I have always been close to forests. In my father's village, there used to be many forest fires. One particularly touched me: it was huge and powerful, fascinating, almost sublime!
Only it was in our own forest... pine trees, chestnut trees, olive trees, holm oaks that will not recover in our lifetime – how devastating, what a pain!
Nowadays, my father has a reforestation project: a whole mountain and valley growing tree species like cedar, sycamore, cherry, pine, chestnut, and oak trees. Almost twenty years have passed, still another twenty will be needed to be able to experience a similar sight.
ARTiVIS – Arts, Real-Time Video and Interactivity for Sustainability – proposes to investigate innovative concepts and design methods regarding the use of real-time video as raw material for artistic exploration on environmental causes.
In this exploratory project and practice-based research, we can also play a role as promoters of change in people's behavior regarding forest protection.
Can Digital Art foster awareness and respect for nature?
As a step in answering this question, we seek to contribute with a constructive approach to the destructive dynamics of fire that aggravate Climate Change, by addressing artistic, scientific and technological dimensions of the challenging issues explored in this research.
In order to test and progress the ARTiVIS research project, interactive installations using real-time video as raw material were created. B-Wind!, Hug@ree and Play with Fire were the three ARTiVIS experiences developed, publicly presented and evaluated in the scope of this research.
» B-Wind! focuses on the poetry of the movement to bring awareness on how local action can have consequences in remote places;
» Hug@ree enhances affection through the physical contact with nature and on how individual action can collectively become so relevant;
» Play with Fire explores the paradox between the aesthetic wonder and the consequences of forest fires.
The ARTiVIS system accomplished in the scope of this research also comprises the concept design of an online platform and the hardware prototype of an open source forest surveillance kit that will connect to the platform.
The aim is to stimulate awareness and prevention of fire related damages to the forest.
Interviews were conducted in order to validate the theme and to inspire the developments of the ARTiVIS project that were done. The interactive installations evaluation process gradually developed from usability aspects to more subjective issues like environmental awareness later on. From this process, we infer that these experiences contribute to a feeling of belonging, providing contact with nature and leading to social change through awareness on environmental issues – ultimately, for the design of a more sustainable environment.
Spreading the ARTiVIS project through social entrepreneurship is also on the horizon.