Before entering engineering school, I took 3 years of undergrad studies in classical arts. This was a great learning period, that provided the background of the creation of digital/tangible artifacts. I find that the creation of multimedia / interactive applications provides a great combination of technical challenges and creative expression. One of the main ways to stay in contact with the artistic world is with collaborations with artists, mainly my brother Mateo Amaral, in research (PhD and post-doc), and with friends and colleagues in the creation of game-jam projects.
Live Audiovisual Performances
Over the past years, I have been working in collaboration with Mateo Amaral to support live audiovisual performances, taking advantage of the power Unity3D for live interactive rendering, by allowing a virtual world to be controlled and remixed using audio control (OSC). This was used in multiple live performances and video installations, both showcased internationally. Perhaps one day this custom tool will be available publicly, but certainly not in the near future.
The latest instance of this is the series of trans-media projects is Éramos la humanidad (“we were humanity”), which tells the story of a future where digital entities (AIs) inhabit the river deltas of El Tigre (Argentina), relearning about their human ancestry. A first episode of this project was accepted and showcased at the Proa Fundation (Argentina), and a second episode is under way presenting an interactive game-like narrative experience.
At a personal level, it was Mateo who first exposed me to modern technologies (including mixed reality) and artistic installations, and it has been a pleasure to be able to apply my technical knowledge to assist him.
Art and Science in Research
To a lesser extent, I was also involved in art&science projects from my research institutes. During my studies, I was involved in the collaboration between PLADEMA and Patricio Gonzalez in his project Efecto mariposa; no great contribution came from my part, but it was a direct inspiration for Inner Garden, and I will be forever grateful of being part of that collaboration.
In research, a series of experience-driven projects started with Inner Garden (an augmented sandbox containing a world in miniature connected to our physiology). After that, we have worked in multiple projects in close collaboration with Jérémy Frey and his startup Ullo, and multiple of these projects (including modular physiology, soon to be published) have turned into products and showcased in CES las Vegas (2019-2020).
Inria-Potioc was also involved in multiple Art and Science projects, one of the most relevant ones is the collaboration with the artist Cécile Léna for the creation of tangible and augmented reality applications. My role was to provide advice and technical guidance to the students attached to these projects, notably Clémentine Petit. Another axis of interest is the use of technology for didactical purposes. I assisted the formation and the creation of application to this end, particularly with Philippe Giraudeau during his PhD. This was also explored in collaboration with Ullo, taking a more playful approach.