New book edited with Routledge: "Dance Data, Cognition, and Multimodal Communication"

2023-01-10 17:13.

Following the final conference of the BlackBox project, a new book has just been published with Routledge, Taylor&Francis.
The volume is edited by Carla Fernandes, Vito Evola and Cláudia Ribeiro, and covers the best peer-reviewed papers of the conference, including the main results of BlackBox.
Dance Data, Cognition, and Multimodal Communication is the result of a collaborative and transdisciplinary effort towards a first definition of "dance data", with its complexities and contradictions, in a time where cognitive science is growing in parallel to the need of a renewed awareness of the body’s agency in our manyfold interactions with the world.
It is a reflection on the observation of bodily movements in artistic settings, and one that views human social interactions, multimodal communication, and cognitive processes through a different lens—that of the close collaboration between performing artists, designers, and scholars.
This collection focuses simultaneously on methods and technologies for creating, documenting, or representing dance data. The editors highlight works focusing on the dancers’ embodied minds, including research using neural, cognitive, behavioural, and linguistic data in the context of dance composition processes. Each chapter deals with dance data from an interdisciplinary perspective, presenting theoretical and methodological discussions emerging from empirical studies, as well as more experimental ones.
The book, which includes digital Support Material on the volume's Routledge website, will be of great interest to students and scholars in contemporary dance, neuro-cognitive science, intangible cultural heritage, performing arts, cognitive linguistics, embodiment, design, new media, and creativity studies.



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, 26th July 2019, the workshop Parquear Bando, at the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences - New University of Lisbon. Parquear Bando is an urban intervention carried out since 2015 by Parquear Dança Multiplex, proposed by Margo Assis and Thembi Rosa with the participation of guests. The aim is to experiment the use of bamboos as a device for deceleration, balance and composition. This is a nomadic choreography, multiple and engaged in establishing connective itineraries, perceiving the body itself, composing with the city,with others and with everything that crosses our paths.

Participation is open to all interested people. It is not necessary to have previous experience in dance.

More information: Parquear Bando Lisboa - Facebook event


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.

Motion Bank is a research project of the Mainz University of Applied Sciences co-directed by Florian Jenett and Scott deLahunta, dedicated to researching the documentation and translation of contemporary dance practice into digital form, with a focus on annotation and presentation of time-based recordings. The main goals of this Lab in Belo Horizonte is to nourish the dialogue between Motion Bank and the work of local choreographers: Dudude Herrmann, Dorothé Depeauw, Margô Assis and Thembi Rosa. They will be engaged with the Motion Bank team in the digital documentation, annotation and visualisation of some of their choreographic works and processes. In special, A projetista, Bols & Worp and Parquear Dança Multiplex. Public workshops, presentations, conversations with local and international artists are part of the program.

Program of Motion Bank Lab Brazil 2019

Motion Bank Brazil is coordinated by Scott deLahunta and Thembi Rosa and has the participation of Luiz Naveda (Brazil), Carla Fernandes (Portugal) and Daniel Bisig (Switzerland).

More information about the program of Motion Bank Lab Brazil:

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.

This talk will discuss how gestures allow us to see speakers’ conceptualizations in first language and second language thinking for speaking and how speakers vary their gestures depending on the task they are engaged in and the proficiency of their interlocutor. It will present evidence from several studies that demonstrate that speakers’ gestures indicate how they are truly thinking and to what extent teachers use gestures to increase comprehension.

Gale Stam is Professor of Psychology at National Louis University in Chicago an alumna of the McNeill Lab - Center for Gesture and Speech Research at the University of Chicago. She has a M.A. in Linguistics from Northeastern Illinois University and a Ph.D. in Psychology (Cognition and Communication) from the University of Chicago and extensive experience in teaching English as a second language. Her research interests include language and culture, language and cognition, gesture and first language and second language acquisition, and pedagogical gestures. She has published articles on changes in thinking for speaking, the importance of looking at gesture in second language acquisition, and language teachers’ gestures.

More information on Gale Stam´s work:

BlackBox project screens documentaries on choreographers João Fiadeiro and Rui Lopes Graça, and presents 360º video platform

March 11, 2019 - Auditorium 1 of the FCSH – Universidade Nova de Lisboa

The BlackBox Arts & Cognition project presents on the 11th of March the documentaries “O que fazer daqui para trás” [“What to do with what remains”] (2017) and “Um olhar sobre os bastidores de ‘Quinze Bailarinos e Tempo Incerto’” [“A Backstage view of "Fifteen Dancers and Changeable Tempo"] (2019), developed in the context of the research on the work of the choreographers João Fiadeiro and Rui Lopes Graça. The event, which will take place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Auditorium 1 of the FCSH – Universidade Nova de Lisboa, also includes the presentation of a 360 degree viewing video platform developed by BlackBox project on the piece of the National Ballet of Portugal (CNB) “Quinze Bailarinos e Tempo Incerto” ["Fifteen Dancers and Changeable Tempo"].

The event, with the presence of the principal investigator of the BlackBox project Carla Fernandes and the interdisciplinary team of researchers, begins at 2 PM with the projection of the documentary “What to do with what remains” (2017), which approaches the composition method of the choreographer João Fiadeiro and closely follows the creative process of the piece with the same name, co-created by the choreographer and five performers. The guiding thread are the 4 phases of composition that Fiadeiro identifies as his choreographic modus operandi: Affect; Formulation; Device and Dramaturgy. The documentary is the result of the first case study of the BlackBox project, that for four months accompanied the choreographer and other creators from the first talks in the Studio Re.Al to the opening night at the Maria Matos Theatre in November 2015.

At 3 PM is screened the documentary “A Backstage view of ‘Fifteen Dancers and Changeable Tempo’" (2019), created from the material resulting from the second case study of the BlackBox project, and focused on the work of the choreographer Rui Lopes Graça within the National Ballet of Portugal (CNB). The documentary specifically addresses the creative process of the ballet "Fifteen Dancers and Changeable Tempo", by the visual artist João Penalva and with choreographic direction by Rui Lopes Graça, presented by the CNB in ​​October 2016 at Teatro Camões.

After the screening of this documentary, and still about "Fifteen Dancers and Changeable Tempo", BlackBox project will present a 360-degree viewing platform, a new concept to study the creative processes in the dance / performance area using a camera of 360 grades and interactive and animated annotations. The public can view the research results obtained in this platform, available for computer, mobile devices and VR glasses, accessing the specific web page:


Informal showing on cognition & dance by BlackBox Project and choreographer Sylvia Rijmer

October 8, 2018 - Estúdio CAB, Centro Coreográfico de Lisboa

BlackBox Arts and Cognition and choreographer Sylvia Rijmer will host an informal showing on cognition and dance, on Friday 12th of October, 8 pm, at Centro Coreográfico de Lisboa.

Sylvia Rijmer is the invited artist of the third case study of BlackBox project, which 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.

According to BlackBox research team, “this study resulted from the convergence between Sylvia’s drive to formalise her compositional and choreographic methodologies, and a scientific drive to frame, analyse and make tangible an artistic process with factors and patterns which influence the decision-making processes underlying the creation of a dance. Sylvia set up an analytical investigation to structure her empirical knowledge framed around cognitive attention and movement habitual patterns within an artistic dance practice poised to question and challenge the negotiation of choice in dance. Specifically, she generated tools for compositional (Dodging) and typological (Scanning) movement possibilities, and (partly) superimposed them on a re-enacted MAP of Cornelius Cardew’s Treatise Score.
In the near future, both the artistic and scientific teams will develop and provide alternative ways of seeing Sylvia’s choreographic process, both in the making of, and in the form of a choreogaphic excerpt. We will do so by demonstrating alternative perspectives on a human dance process using New Media, 3D Rendering techhniques, stereoscopic photography, infographics, discourse analysis and gesture studies approaches.”

For this piece, Sylvia Rijmer worked in collaboration with dancers Teresa Alves da Silva, Allan Falieri and Elson Ferreira. The musical composition is by Miguel Lucas Mendes.

Estúdio CAB – Centro Coreográfico de Lisboa is located in Rua Tenente Raul Cascais 1B, Metro station: Rato.

Carla Fernandes in conversation with artist João Penalva and choreographer Rui Lopes Graça at Mudam, Luxembourg

September 12, 2018 - Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg

Prof. Carla Fernandes is going to participate in a discussion with artist João Penalva and choreographer Rui Lopes Graça on September 12th at MUDAM Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, on the occasion of the ballet Fifteen Dancers and Changeable Tempo by the National Ballet of Portugal being presented at the Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg on September 15th.

During their conversation the panel will share experiences of collaboration and of coming together for the creation of this ballet, with Prof. Carla Fernandes presenting a BlackBox research programme that examined non-verbal communication between the choreographer and dancers. This discussion will be an opportunity to gain deeper insight into this conceptual and poetic work.

MUDAM is holding at this moment and until September 16th a major exhibition on João Penalva's work, which include large staged installations combining painting, photography, video and documents; and also image, text and sound.

More information:

Blackbox Team at the 8th Conference of the International Society for Gesture Studies: “Gesture and Diversity”

July 4-8, 2018.

The researchers of BlackBox project will be participating in the 8th Conference of the International Society for Gesture Studies, to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, July 4-8, 2018. This edition of the conference will be dedicated to the thematic “Gesture and Diversity”.
BlackBox researchers will present the following communications:

Interplay of choreographic decision-making and bodily communication between choreographer and dancer, by Ana Rita Fonseca and Carla Fernandes. This study aims at uncovering the decision-making processes underlying dance composition from the perspective of neuroscience, therefore gaining a better grasp about the intentions and emotions that are being communicated between choreographer and dancer.

Iconicity and gesture reduction: A study on marking in dance, by Vito Evola, Carla Fernandes, and Stephan Jürgens

Creating sense with nonsense: Pervasive use of iconic co-vocalized gestures in artistic settings, by Joanna Skubisz

DynAVis: Visualizing Static Multimodal Annotations in a Dynamic Virtual Environment, by Rafael Kuffner, Vito Evola and Cláudia Ribeiro

The conference is organised by the International Society for Gesture Studies (ISGS), an interdisciplinary group of researchers including anthropologists, cognitive scientists, computer scientists, linguists, neuroscientists, psychologists, and semioticians, which every two years convokes a major international conference to share perspectives on the study of gesture and bodily communication.
This first conference on gesture on the African continent will focus on the rich diversity of human gestural communication, examining the wide range of linguistic and cultural phenomena and other factors that influence and shape gestural diversity.
More information on the 8th ISGS conference:

BlackBox launches a 360º video platform to visualize the creative process of the ballet “Quinze Bailarinos e Tempo Incerto” by João Penalva and Rui Lopes Graça

March 14, 2018 - Cinema São Jorge, Lisbon

BlackBox project has created a new concept to study creative processes in dance and performance using a 360º camera and animated and interactive annotations.
The results of this research can be viewed in a new platform that will be launched on the 14 of March, 10h00 (am), at São Jorge Cinema, included in the program of the Lisbon Animation Film Festival, Monstra 2018.
BlackBox invites the general public to discover the piece “Quinze Bailarinos e Tempo Incerto” (Fifteen Dancers and Changeable Tempo), a work by the visual artist João Penalva and the choreographer Rui Lopes Graça, which was presented by the National Ballet of Portugal (CNB) in 2016. Rui Lopes Graça has been the second case study of the project BlackBox since May 2016. The project has accompanied the entire compositional process of the piece until its premiere.
Fifteen Dancers and Changeable Tempo 360º is a multiple viewport platform (for computer, tablet and VR headsets) conceived and realized by Stephan Jürgens (BlackBox Arts & Cognition Project) and Roger Oliveira, a digital media producer from Space Tailor (an interactive media company dedicated to the development of 360º digital environments), produced by Carla Fernandes (principal investigator of the BlackBox Arts & Cognition Project). The platform introduces the viewer to selected compositional strategies and artistic ideas by the authors of the ballet, João Penalva and Rui Lopes Graça, as researched by Stephan Jürgens. In collaboration with the dancers of CNB and Rui Lopes Graça, a rehearsal of two sections of the ballet “Quinze Bailarinos e Tempo Incerto”was filmed for the 360º video environment by Roger Oliveira. Moreover, both films include graphic information, which allow the viewer to understand essential compositional ideas underlying this dance work.
More information about the event:


BlackBox documentary “O que fazer daqui para trás” releases in InShadow Festival 2017 (Cinemateca Portuguesa, Lisbon)

2017-12-15 21:46.

The documentary about the creative process of choreographer João Fiadeiro, “O Que Fazer Daqui Para Trás” (eng. “What To Do With What Remains”), produced by BlackBox project, will have a preview release in the 2017 edition of InShadow - Lisbon ScreenDance Festival, at Cinemateca Portuguesa on December 15th, 9:30pm.
The documentary, directed by Carla Fernandes and Stephan Jurgens, with the artistic direction of Francisco Henriques, closely follows the creative process of the piece "O Que Fazer Daqui Para Trás ", co-created by the choreographer João Fiadeiro and five performers. The documentary uses video material gathered during 4 months of filming since the first conversations in the studio of Re.Al to the debut of the play in the theatre Maria Matos, in November of 2015.
The projection will be followed by a conversation with the authors and the choreographer.
InShadow - Lisbon ScreenDance Festival is an event that explores interdisciplinary atmospheres with emphasis on the convergence of language between body and image, based on technology. Genres and language intersect in video, performance, installations and exhibitions that present the vitality of a dialogue between established artists and emerging creators.
More information about the documentary and the festival here:

Joanna Skubisz at 62a StuTS (Netherlands)

November 23-26, 2017.

BlackBox researcher Joanna Skubisz, supervised by Prof. Carla Fernandes, is presenting a talk at StuTS (Studentische Tagung Sprachwissenschaft, engl. Student Conference Linguistics), a conference which provides a platform for scientific exchange between students of linguistics and related disciplines.
The conference takes place in Nijmegen, between 23 and 26 of November. During the event the students present their own projects and papers, attend talks held by others and initiate discussions.
Joanna Skubisz is going to present the talk “Touching the touch: tactile communication in a contemporary ballet piece”, based on her current research about the communicative relation between the choreographer Rui Lopes Graça and his dancers. Focusing specifically on the “touch”, Joanna Skubisz will argue that “Compared to everyday life situations, tactile communication is an important and necessary aspect of artistic work in Dance and any other Performing Arts domain using the body as object and subject”.
The presentation will provide a first insight into a part of her planned dissertation work.
More information about the conference on the webpage:

Carla Fernandes and David Santos at the International Seminar on Archive Practices in the Performative Arts

November 16-18, 2017.

Carla Fernandes and David Santos were invited to participate in the international seminar “Práticas de Arquivo em Artes Performativas”, which took place between 16 and 18 of November at Teatro Académico de Gil Vicente (Coimbra) and Mosteiro São Bento da Vitória (Porto).
The seminar aimed at discussing the archive practices in the performing arts considering several different disciplines (theatre, dance, performance, music), and also the possibilities of constituting different "archives" in the technological and mediatized present, as well as the dynamics that are established between the archive and the contemporary practices of creation and embodied memory.
Carla Fernandes and David Santos presented the case of TKB – Transmedia Knowledge Base, as the first national open platform to archive compositional processes in the performing arts.
The seminar was coordinated by Fernando Matos de Oliveira (Ceis20-UC/TAGV), Cláudia Madeira (IHA/FCSH-UNL) and Hélia Marçal (IHA/FCSH-UNL). The complete program can be accessed here:

Carla Fernandes interviewed for “90 Segundos de Ciência” radio program<

2017-08-29 23:27.

Carla Fernandes was interviewed by Adriano Cerqueira for “90 Segundos de Ciência”, for RTP - ANTENA 1, a radio programme highlighting the work of Portuguese researchers from different fields living in Portugal and abroad.
The interview aired on August 29th and was repeated the next day, in the morning and in the afternoon. The interview is also accessible online, including a summary, through the official webpage of the program:
The program “90 Segundos de Ciência” is a joint project by the Universidade Nova de Lisboa and the Portuguese national radio Antena 1. All episodes are available on their webpage:

BlackBox project at MOCO 2017 - 4th International Conference on Movement Computing

June 28-30, 2017.

Cláudia Ribeiro and Prof. Carla Fernandes, BlackBox Director, are going to participate at the 4th International Conference on Movement Computing, MOCO’17, which takes place at Goldsmiths University of London, 28-30 June, 2017.
Carla Fernandes and Cláudia Ribeiro will present a paper entitled “Capturing and Documenting Creative Processes in Contemporary Dance” (jointly authored with Rafael Kuffner, PhD student at Blackbox) which focuses on the importance of preserving the knowledge generated within performing arts for future generations, and on the development of new visualization techniques to document conceptual compositional processes.
In this paper they describe how 3D data capture and point cloud vizualization techniques have been used to capture and document João Fiadeiro's choreographic and compositional processes, and how they constitute the basis for the development of new vizualization techniques that better illustrate, in an interactive system, the complexity of Fiadeiro's creative process.
MOCO is an International Workshop on movement and computing which aims to gather academics and practitioners interested in the computational study, modelling, representation, segmentation, recognition, classification, or generation of movement information. MOCO is positioned within emerging interdisciplinary domains between art & science.

Professor Sarah Whatley visits BlackBox Project for a talk on dance and technology

May 25, 2017.

Professor Sarah Whatley, Director of the Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE) at Coventry University, UK, visits the BlackBox project on May 25 to give a talk on her current research on dance documentation and new technologies.
Entitled “The moving body, technology and tools for analysis”, her talk will focus on the interrelationship between somatic-informed dance, imagery and motion analysis. Using the current EU-funded H2020 project ’WhoLoDance’, which is building digital tools for dance learning and dance making, and is raising some interesting questions about the tension between ‘learning how to use tools’ and ‘learning dance with the tools’, Sarah Whatley will discuss that project's work so far on developing categories for analysing dance for machine reading including movement ‘qualities’, on developing a blending engine, an annotation tool, and a life-size volumetric display for the dancer to dance ‘with’ a virtual body.
The conference will take place at 18h00 at Sala Multiusos 1, on the ID Building of FCSH - NOVA. The entrance is free.

GDA Foundation for the rights of Artists promotes the "TKB" open archival platform

May 16, 2017.

The GDA Foundation has recently published on their website and Facebook page an article about the platform TKB - A Transmedia Knowledge Base for Performing Arts, a transdisciplinary online platform, developed by Prof. Carla Fernandes and respective collaborators, which works as a digital dynamic and open "archive of processes" aims to document and share the creation of contemporary dance pieces. TKB has been officially launched at the international ALKANTARA Festival in Lisbon, in June 2016.
The GDA Foundation's mission is to enhance and dignify the work and careers of artists - actors, dancers and musicians - as well as their human, cultural and social development. This mission materializes in a set of programs and initiatives focused on cultural action, social action, institutional action and training.
The article about TKB can be accessed here:

Opening night of The Divine Comedy - Inferno by João Brites at the National Theatre in Lisbon, 11th of May 2017

May 11, 2017.

Stephan Jürgens - core researcher of the BlackBox project - has worked over the past months as a video designer and choeographer on the "The Divine Comedy - Inferno" production with João Brites, an acclaimed Portuguese theatre director. Brites and his company Teatro O Bando collaborated with the National Theatre TNDM II on this production, and will be producing a second and third stage work based on Dante Alighieri's text during this six-year-spanning project. Stephan participated in a double role - artist and researcher - in the creative process and will be investigating and publishing work from a practice-as-research perspective about the production of this stage work and about a unique system of actor's training, which Brites and the Teatro O Bando have developed over the past decades, called "The consciousness of the Actor on the Scene" (CAC). This system is taught as a certified course at the Teatro O Bando'sheadquarters in Palmela. For more information about the piece and the training system see the companie's website:

Memories Video Cláudia Ribeiro at the 8th Choreographic Coding Lab

May 11, 2017.

BlackBox Post-Doc researcher Cláudia Ribeiro has participated in the 8th Choreographic Coding Lab, an interdisciplinary event that promotes a collaborative work mixing contemporary dance and the digital media.
The event took place from May 6th to 11th as part of the Fiber Festival in Amsterdam, and gathered dancers, choreographers and artists working with code and digital media.
Cláudia Ribeiro, in collaboration with Michaela Honauer, has created the video “Memories”, based on Milan Kundera’s idea that gestures inhabit people. Using 3D data captured with multiple Kinect sensors from Rui Lopes Graça latest piece “Quinze Bailarinos e Tempo Incerto”, and video data capture during the Choreographic Coding Lab, they have explored the dichotomy between ballet movements and contemporary dance movements. They used generative art superimposed to neo-classical ballet dancers with a view to enhance the structured nature of this dance genre.
In the video, three desynchronized versions of the same dancer performing the same sequence are shown simultaneously, this causing the impression that we are observing different dancers, as if the same gestures would remind us of different people/individuals. In the background we see a fainted video of two contemporary dancers improvising a set of movements yet to become part of our memory of this dance genre. The overlap between the two images is used to enhance what already is and what will become.
The final video can be watched here:

Participation of Prof. Carla Fernandes at ERCEA conference in Lisbon: “Beyond the first decade”

March 17, 2017.

Prof. Carla Fernandes, as Principal Investigator of the BlackBox project, was invited for the second time, along with other ERC researchers as Helena Machado, Luís Silva and Hélder Maiato, to give a formal talk announcing the results of the first two and a half years of the BlackBox project. The talk took place at the ERCEA (ERC Executive Agency) conference in Lisbon upon invitation of the ERC President, Prof. Pierre Bourguignon, the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Prof. Carlos Moedas and the Portuguese Minister for Science and Tecnology, all present at the session, where nine Portuguese PIs have been selected to present their ERC-funded projects.
The conference took place at "Pavilhão do Conhecimento" on the 17th of March 2017 within the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the European Research Council (ERC), to mark the results of participation in projects funded by the ERC since its inception. The event was held from 9 am to 2 pm and was organized in collaboration with the ERC Executive Agency, ERCEA, the Parliamentary Commission for Education and Science and the Ciência Viva Agency. The aim was to discuss the results obtained by Portugal in the various scientific fields, as well as a strategy to continue and reinforce this trajectory of success.

BlackBox Project receives Professor Sotaro Kita for a conference in the framework of Gesture Studies

February 6, 2017.

The BlackBox Project receives the prestigious Professor Sotaro Kita, from the University of Warwick, on February 6 for a conference in the area of Gesture Studies and Cognitive Linguistics. With the title "How speech and gesture production shape each other," the conference will focus on the interdependence between gestures and the production of discourse.
The talk will concern gestures that people spontaneously produce, mainly with their hands, while speaking and will argue that gesture production is highly inter-dependent with speech production.
Professor Sotaro Kita completed a PhD in psychology and linguistics at the University of Chicago and has been lecturing in the UK since 2003 at Univ. of Bristol, Univ. of Birmingham, and Univ. of Warwick. His research interests are psycholinguistics and psychology of communication, with the main focus being on gestures that are spontaneously produced during speaking and thinking.
The conference will take place at 6pm at Sala Multiusos 1, on the ID Building, FCSH. The entrance is free.

BlackBox supports the first iGesto Conference

February 2-3, 2017.

The BlackBox project is supporting the first conference organised by iGesto association, “iGesto’17 - International Conference on Gesture and Multimodality”. The event will take place in February 2-3 at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Porto.
Apart from integrating the scientific committee, BlackBox team will be presenting four lectures: “Performance mode under the microscope: A cognitive semiotic analysis of eye gaze and other body movements in a contemporary dance improvisation exercise”, presented by Vito Evola, Joanna Skubisz, and Carla Fernandes; “A multimodal video annotator for bodily motions: taking notes in real-time”, presented by Carla Fernandes and Stephan Jürgens; “A systematic review of the methods reported in the journal GESTURE”, presented by Joanna Skubisz; “Dynamic Annotations Visualizer: A tool to visualize video-based annotations of body movements in a 3D environment”, presented by Claudia Ribeiro, Vito Evola, Rafael Kuffner, Joanna Skubisz.
The iGesto association, recently founded in Porto, Portugal, is organizing this first meeting with the aim of promoting scientific dialogue and research in the field of Gesture Studies in southwestern Europe. The meeting is mainly aimed at researchers and other professionals interested in issues related to the study of gesture and multimodality in interaction.
After the conference, two of the keynotes speakers, Adam Kendon and Sotaro Kita, have been invited by BlackBox to give an open seminar at FCSH, on the 6th of February, at 6pm.

Carla Fernandes integrates the Dance Pilot of Europeana Space project

January 2017.

Carla Fernandes integrates the Europeana Space project as one of the partners of the Dance Pilot, coordinated by Sarah Whatley from Coventry University. At the Dance Pilot, Carla Fernandes is responsible for the software “Dance Pro”, a video annotator who works as a real time digital notebook to help the creative and compositional processes of professional performing artists.
Europeana Space project aims to create new opportunities for employment and economic growth within the creative industries sector based on Europe’s rich digital cultural resources. The 6 themed Pilots developed will present innovative models of content use in interactive TV, photography, dance, games, publishing and cultural heritage.
As a full partner of the Europeana Space project, Carla Fernandes attended two thematic workshops, one in Coventry about Intellectual Property and related technology (March 2, 2015), and another one about technical space in Brussels (March 23-24, 2015). Also, she participated on the Dance Pilot hackathon, entitled “Hacking the [Dancing] Body”, which took place in Prague (November 20-21, 2015), plus the three annual project conferences (16 -17 October 2014, Venice; 10-11 December 2015, Tallinn; 21-22 November 2016, Berlin).


BlackBox presents at a Dynamique Interactionnelle du Geste “Making sense together” conference, organized by the CNRS and the Laboratoire SFL in Paris (France)

September 22-23, 2016

The team participated with the following peer-reviewed presentations: Performance mode under the microscope: A cognitive semiotic analysis of eye gaze and other body movements in a contemporary dance improvisation exercise (Vito Evola, Joanna Skubisz, and Carla Fernandes); Qualities that count: Social cognition and collaborative coordination in a conceptual dance improvisation (Carla Fernandes, Vito Evola, and Joanna Skubisz).
La Dynamique Interactionnelle du Geste “Making sense together”

ISGS 7 Participation of BlackBox team at the ISGS 7

July 18-22, 2016.

BlackBox team will be presenting their work at the ISGS 7, the biennial conference organised by the International Society for Gesture Studies (ISGS), an international scholarly association devoted to the study of human gesture ( The seventh conference of the ISGS takes place at Sorbonne Nouvelle University, Paris, France, July 18th–22th, 2016. Carla Fernandes and Vito Evola co-organize a theme panel on “Annotating (on) the Creative Body: From Research to New Tools”, with peer-reviewed presentations: Transposing Formal Annotations of 2D Video Data into a 3D Environment for Gesture Research (Claúdia Ribeiro, Vito Evola, Rafael Kuffner, and Joanna Skubisz); The role of gaze and other body movements in collaborative decision-making: A study on coordinating turns in a contemporary dance improvisation exercise (Vito Evola, Joanna Skubisz, and Carla Fernandes); A multimodal video annotator for bodily motions: taking notes in real-time(Carla Fernandes and Stephan Jürgens)

Participation of Prof. Carla Fernandes at ERCEA conference in Lisbon: "Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown"

July 4, Lisbon.

Prof. Carla Fernandes, as Principal Investigator of the BlackBox project, was invited to give a formal talk at the ERCEA (ERC Executive Agency) conference in Lisbon upon invitation of the ERC President and the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, both present at the session, where only three Portuguese PIs have been selected to present their ERC-funded projects. The conference has taken place at the "Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown" on the 4th of July 2016 and aimed to provide a platform for dialogue and best practice exchanges between the ERC grantees (PIs) and the European Research Council Executive Agency, with regard to all stages of the grant implementation (legal, scientific, financial, communication, open access matters, inter alia). The presence of other PIs from Portuguese Universities and Research Units has constituted an important opportunity to promote the debate between researchers and institutions, focusing on their scientific achievements and experiences with the management of their respective teams. The three selected PIs (Carla Fernandes, Elvira Fortunato and Luís Moita) have presented the scientific and artistic results of their research and provided first-hand advice on all concrete aspects of their grant management process up to now.

BlackBox presents results of the case study on choreographer João Fiadeiro

June 6, 2016: 14h30 To 19h00

At the recently opened "Polo Cultural das Gaivotas" (hosted by the Lisbon Town Hall). Venue address: Rua das Gaivotas 6, Lisbon. First public presentation of the results of the BlackBox research project on the work of choreographer João Fiadeiro. This outreach event will be led by the project coordinator, Prof. Carla Fernandes, and the core team members of the project, who will be presenting their final results on Fiadeiro's creative process, as analysed through the lenses of the three interrelated research areas covered by the project (Multimodal Communication&Cognition, Performance Studies&Information Visualisation and Computer Vision&Motion Tracking). Choreographer João Fiadeiro will be present throughout the afternoon in his role of first invited case-study (October 2014 - June 2016) of the BlackBox project. Associate researchers of the project have also been invited to join this public event. A round-table with all the involved researchers and the choreographer will wrap up the event and at 9:30 pm João Fiadeiro will present a site-specific version of his performance "I am (not) here" to the public. Both the afternoon conference and the evening performance are free and open to the community.

TKB project presentation: The Transmedia Knowlegde-Base for Performing Arts, digital and interactive platform for the Performative Arts - Festival Alkantara

June 5, Sala Mário Viegas - S. Luiz Theater.

The "Knowledge-Base for Performing Arts", a project coordinated by Carla Fernandes, is a dynamic and open resource that aims to support the creation and documentation of contemporary performances in the digital format of an "archive of processes".

TKB project presentation: The Transmedia Knowlegde-Base for Performing Arts, digital and interactive platform for Performative Arts - Teatro Viriato

April 2016.

On the occasion of the show "Reencontro", which will join Vera Mantero, Clara Andermatt, João Fiadeiro and Paulo Ribeiro in a choreography by João dos Santos Martins, a presentation of the TKB project will be take place, coordinated by Carla Fernandes.

Presentation of the BlackBox project at Monstra 2016

March 2016

Stephan Jürgens, Francisco Henriques and Carla Fernandes will participate in a public debate / round table at the Monstra 2016 (Animated Film Festival in Lisbon) and present a talk entitled Animated infographic films: how to present scientific research in animated films.

Training Course: Multimodality analysis methodologies in face-to-face interaction. Gesture Studies with ELAN

March 3 to 5, 2016 / Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto.

The course aims to teach the use of ELAN video annotation software program.

Talent Development in Research

February 2016.

Professor Carla Fernandes was invited to give a talk at the event TALENT DEVELOPMENT IN RESEARCH, organised by NOVA Research, and an opportunity to network with peers, meet NOVA’s European Research Council grantees and listen to their stories. More


Europeana Space 2nd International Conference in Tallinn

December 10-11, 2015.

Creative reuse of cultural heritage and contemporary practices: challenges and opportunities in the digital world. Represented by the gracious cornflower, the national symbol of Estonia, the 2nd Europeana Space International Conference is announced. More

Dance Hackathon, from Prague to London

November 2015.

The EuropeanaSpace Dance Hackathon took place in Prague on the 21st and 22nd November. Organised by CIANT, in collaboration with Coventry University and the Dance Pilot team, the event brought together dancers, choreographers, hackers, coders, scientists and artists to explore the creative reuse of Europeana and dance content. More

E-Space invited in CRe-AM networking session at ICT Lisbon 2015!

October 2015.

Gathering people from both creative industries and ICT fields in order to exchange ideas on shared strategic collaboration. More

"We want to document what would otherwise be lost"

September 29, 2015.

Expresso Interview with Carla Fernandes about the blackbox project by Luciana Leiderfarb (Photo: João Lima). More

Peer-reviewed presentation: “The Role of Eye Gaze and Body Movements in Turn-Taking during a Contemporary Dance Improvisation”

September 17-18, 2015.

Vito Evola, Joanna Skubisz, and Carla Fernandes present a peer-reviewed presentation entitled “The Role of Eye Gaze and Body Movements in Turn-Taking during a Contemporary Dance Improvisation” at the 3rd European Symposium on Multimodal Communication, held at Trinity College Dublin (Ireland).

E-Space Dance Pilot: Testing Sessions in Athens

September 2015

The session really highlighted the multitude of ways in which the Pilot's tools might inform and facilitate engagement with dance, both in and out of the studio. More

E-Space Dance pilot in Portugal

May 2015.

The Europeana Space Dance Pilot travelled to Lisbon, Portugal mid-May, to hold its first usability test for the two applications it has been developing. A two-day session was organized by FCSH-UNL under the coordination of team members Carla Fernandes and João Gouveia but included all members of the Pilot, Sarah Whatley, Alexandru Stan and Rosamaria Kostic Cisneros. Coventry University, IN2 , and FCSH met at the RE.AL Studios, a company led by contemporary choreographer João Fiadeiro, to evaluate the “DanceSpaces” tool and the “DancePro” tool. More


ERC Grant awarded to a researcher from the FCSH

July 2013.

A grant from the ERC (European Research Council) in the amount of EUR 1.4 million was awarded to Carla Fernandes, a researcher at the Linguistics Centre of the Universidade NOVA de Lisboa (CLUNL / FCSH) for her project "BlackBox - A collaborative platform to document performance composition: from conceptual structures in the backstage to customizable visualizations in the front-end". It’s the first time that this type of grant is awarded in Portugal in the area of Cognitive Linguistics in intersection with the Performing Arts and the Digital Media.

The "BlackBox" project was motivated by Carla Fernandes’ interest in investigating the involvement of mental processes and decision-making during the composition of artistic performances. It all started with a seemingly simple question: do artists working systematically with human bodies moving in space, in conjunction with verbal language, actually possess different mental schemes of mathematicians, for example?

Issues, such as the endless creativity of human beings and science in general, the preservation of the more intangible cultural heritage and intrinsic relationships established between people who work for a common artistic purpose, were the catalyst for this project, which the researcher hopes to provide a contribution to the advancement of the research in a domain which still little is known about.

With a team of seven postgraduate researchers, the starting point of this Art & Science project is the analysis of complex processes of "translation" of conceptual and linguistic structures underlying the work of several contemporary choreographers during their rehearsals (i.e. backstage, behind the curtains of the composition of a piece) to bodies and / or moving objects. These metaphorical translation processes, usually "invisible" to the audience, will be decoded through new forms of multimedia viewing on personal screens (i.e. on the front-end) of end-users. For this, a collaborative digital platform will be built from scratch for all artists and researchers involved which will allow public access to knowledge and materials compiled over the five years’ end of research project, by making use of the potentialities of web-design, 3D technology and real-time video annotation.

"The entire performing artists community right now has a strong interest in digital tools to support their creative processes of composition," says Carla Fernandes. At the same time, "researchers in computational and cognitive sciences are increasingly interested in developing supporting technologies to documentation and transmission of more intangible cultural heritage, as is the case of contemporary performing arts," says the researcher at CLUNL.

ERC grants are awarded by the European Research Council and have five years of validity. Their purpose is to support the most promising European scientists so that they can become leaders of new research teams in areas of recognized scientific value.

Carla Fernandes had been responsible for the TKB project, which culminated in the 1st International Conference on "Multimodal Communication: Language, Performing Arts and New Media Digital" and had the aim of reflection on the practices of performing arts documentation (with special focus on contemporary dance), intersecting with linguistics, cognitive science and new technologies.

Read more about this news at Newsletter from FCT - August 2013 Edition: