(May 2003)

Luigi Pagliarini1,2,3

1Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute for Production Technology
University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M., Denmark

2 Academy of Fine Arts,
via di Ripetta 222, 00186 Rome, Italy

3 Laboratory of Cognitive Technology
Department of Psychology, Second University of Naples, Italy


The electronic art piece CyberInfinity (May 2003) is one of a series of studies finalized to the realization of LifeGrabber. It well resemble the author's continuous research for new, computer and A.I. based, languages. Technically speaking, CyberInfinity is an Artificial Life software that take the shpe of a real time music visualisator. This program analyses, run-time, input coming from wave sound files and, somehow, translate it into geometrical images that can be either drawn on a computer screen or projected. It operates in the following way. The software starts by detecting the number and the names of ".WAV" format files located in its own directory. After that, the program begins loading such musical files, one after the other, and besides playing them it turns their sound into graphics. As for any sound visualizator, the images produced by CyberInfinity depend upon the sound waves through the time. Nevertheless, differently from any ordinary visualizator, calculations are not based on a specific function but, on the countrary, sound analysis is processed by a population of agents.

Figure 1
CyberInfinity - "Box" - Screenshot
(Copyright: Pagliarini 2003)

The population of agents at the basis of the software, that is conceived in an Alife fashion technique [1,2,3], analysis a portion of the sound wave at the time by passing a sub-portion of it to each agent. A single agent consists of a rectangle that has a specific colour, dimensions and drawing method. Moreover, each agent has a particular motion. All of these characteristics are influenced, run time, by information coming from the audio board. It happens that, for each cycle of the algorithm, once an agent has received input from the sound wave flowing, modifies itself according to it and, after that, it is drawn on the screen. Agents might be drawn in two different ways, either by drawing upon the pre-existing portion of screen - see Figure 1 - or overwriting (i.e.: erasing the past graphical information) - see Figure 2. In this way, for each screenshot, the resulting picture is at the same time a track of present, past, and future (indeed, the audio information, such as music waves frequency and amplitude, can also be computed in advance).

Figure 2
CyberInfinity - "Cage" - Screenshot
(Copyright: Pagliarini 2003)

The combination of our two variables, frequency and amplitude of sound wave, through the time, dimensioned in past, present and future, affects the following graphical criteria:   a) Agents drawing method;   b) Agents width and height;   c) Agents motion direction.
Moreover, while moving, if agents two (or more) collide they open a discussion about colors, dimensions and etc. [4] that will make them to influence, each others. This "social" mechanism ensure that the resulting final image painted on the screen does never reach a saturation and is always balanced in colors and shape.
Finally, the whole "world" picture moves within the screen. This is done by calculating the whole population motion weighted by agents'size and filling. The resulting scenario is very dynamic and furnishes an unique picture at any given moment for any piece of music, in the author's typical AliveArt [5] fashion.

  [1] Langton, C.G. Artificial Life. In L. Nadel e D. Stein (ed.) Lectures in Complex System, SFI Studies in the Sciences of Complexity, Lect. Vol. IV, Reading MA, 1992.
  [2] Sims, K. Artificial Evolution for Computer Graphics. Computer Graphics 25, 4, 319-328. 1991
  [3] Lund, H. H., Pagliarini, L., and Miglino, O. Artistic Design with Genetic Algorithms and Neural Networks. In J. T. Alander (Ed.) Proceedings of 1NWGA, Vaasa University, Vaasa. (1995-a).
  [4] Spina, A., Pagliarini,L., Globalization: tra arte scienza e società. In Rivista di Psicologia dell'Arte Anno XII, n.12, 87-92. Roma, Dec. 2001
  [5] Pagliarini L., Locardi C., Vucic, V. Toward Alive Art. In Proceedings of Virtual Worlds 2000. Second International Conference, J.C. Heudin (Ed.) Springer-Verlag Press (2000).

Two videos

Luigi Pagliarini is:
 - Professor of Machine Psychology at the Academy of Fine Art of Rome.
 - Professor of Techniques of Multimedia Programming at the Second University of Naples, Psychology Faculty.
 - Lecturer of Robots and Dynamic Systems Interfaces at the Maersk Institute, University of Southern Denmark.
 - Board Commitee of Rivista di Psicologia dell'Arte.
 - Executive Member of the Co-Operative Project Inserm (France) - CNR (Italy) for Biomedical Research.
 - Executive Member of the RoboCup Junior International Committee.
 - Member of the International Artistic Commission Vivaria.
 - Member and Collaborator of G.R.A.L. (Research Group on Artificial Life, C.N.R. - Italia).
 - Member of EvoNet (European Network on Evolutionary Computation).