The knowledge acquired in this process and the consequent four works sustain the literature review and analysis, which allows us to identify intermedia characteristics that are also verifiable in the works designated in this investigation project. We amplify literature review in order to support a philosophical approach that, in addition to the description and analysis of intermedia processes and knowledge, also contributes to a better understanding of the possibility of diffusion and validation of these processes and knowledge in the academic context. We demonstrate the actuality and adequacy of Coleridge's original conception of the intermedium, as well as the affinity between intermedia and experimental chemistry, given its transformative, laboratorial, experimental character and its ability to create new media through the fusion of already existing media. This fact, as old and as modern as humanity, allows us to affirm the constant actuality of intermedia. In order to approach a definition of intermedia, we highlight as main characteristics of its process and of its consequent works: fluidity, hybridism, indetermination, self-poiesis, synthesis, enaction, continuity, inclassifiability, serendipity, inclusion of the audience, and the evolutionary and subversive character of the function of media. We expand the set of these attributes, by proposing the inclusion of the following characters: presentative, indisciplinary, unifying and media equalizer. We verify that the experience of making art and design as an activity of practical reflexive investigation combines theory and practice, counteracting the millennial schism between epistêmê and technê. We highlight the power that the intrinsic motivation of the investigative action has on the design of the investigation itself, as well as on its results. We emphasize that the type of knowledge implied in intermedia investigation is essentially tacit, non-propositional, and therefore ineffable. However, it is transmissible and transferable in a memetic way.
2008/2015 "O Papel do Laptop Performer Enquanto Agente Transformador das Práticas Musicais"
PhD Researcher: Vitor Joaquim Paredes Fernandes
Co-Supervision: Pedro Duarte Pestana
Funding: Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) - SFRH/BD/62082/2009
Status: Concluded in 18 of May 2015
Abstract: The present work revolves around the overall perception of laptop performance in the musical domain. We have considered the audience's standpoint, who, bereft of visual and gestural information, feels the loss of a causality thread that provides cues about what is happening. At a second stage, we have also considered the consequences that this bereavement implies in the way artists will shape their decisions and performance proposals. This duality of concerns led us to strive to understand the artist's perceptions and investigate the myriad ways of reacting to the newfound disruption to the traditional production model of music. Thus, we opted to start our process by targeting the artists themselves, beginning with a focus group and evolving towards two different surveys that were sequentially modulated by the results of previous steps. This yielded an evolutional and adaptive process, where each new step would be deeply grounded on the previous research. Out of the investigations carried out, it became apparent that artists, while aware of the discontinuity this disruption had caused, did not manifest a strong concern about its impact. On the other hand, we have sensed a proactive attitude towards the development and implementation of procedures that transformed the production methodology of the performance itself. From this set of principles, one should highlight the inception of new strategies of de-programming and rupture with standard models of production (Cascone, Dhomont, López), the conscience and adoption of new ways of negotiating the meaning of being on stage (López, Brook, Emmerson, Shepherd, Sloboda), and the implementation of behaviours that point towards the gradual awareness of what an author-producer should be (Benjamin, Cascone). After this first step of researching the artists, and contemplating the statements that devalued the gesture's role while our historical review pointed in the opposite direction, we triggered a last investigative strategy directed to the general audience. This consisted on the evaluation on whether the quality of musical gesture is imprinted upon the aural result of an interpretation. The results of this last item of research have shown there is no apparent correlation between body engagement and gestural production, and the audience's perception of interpretational quality. This data led us to conclude there are no evidences that the gesture is in fact a relevant part of the sound panorama, which justifies the overall behaviour of electronic music authors, who tend to devalue the role of movement in musical production.
2008/2015 "Adaptive Interfaces for Live Performance of Generative Graphics"
PhD Researcher: Joana Fernandes de Carvalho Gomes
Funding: Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) - SFRH/BD/61298/2009
Status: Concluded in 19 of May 2015
Abstract: While attempting to find new ways to create art, artists transgress the traditional notions of creativity and art. Computers start to have creative behaviors in which the artist conducts his work. Both, generative practices and interactivity have a special impact on the creation of Art and in its new relationships. Interactivity and generative processes can create a space for genuine innovative creative practices in art where the artwork is the result of collaborative work between computers and users. Is our goal to express generative practices not as a static creative process, but instead as an iterative communication between system and interface/ interface and user. This collaboration between system, user and artist gains higher relevance through the creation of an interface that is capable of synthesizing these expressions. In the process of identification of a new way of relating generative graphics systems and user/performer, an application for mobile devices was developed where interaction takes into account the need to express the generative processes through the interface, generating a greater connection between the three parties (generative system, interface system and user). This need comes from the generative system itself since it is semi-autonomous and is constantly undergoing modifications exhausted in any type of static and rigid interface . Sliders and buttons take away the freedom of a system that aims to expand connections and collaborations, where the authoritarian act of Adaptive User Interfaces for Live Performance of Generative Graphics – Joana Gomes II the user/performer overrides the choices of the system by imposing their own. ALIVEART proposes a new form of communication where the generative graphics interface adapts depending on the characteristics of an artificial living system. Thus, the parameters set by the system are modified on the interface showing only those that the user may interact. Over time these choices cause modification of the a-life as well as the interface. The result is a system that algorithmically, via sound inputs, draws graphics that are modified by an adaptive interface. Rather than change the operation of the interface, we sought to create new interaction paradigms in which the user's interference is revised by proposing a more conscious way to interact with artificial living systems. Via a survey of three areas of expertise (designers, performers and user interface experts), ALIVEART was assessed. New areas of interest were identified that confirmed the necessity to implement interfaces that adapt to systems and users thus allowing new forms of relationships and creative processes in the creation of digital art.
2009/2015 "Composing with Soundscapes: Capturing and Analysing Urban Audio for a Raw Musical Interpretation"
PhD Researcher: José Alberto Gomes
Funding: Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) - SFRH/BD/61298/2009
Status: waiting for examination
Abstract: The sound environment is increasingly more relevant in contemporary culture. It is a 'picture' of a place, an X-ray of its character and activities, shapeless and amorphous, whilst full of meanings and subtleties. It is a transmission that is complementary to what a picture retains and transports. Therefore it is a unique, tangible impression of the place to which it belongs, and intrinsically, its history, and that of the people who inhabit it, and their relations. Murray Schafer termed this element as Soundscape. Although always a present element, it was only from the end of the Twentieth Century that it has been studied in a systematic way, initially in a more ecological and socio-cultural function approach, but slowly it has been seen as an artistic tool, both in direct use of the sounds as well as being an inspiration, and a starting point, for creation. The exploratory research project presented here aims to study the capture and analysis of the urban soundscape, with a special focus on its temporal evolution, and its application in the creative and artistic context. At the first stage, we try to understand how and, if possible, to capture and represent the most challenging part of this massive sound element, which is its constant changing on the time axis. Grasping its nuances on both small and large time scales. The second phase is to understand the pertinence of such information and its direct influence in the act of music and sonic creation. To achieve these goals a multidisciplinary approach based on two main pillars was necessary: Soundscape and Computer Music. These disciplines determine the scientific areas in which this research had to be focused. Due to the fact that this thesis has a relatively broad scope of interests, there is a survey of the state of the art relating to projects and approaches that relate to the interests of this investigation in different ways. In areas such as: Music Information Retrieval, Algorithmic Composition, Eco Composition, and Sound Maps. This survey confirms the contemporaneity, relevance and originality of the project, both scientifically and artistically. In order to evaluate the proposed approach to the soundscape, URB, an experimental system to capture, analyse and store the urban soundscape was developed and implemented. The system is based on current technology, but is affordable and robust. To ensure the sustainability of the project, development was based in open source technology, to ensure the possibility of the project expanding and shaping according to the interests and needs of specific places, populations, research centres and/or artistic interests. Three main goals have guided the development of this system: addressing the lack of temporal perspective of the sound representation of urban spaces; the design of a free and autonomous system that depends only on the users, which results in a public free access database; to facilitate and systematize the access to data on the sound characteristics of an urban soundscape for both ecological studies as well as for creative and artistic purposes. A server keeps a record of the collected data, which can either be read directly, through an application developed for this purpose, or through a visual interface with a time-line approach, but always allowing for the possibility of creating original access tools that best serve the user's purposes. After implementing the system, through four listening points, and confirming its robustness, we advance to the system's application in the development of artistic works. For this purpose a challenge was proposed to a number of artists with distinct aesthetic backgrounds and training. This challenge resulted in different works that were presented to the public in different formats and media, such as works for classical instrumental, electro-acoustic works, improvisational moments with real-time sonification of the soundscape, sonic installations and sculptures powered by the system presented. This practice leads to a fundamental reflection in this research. We describe the different approaches chosen by each creator and primarily assess the pertinence in the artistic result of using a continuous and discrete system of urban soundscape analysis, from a creator's point of view as well as from a listener's point of view. With this research we are able to present a functional approach to the lack of temporal perspective in the usual sound maps that focus on the geographic origin of the recordings. We conclude that soundscapes can provide useful data for artistic creation and we promote a direct connection between that kind of approach and the artists. Even before the works developed and the artist's feedback, whilst not ignoring the different approaches and opinions, we can conclude that this approach seems to promote new and functional soundscape composition ideas, making URB a relevant resource to compose original soundscape based music. Also, through analysis of the pieces, we could point out patterns of the technical and artistic choices on how to deal with information from the soundscape data, both in deferred time and real-time.
2008/2015 "Redes Mediadas por Computador na Composição e Performação de Situações Musicais Interactivas" (Co-Supervision)
PhD Researcher: Ricardo Jorge Ramires Guerreiro
Supervision: António Sousa Dias
Funding: Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) - SFRH/BD/47933/2008
Status: waiting for examination
Abstract: The present dissolution of the boundaries that traditionally define the roles of composer, performer and listener in the electroacoustic musical creation process, promoted by the involvement of computing, revealed the need for a deeper analysis of the possibilities it contains. This interest led us to the formulation of a conceptual framework for the creation of computer music in situations of collaborative nature either for the performance or composition. In this field, we have developed a set of musical experiences in which we have tried to integrate instruments from the musical tradition. This allowed the theoretical basis that we were building to become more solid. On the other hand, the constant reformulation of a personalized Interactive Computing Environment, from which we have been developing our artistic activity, mirrored the actions of musical change factors resulting from the aesthetic reflection. The identification of two interconnected systems operating on our collaborative practice - an algorithmic network articulated by us as computer music performers and composers and a widest, global network, within which our activity coexists with a number of other heterogeneous objects also actors in the same complex process - enabled us to comprehend two different modes of articulation for each one of these two networks. The awareness of the interdependence of all objects directly or indirectly implicated in these collaborative processes showed us the need to predict an attitude of a broad generalized opening that quickly revealed the coincidence of means and ends. This fact gave rise to the radical questioning of our motivations as composers, approaching us to the main issues raised by contemporary art world in the second half of the 20th century. The blurring of art and life as exemplary processes determined by the subjective decision factor enunciated a certain eclipse of a more materialistic notion of a work of art and created the room required to assume the practice of improvisation as the axis of articulation between performance and composition. The importance of the spontaneous action in a given context, operated from interactive computer programming raised listening to the role of mediator between the abstract and the concrete domains, providing us with more ambitious prospects while creators of electroacoustic music.