An Annual Journal for Culture and Technology by the Foundation of the Hellenic World
Issue 4 / 2004
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2nd International Workshop on ICTs, Arts and Cultural Heritage: Digital Art Technologies, Applications and Policy

The Foundation of the Hellenic World organized the 2nd International Workshop on ICTs, Arts and Cultural Heritage: Digital Art Technologies, Applications and Policy on October 31st and November 1st 2003. The event was held at the premises of the cultural centre Hellenic Cosmos. The workshop focused on the domain of digital artistic creativity, its supporting technology and the policies related to its promotion, distribution and quality control. It brought together artists, scholars, researchers and technology providers for into an interdisciplinary discussion regarding the applied technologies in art, new forms of digital art and expression, as well as issues related to the distribution and handling of content.

The papers included in the current issue of IMEROS are the contributions of the participants to this event. The workshop was structured in three thematic areas: New and Emerging Technologies, Applied Technologies and Economic and Policy Issues. Moreover, the last session was dedicated to a series of live demonstrations of digital artworks and cultural content applications conducted by artists, researchers and engineers. The adopted structure comprised a wide range of issues that were addressed during the conference, contributing to the adoption of a holistic, a multidisciplinary approach towards the use of new technologies in arts and cultural heritage.

The workshop was organised within the framework of the European Thematic Network artnouveau - on the transition to the digital era of arts and culture, which is funded by the European Commission (under the 5th Framework Programme Information Society Technology). The Network aims at defining new user-centered approaches to experience arts and culture in a lively, individual and user-friendly way. In a more general perspective, the network seeks to establish a platform for information exchange and discussion about opportunities of advanced information technologies for the artistic and cultural application domain. The consortium of the artnouveau network consists of the following members: Computer Graphics Center (ZGDV/Germany), Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics (IGD/Germany), Foundation of the Hellenic World (FHW/Greece), VICOMTech (VIC/Spain), University of Minho (UM/Portugal), University of Deusto (UD/Portugal), San Sebastian City Museum (MST/Spain), Centro de Computacao Grafica (CCG/Portugal), Museu de Alberto Sampaio (MAS/Portugal).

The network has already organized two other similar events. The 1st International Workshop for ICTs, Arts and Cultural Heritage with Special Emphasis on Applications, Local Development and Informal Learning took place in Donostia-San Sebastian on 5th May 2003. The workshop was addressed to policy makers, scholars, researchers, artists, computer professionals and others who are working within the broadly defined areas of Digital Arts and Culture. A national workshop entitled "Digital Culture and Artistic Creation: The Greek Experience" was held at the premises of the cultural centre Hellenic Cosmos on March 3rd 2003. The workshop aimed at depicting the current state of cultural and artistic applications in Greece relevant to the ones adopted abroad, focusing on the innovative artistic creation and the use of digital technology.

Antonia Zervaki
Foundation of the Hellenic World

Titles of addresses

Konstantinos Moustakas, Dimitrios Tzovaras and Michael G. Strintzis «Stereoscopic Video Authoring Tool based on Efficient Object-based Structure and Motion Estimation from a Monoscopic Image Sequence».
Sedlak Pavel and Smetana Pavel «Shared Creation in Virtual Space».
Vassilios Vlahakis, Thomas Pliakas, Athanassios Demiris and Nikolaos Ioannidis «Multi-Modal User Interaction and Real-Time Rendering Techniques for a Mobile Cultural Heritage Augmented Reality Tour Guide».
D. Christopoulos, A. Gaitatzes and G. Papaioannou «Image-Based Techniques for Enhancing Virtual Reality Environments».
Leonel Valbom, Aderito Marcos êáé Computer Graphics Centre «WAVE - An Audio Virtual Environment».
Michael Schnaider, Cornelius Malerczyk «Applying Mixed Reality Technology to Cultural Applications».
Emanuela Saladini «The House of Lost Memory: A Project».
Morgan Showalter «Digital Mind».
Gabriele Blome, Monika Fleischmann, Wolfgang Strauss and Jochen Denzinger «Communicating Digital Culture Ð Knowledge-Spaces Online and Onsite».
Olga Venetsianou «Translation of music in space».
Athanasios Sideris «Ancient Art in Digital Environment».
Tony Lavender and Antonia Zervaki «Preserving digital art: problems, perspectives and policy challenges».


Konstantinos Moustakas, Dimitrios Tzovaras and Michael G. Strintzis Stereoscopic Video Authoring Tool based on Efficient Object-based Structure and Motion Estimation from a Monoscopic Image Sequence

This paper presents a novel object-based method for the generation of a stereoscopic image sequence from a monoscopic video, using bi-directional 2D motion estimation and rigid motion and structure recovery. The latter is based on extended Kalman filters and an efficient method for reliably tracking object masks. An authoring tool is also presented, which provides a number of user intervention utilities to assist the efficient computer vision methods proposed. Experimental results show that the layered object representation for the scene combined with the proposed algorithm, for reliably tracking object masks throughout the sequence, yields very accurate results.

Sedlak Pavel, Smetana Pavel Shared Creation in Virtual Space

This paper introduces one example of a technological application in the domain of digital art. Instead of representing a single artwork this application is an instance of a creative authoring system designed for real-time experimentation in the field of virtual and mixed reality with links to both visual and performing arts. The new platform for shared creation in virtual space is known as eGaLab, which is an acronym of electronic gallery and laboratory. This platform was created due to an effective exchange of expertise between artistic, scientific and engineering colleagues and its realisation was co-organised by three cultural institution partners: CIANT (International Centre for Art and New Technologies in Prague), CYPRES (Centre Interculturel de Pratiques, Recherches et Echanges Transdisciplinaires) and MIDE (Museo Internacional de Electrografia).

Vassilios Vlahakis , Thomas Pliakas, Athanassios Demiris and Nikolaos Ioannidis, Multi-Modal User Interaction and Real-Time Rendering Techniques for a Mobile Cultural Heritage Augmented Reality Tour Guide

This paper presents the LIFEPLUS project. LIFEPLUS is an EU IST research project constructing a mobile augmented reality guide for museums and archaeological sites. Its acronym stands for "Innovative revival of life in ancient frescos and creation of immersive narrative spaces, featuring real scenes with behavioured virtual fauna and flora". The system, still in prototyping stage, provides guidance, reconstructions of ruined buildings in Pompeii and revival of ancient life. Its purpose is to give its users a better understanding of the original use of the site, link it to the excavated artefacts on display in Naples museum, and explain main social aspects, and technological know-how of ancient times. The final mobile Augmented Reality guide is expected to be deployed in major sites and museums in Europe.

Dimitrios Christopoulos, Athanassios Gaitatzes and , Image-Based Techniques for Enhancing Virtual Reality Environments

This paper describes the methodological aspects of the application of various established image-based graphics techniques in virtual reality applications, in order to visually enrich and extend the common capabilities of virtual environment visualization platforms. The paper describes these techniques and goes to the extent of explaining various practical implementation issues. Examples and application case studies are provided to demonstrate the enhancements.

Leonel Valbom, Aderito Marcos and Computer Graphics Centre, WAVE - An Audio Virtual Environment

This paper outlines the basis and gives a description of the project WAVE that is starting in the Department of Information Systems of the University of Minho in co-operation with a research group in the Computer Graphics Centre Ð ZGDV, Guimar_es. The project aims to set up an immersive environment of virtual reality, where the music, sound and audio (3D or not) plays an important role in a virtual musical/sound instrument for performances, education, entertainment or experimentation.
This virtual environment uses a hardware system containing two batons with wireless sensors to convert movements into MIDI messages for interaction and a computer to process graphics, MIDI and sound. The application uses three different performance workspaces one of which includes a synthesiser, another a mixer with recording/sequencing features and the third one a 3D spatial sound display. The workspaces can be used one at a time but they are always running processes in the background all of the time. In each different workspace there is a control zone at the left hand side that can change the workspace parameters. The baton in the left hand of the user changes the levels of the parameters of the workspace and sometimes it assists the musical/sound performance made by the baton in the right hand in the workspace.
This virtual instrument seeks to allow simple gestures to generate musical phrases and to control the behaviour of sounds with a great degree of freedom, thus giving the user the power to manage the expressive channels and the built-in artificial intelligence techniques. This paper will address, therefore, the main concepts and architecture supporting the WAVE platform/system.

Michael Schnaider, Cornelius Malerczyk, Applying Mixed Reality Technology to Cultural Applications

Cultural organisations such as museums and galleries face the situation that they have to compete for the favour of visitors or the public in general with numerous suppliers of different educational or entertaining offers. As a consequence, they are looking for new ways of presentation to increase demand for cultural related edutainment. This paper aims to promote the idea of applying mixed reality technology to cultural applications. Hence, it describes two scenarios of new ways for presentation that adopt existing technologies to cultural application demonstrations. Consequently, it does not provide detailed algorithmic or scientific background, as this is out of the scope of this paper.
The first example describes a Mixed Reality-supported interactive museum exhibit. It features an easy and intuitive interaction via pointing gesture and allows the museum visitor to explore artworks in a highly interactive way. The second example applies Augmented Reality (AR) technology to the cultural domain. In this scenario an application concept for a virtual art exhibition in the real museum or gallery environment is proposed. Gallery or museum visitors will be enabled to enter a number of virtual art exhibitions, which consist of digitized pieces of art, and paintings that complement the real exhibitions.

Emanuela Saladini, The House of Lost Memory: A Project

This paper presents a project in the tradition of artists such as Kurt Schwitters and Piotr Kowalsky. It proposes the creation of a website to search for and publish fragments of our collective memory of sounds, texts, images and videos taken from an Internet databank, and used to create an anti-monument to forgetfulness and oblivion, capable of transforming individual fragments of memory into poetic symbols.

Morgan Showalter, Digital Mind

Observations on the proliferation and influence of digital tools in contemporary art making practice.

Gabriele Blome, Monika Fleischmann, Wolfgang Strauss, êáé Jochen Denzinger, Communicating Digital Culture - Knowledge-Spaces Online and Onsite

The concept of the knowledge space as a strategy to communicate digital culture online and onsite is the central theme of this paper, which presents an important part of work of the MARS research group at the Fraunhofer Institute for Media Communication. Using the example of the Internet platform, a host of infrastructural and conceptual measures is presented that offer a vehicle for activities in communicating digital culture.
The knowledge discovery tools, with their opportunities for visualising information, the explorative investigation of large volumes of data and the creation of personal knowledge maps, represent a key navigation tool and method for sifting through and visualising the data space. MARS considers one of the main challenges to integrate digital knowledge spaces into public spaces. Therefore intuitive interface technologies and mixed reality scenarios are being developed which provide intuitive access to digital knowledge spaces and which link the communication of knowledge with spatial orientation and social communication processes.

Olga Venetsianou Translation of music in space

This essay is a description of a project carried out in July 2001. The aim of this particular project was to generate a three-dimensional computer model from a piece of electronic music. At first a diagram that described the music was made, with the aid of a particular notation system. In this system a particular shape represents each sound, for instance a red line is the rhythm. The diagram was then used as a basis for a 3d structure as each symbol can generate a 3D form. Finally, the image of the structure was connected with the music it came from in a short video, so that the viewer could see the model and hear the music at the same time. Through this project one can contemplate further on the spatial dimension of music and on the wider issue of the relationship between music and architecture.

Athanasios Sideris, Ancient Art in Digital Environment

This paper examines the digital applications related to ancient art. There is an overview of physical forms and their digital counterparts and a brief account of the ownership of ancient art collections. The definition of target groups is discussed in relation to the functions of digital applications, which are presented in detailed classification. The issue of copyright is examined in connection with the creativity concerns, as well as with the scientific accuracy and liability. The digital policies of ancient art owners are discussed from an administrative and a socioeconomic point of view, in association with the main motives for digitization. The conclusions map the actual general trends and the most imminent challenges.

Tony Lavender, Antonia Zervaki, Preserving digital art: problems, perspectives and policy challenges

Part I of this paper is concerned initially with problems about the preservation of digital art works. After a short historical review of the developments in this field, the difficulties associated with the process of capturing essentially ephemeral works are discussed along with some of the recent and current work being done by a number of American organisations. The necessity to act quickly with respect to preserving existing works is emphasised and the first part concludes by elaborating four ways in which digital art works are being conserved for the future; namely documentation, migration, emulation and re-interpretation. Part II focuses on the contemporary policy landscape concerning the preservation of digital art. Technology development and the need to preserve an important part of our cultural heritage raise the issue of the creation of a coherent framework in this field. National, European and international policy tools are presented in order to depict the current situation and the dynamics of this action area.

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