BlackBox - Arts & Cognition

A collaborative platform to document performance composition:
from conceptual structures in the backstage to customizable visualizations in the front-end.

BlackBox is an interdisciplinary ERC-funded project hosted by FCSH-UNL since September 2014, under the direction of Prof. Carla Fernandes as its Principal Investigator.

With a wide-breadth duration of 5 years, the BlackBox project aims at developing a cutting-edge model for a web-based collaborative platform, dedicated to the documentation of compositional processes by contemporary performing artists with a focus on dance and theatre. The platform will enable a robust representation of the implicit knowledge in performing practices while applying novel visualization technologies to support it.

Choreographer João Fiadeiro (Re.Al) was our first year case study, Rui Lopes Graça the second, and Sylvia Rijmer the current one.

As an Arts&Cognition project, BlackBox aims at the analysis of the invited artists’ unique conceptual structures, by crossing the empirical insights of contemporary creators with research theories from Multimodal Communication (Human Interaction, Gesture Studies, Cognitive Science) and Computer Vision.

General objectives:

  • Perform theoretical and innovative interdisciplinary research on the intersection of multimodal communication and cognition, performance studies and digital media.
  • Document, transmit and preserve the unexplored knowledge contained in performance composition processes.
  • Assist artists with creative tools to facilitate their choreographic/dramaturgic practices on a collaborative basis.

The ERC Starting-Grant which supports this project has allowed the recruitment of 3 Post-Docs and 2 PhD students in the research domains of Cognitive Linguistics, Digital Media applied to the Performing Arts and Computer Science. The project also hosts several freelance collaborators and external service providers in the areas of graphic and web design, video, photography and software development, as well as international consultants in Digital Archiving and Intangible Cultural Heritage.

It has additional collaborators from: Interactive Multimedia Group at FCT-UNL; the Neuroscience Programme at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown; C-DaRE at Coventry University, UK; The Linguistics Centre of Universidade do Porto; and the Motion Bank Institute, Frankfurt.

Dance Data, Cognition, and Multimodal Communication (DDCMC19)

BlackBox Arts&Cognition announces its final conference for September 19-21, 2019, on Dance Data, Cognition, and Multimodal Communication (DDCMC19). Abstracts submission open until January 15, 2019.

Workshop "Parquear Bando" in Lisbon

July 26, 2019 – FCSH - Lisbon

Upon invitation of Professor Carla Fernandes, coordinator of the Blackbox project, choreographer Thembi Rosa, from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, will direct next Friday, July 26, the workshop Parquear Bando, at the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences - New University of Lisbon.  

Carla Fernandes at Motion Bank Lab Brazil

May 1-5, 2019 – Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Professor Carla Fernandes, Principal Investigator of BlackBox project, was invited to participate at the Motion Bank Lab Brazil, taking place at Sesc Palladium in Belo Horizonte, from the 1st to the 5th of May.

BlackBox Project receives Professor Gale Stam for a talk on Gesture Studies

March 25, 2019 - FCSH ID Building

Professor Gale Stam, from the National Louis University, USA, visits BlackBox project to present a talk entitled “Gesture: A Window Onto the Mind in Thinking, Learning, and Teaching”, on the 25th of March, at FCSH ID Building.