Enrico Nardelli

Informatics and Other Disciplines

I recently started working at the intersection between informatics and other disciplines, Digital Art - in this case, as I believe that it is of the utmost importance for the future of informatics to investigate how informatics can benefit to and receive benefit from other cultural areas.

Here below you can download a Digital Art installation I presented at the 11th Consciousness Reframed International Research Conference. Here is the paper describing the installation.

This conference series was founded by the reknown british artist and theorist Roy Ascott at the University of Wales in 1997. Consciousness Reframed is a forum for trans-disciplinary inquiry into art, science, technology, design and consciousness, drawing upon the expertise and insights of artists, designers, architects, performers, musicians, writers, scientists, and scholars, usually from at least 20 countries.

I also worked on the definition of a classification framework for Interactive Digital Artworks, that is artworks where digital technology is an essential component and for which spectators are involved in the production of the artistic output. The paper describing the framework has been presented at the 2nd International ICST Conference on User Centric Media. Here are the slides of my presentation.

A paper describing my viewpoint on the interaction between informatics and Digital Art has been recently published on the journal Leonardo.


Instructions to interact with the installation

Check the system requirements section below.

Click on the installation to download it. The browser will offer the choice whether to open the file or to save it. Both choices are fine:

When the file is opened the installation starts: if you have more than one webcam you'll be asked to choose one.

When the webcam starts (be patient, it may require up to 10 seconds after the selection to start the camera) press "P" (capital letter 'p') to take the initial picture.

Then use keys 'p' and 'm', 'o' and 'n', 'i' and 'b' to increase/decrease the three reversible effects that will be applied to the picture. Remember to check the window where the image is displayed has the focus, if it appears that your inputs have no effect on the picture. To give the focus to the window where the image is displayed just click on the image.

After some time (about 15 seconds) the image will start to degenerate and you have to click on a suitable point of the image itself to stop this degeneracy. You get a sound feedback (check the speakers volume on your PC!): the higher is the pitch, the closer you are to stop the degeneracy.

If you succeed you are back to the application of the three reversible effects, with a slightly degenerated image.

If you do not succeed you can either press 'a' to restart the whole interaction from the beginning, or press 'q' (one or more times) to arbitrarily force back the degeneracy and obtain a better image.

Be careful: the more you force back the degeneracy by pressing 'q', the higher becomes the probability an irreversible destructive effect starts, leading quickly to a complete destruction of the image.

Also, the irreversible destructive effect may start even before entering the degeneration phase. This is a rare event, though.

When the irreversible destructive effect is running you can only press 'a' to restart the whole interaction from the beginning.

Pressing the <return> key will stop the installation at any time.

I will be happy to receive a mail with your feedback and comments on this installation (and on this description page).


System requirements

The installation does not work if you don't have a webcam connected to your machine. It doesn't matter whether it is internal or external. Any resolution from 640x480 up is good.

The installation has been based on the Processing language and has been developed as a Java program under the Eclipse development framework.

This section first describe requirements for all platforms, then requirements for specific platforms: Windows, Macintosh, Linux. Be sure to read both the general requirements and the specific requirements.

General requirements

Given the installation is a Java application you need to have the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) installed on your PC. You need JVM version 6, any release/update should work, but a release/update greater than 14 is suggested. The latest version of the JVM can be downloaded here.

The video libraries used by the Processing language depend on having a QuickTime player installed on your PC. You need QuickTime Player version 7 at least. The latest version of the QuickTime can be downloaded here.

The management of the serial port by the Processing language requires the have the library RXTXcomm.jar in the sub-folder containing the extensions for the libraries of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE - which comes with the JVM). The exact name and position of this last folder vary with the platform, the operating system and the JVM you have: some additional info is given in the specific requirement sections. You can download this library by clicking here. After clicking choose to save the file in the folder just described and be sure it is saved with extension ".jar".

Windows requirements

For the Processing video libraries to properly manage the webcam you need to install an additional QuickTime component named WinVDIG: follow the instructions there to install it. Version 1.0.1 has been tested to work under any of XP, Vista and Windows 7.

To properly manage the serial port you also need to have the library rxtxSerial.dll placed in the same directory where you put RXTXcomm.jar. On Windows with JVM version 6 this is the directory Program Files\Java\jre6\lib\ext on your hard disk. You can download this library by clicking here. After clicking choose to save the file and be sure it is saved with extension ".dll".

Macintosh requirements

These instructions have not yet been verified. If you can give feedback, please send me a mail.

To properly manage the serial port you also need to have the library librxtxSerial.jnilib placed in the same folder where you put RXTXcomm.jar. On Macintosh this is the folder Library/Java/Extensions on your hard disk. You can download this library by clicking here. After clicking choose to save the file.

Linux requirements

These instructions have not yet been verified. If you can give feedback, please send me a mail.

To properly manage the serial port you also need to have the library librxtxSerial.so placed in the same directory where you put RXTXcomm.jar. You can download this library by clicking here. After clicking choose to save the file.


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