Poster for the Solitária performance

Solitária is a performance-play that explores the human Loneliness in the solitary confinement imagining the behavior of a prisoner through is mind and body. Our body is the only connection to the physical world, the only sensor capable to recognize the physical space. However, our sensorial capabilities begin to misbehave and soon we became disorientated.

Debut’s on 9th November 2017 – 21h30 – Blackbox d’O Espaço do Tempo.
Other performances in 10th and 11th November at 21h30 – Blackbox d’O Espaço do Tempo.


Solitária follows the performance-play approaches which characterizes the work developed by Alma d’arame from its beginning. Each work starts inside a delimited space, inside it’s own confinement. In one hand, the space of narrative, theater, puppet, being and object and, on the other, the space of programming, kinetics, multimedia. Starting from the solitary and creative space of each one, we saw the common space of creation born. We all have and need that time with ourselves. It is in this time that we find the space of each one, which is ours alone, and where we can relive memories, hide, think, feel, register. Here we will reach own states. That is what this performative act is all about.
It is in this laboratory space that this solitary confrontation between man and machine, between real and virtual, unfolds, and it is this confrontation that will lead us to experimentation and the search for new narratives.
The kinetic movement of the body and how it occupies the empty space will build this visual and sound narrative.

Art team
Direcção artística | Amândio Anastácio;
Interpretação | Susana Nunes;
Multimédia | Luís Grifu;
Música | João Bastos;
Marioneta | Raul Constante Pereira;
Desenho de luz e Espaço cénico | Amândio Anastácio;
Desenho de luz e montagem | António Costa;
Direcção de Produção | Isabel Pinto Coelho;
Assistente de Produção | Alexandra Anastácio;
Fotografia | Inês Samina;
Vídeo | Pedro Grenha;

Production | Alma d’Arame

Apoio | Câmara Municipal de Montemor-o-Novo .
Parceria | Espaço do Tempo .
Estrutura Financiada por | Dgartes e Governo de Portugal

Common Spaces performance at Maus Hábitos

Common Spaces performance on ELO (Electronic Literature Organization) Conference in the 18th of July in Maus Hábitos – Porto.

Common Spaces rehearsal

After Gato Vadio in Porto, Salão Brasil in Coimbra, Conde Duque in Madrid, we return to Porto for a new performance.

Common Spaces was performed by members of the Retroescavadora: Rui Torres, Luís Aly, Luís Leite (Grifu), Nuno M.

Common Spaces is an experimental performance that translates spatial poetry into a multidisciplinary collaborative environment that gathers the physical and the virtual spaces. This performance mixes in realtime distinct types of media in a sort of multi-modal orchestrate. A multi-sensorial performance based on our hand gestures (Leap Motion), vision (camera) and voice (microphone).
The common-space derives from the notion of common ground as the medium and the process of communication. It can be understood as a mutual understanding among interactors – as the iterative process of conversation for exchanging evidences between communicators – as an interface.


Electronic Literature Organization brought to Porto the state of the art of the field. The Conference was hosted by University Fernando Pessoa, and the Festival and Exhibits were held in the center of the historic city.



This week I have attended to the EICS 2017 in Lisbon, were I have met many wonderful people such as Paul Dourish that published a new book called “The Stuff of Bits”, or Gilbert Cockton the Editor-in-Chief of ACM Interactions.

Demo and poster of Mani-Pull-Action at EICS

Demo and poster of Mani-Pull-Action at EICS

The 9th ACM SIGCHI Symposium on Engineering Interactive Computing Systems was full of interesting interactive surprises. A great place to get to know new trends, and innovative approaches about interactive systems.

I had the privilege to present a full paper entitled “Mani-Pull-Aciton: Hand-based Digital Puppetry” and to provide a live demonstration to all the participants. A great opportunity to get feedback about this work.

The new version of Stringless for Unity supports Zeroconf networking through Bonjour for auto discovery as well RemoteUI.


Just press play on Unity, and all the parameters that you have chosen for remote control will automatically appear in RemoteUI on another computer, on a IOS or Android Device.
You do not need to manually setup the OSC addresses anymore, just drag a Receiver on a Gameobject and define the value range that RemoteUI will automatically recognize and show you a slider for you to manipulate. These sliders can also be mapped to MIDI devices or other HUD controllers in a similar manner as the MIDI learn feature. Just press the name of the parameter on RemoteUI until it starts to blink, and move a slider on your MIDI controller or a joystick on a gamepad. The mapping will be saved for future sessions. You can also define distinct devices for the same mapping allowing device interchange.


Stringless support for RemoteUI is just a prototype and still in a developing phase.
Soon, it will be available for download.



Rui Torres, Luis Ali, Luis Grifu performing at Conde Duque in Madrid (Retroescavadora)

Rui Torres, Luis Aly, Luis Grifu performing at Conde Duque in Madrid (Retroescavadora)

Retroescavadora (Rui Torres, Luis Aly, Luis Grifu) performed with Untitled at Conde Duque in Madrid last 19th of April. The Untitled performance is an experimental multimodal multimedia live performance of the POEX arquive where moving image, sound and manipulation are inter-connected in a real-time dialog.

Retroescavadora at Conde Duque (Madrid)

Rui Torres performing at Conde Duque in Madrid (Untitled performance from Retroescavadora – Rui Torres, Luis Aly, Luis Grifu)

Retroescavadora was invited to be a part of a Poetry recital seeking new languages behind the technologies “La palabra en las periferias de la tecnología”. This session gathered Kònic Thtr (España), Retroescavadora (Portugal), Jörg Piringer (Austria) y Bell Dome (Brasil/Alemania).


More information at

Conde Duque Madrid


Untitled Performance

Untitled Performance


During the last three days I had the privilege to attend to the marionette workshop by Tommy Luther at ACE Teatro Bolhão.

marionette workshop

This was an  intensive workshop of three days (27 and 28 of February, and 1 March)  to understand how to endow life to a marionette applying the manipulation principles of the Handspring Puppet Company, which are known by its international success on the play War Horse.

Tommy Luther was the director of the horse puppet which is manipulated by three puppeteers like in the Bunraku. He also worked manipulating objects for CG animation such as in the film Gravity (2009).

We have learn that breathing is an important aspect to: endow emotion to the puppet; to underline dynamic changes; to help to communicate the physical and psychologic state of the puppet; to unite all the puppeteers to became uno.

Wel also learn that it is very important to keep the space between puppeteers, as well the famous sentence that “less is more”.

Finally, the looking direction contributes not only to guide the audience direction to the audience, but also to give intelligence to the puppet. Before the action takes place, the puppet thinks and he looks to subject.

Virtual Marionette puppet tools were used to develop several interactive installations for the animation exhibition Animar 12 at the cinematic gallery Solar in Vila do Conde. The exhibition was debuted in the 18th of February of 2017.


Animar 12 - Interactive Installations

Faz bem Falar de Amor

An interactive installation that challenges the participants to interpret with virtual characters some of the scenes from the animation music clip developed by Jorge Ribeiro for the music “Faz bem falar de amor” from Quinta do Bill.

Puppit tool was adapted to drive two cartoon characters (a very strong lady and a skinny young man) using the body motion of the visitors with with one Microsoft Kinect. The virtual character skeletons differ from the human body proportions. Thus, there are distinct behaviors on each puppet that do not mirror exactly the participant movement. Although our intention was to present this challenge to the participant for him to adapt his body to the target puppet we help him a little bit. To solve this discrepancy, I used two skeletons. A human like skeleton is mapped directly to the performer”s body. Then, the virtual character skeleton is mapped to the human clone skeleton with an offset and scale function. In this way, it was possible to scale up and down the movement on specific joints from the clone skeleton and make the virtual character behave more natural and cartoonish. This application was developed using Unity, OpenNI and Blender.

É Preciso que eu Diminua

This animation music clip was developed by Pedro Serrazina for Samuel Úria. It describes the story of a character that suffers from a scale problem transcending the size of the buildings. The character tries to shrink placing the arms and legs near to is body. On the other hand there is the need to free from the strict boundaries and expand all the things around him. To provide the feeling of body expansion pushing the boundaries away from his body the visitor drives a silhouette as a shadow with a contour line around him that grows when the participant expands his body and shrinks when he reduce his size. The silhouette captured by a Microsoft Kinect is projected on a set of cubes that deform the body shape. This application was developed with Openframeworks with ofxKinect and ofxOpenCV.


For this short animation film produced by Jorge Miguel Ribeiro that addresses the portuguese colonial war there was the intention to trigger segments of the film when the visitor place his body above a mine. Two segments of the film show two distinct perspectives from the war, one from a father that experienced the war and the other from his child that understood the war through the indirect report of his father. A webcam was used to capture the position of the visitor”s body and whenever his body enters the mine space it sends an OSC message with a trigger to a video player application. Both video trigger and video player applications were developed with Openframeworks.




Untitled Anarchive is an experimental multimodal multimedia live performance of the POEX arquive. The Digital Arquive of Portuguese Experimental Literature was performed live at Salão Brazil on the 4th of February by members of Retroescavadora (Rui Torres, Luís Aly, and Luís Grifu) and their invited guests (Bruno Ministro and Sandra Guerreiro).

frames from Untitled archive at Salão Brazil Coimbra

This collaborative intervention explores new approaches to experimental literature mixing media and manipulation techniques, in a interactive environment that offers a common space for a dialog between the inter-actors.

A demo and poster of Mani-pull-action was shown at the Austin|Portugal Annual Conference at UNL Lisboa on May 23rd and 24th, 2016.

Manipullaction at Austin Conference 1

For this exhibition Mani-pull-action was shown inside a paper theatre or Kamishibai as a physical connection or metaphor for the art of puppetry. The participants were invited to manipulate different puppets with their hands and experiment digital puppetry.

Manipullaction at Austin Conference

Each puppet required a different level of dexterity simulating direct and indirect manipulation with physics and inverse kinematics approaches. The participants could also play with virtual cameras and lights using a touch device with a set of controls.


This was another contribution for disseminating digital puppetry among the community and try to attract more enthusiasts to this form of art.



LEAP IT – STRING is a simple application that allows you to share the hand motion data captured by Leap Motion through network via OSC protocol with the fowling features:

– Record the performance
– Replay a recorded performance
– Select joints for broadcast
– Convert a recorded binary performance into a text file
– Hide/Show the GUI
– Convert the scale of the hand motion data
– Switch Palm Orientation between Pitch, Yaw, Roll or Yaw, Pitch, Roll

This application is a “string” from the Virtual Marionette Interaction Model developed by Luís Grifu for a research on digital puppetry. This application is free to use.

LeapIT String is now available for Mac and Windows