[-empyre-] Introducing Adam and Fabio

When SL first appeared in around 2002-3 I was writing my PhD Thesis on the
theoretical and technical construction of avatars and virtual reality
multi-user environments. Linden Labs sent me the install disk for an early
release.  I spent a bit of time exploring it than  totally dismissed Second
Life as far too limited to generate  any real creativity - it seemed to me
form my interactions and immersion within 3d art environments a superficial,
unsophisticated reproduction of first world hierarchical norms and values.
As I  was also working as a world author/creator in VRML, the  SL modeling
potential seemed very limited compared to the freedom I was used to.  I
didn't think it would take off - I was rather vocal about its limitations
and the pervasive normalcy of its  avatar choices. I guess I considered it a
little suburban.. Not really an arena fit for serious artistic investigation
and predicted that it would hang around for few years and then die an quiet

So I come from a position as a SL skeptic as well. Because its has sustained
and grown- many think through its reporting in traditional media.  Theorist
Geert Lovink posted recently on fibreculture list "The hype around SL has
been intense lately, mainly fed by old school broadcast and print media and
the wannabe cool corporations." This may be the case - but I've had to
reconsider its importance as an artistic arena and its hype is not really an
issue in terms of what sort of fascinating practices have been spawned

This brings me  to introduce to Adam Nash and Dr Fabio Zambetta , both from
RMIT in Melbourne and working in world with sound and artificial

Adam's artistic practice in Second Life is an extension of his previous work
in multi-user virtual environments. It explores the medium for its formal,
performative audiovisual qualities, fundamentally questioning representative
audiovisual practices in virtual space, especially that of the avatar. His
sound/composition and performance background strongly informs his approach
to creating works for virtual environments, embracing sound, time and the
user as elements equal in importance to vision.

To Fabio SL represents an ideal platform for freeform exploration of
technical challenges in the area of 3D embodied agents on one hand, and of
networked entities on another. He has two projects starting soon:
 1) Building a Virtual Services Infrastructure in Second Life.
The goal of the project is to build virtual services in SL that exceed what
is currently achieved by e-business applications such as virtual bookshops,
digital libraries, online shops, etc.An investigation of how 3D environments
can constitute a better and/or more efficient and immersive user interface
with respect to standard web interfaces is expected to be carried out.
2) Generalized Reinforcement Learning for 3D Learning Characters
The goal of this project is to build a solid and adaptive decision making
strategy for 3D characters embeddable in entertainment and/or simulation
applications (e.g., video game, serious games, etc.).The main area of
investigation at the moment revolves around building virtual senses that can
augment the characters¹ perception of their surrounding and hence produce
better information to be used in the decision making process.

Please welcome Adam and Fabio to -empyre-:

Adam Nash is a new media artist, composer, programmer, performer and writer.
Heworks primarily in networked real-time 3D spaces, exploring them as live
audiovisual performance spaces. His work has been presented in galleries,
festivals and online in Australia, Europe, Asia and The Americas, including
peak festivals SIGGRAPH, ISEA, and the Venice Biennale. He also works as
composer and sound artist with Company In Space (AU) and Igloo (UK),
exploring the integration of motion capture into realtime 3D audiovisual

He is currently undertaking a Master of Arts by Research at the Centre for
Animation and Interactive Media at RMIT University, Melbourne, researching
multi-user 3D cyberspace as a live performance medium.

His work as programmer, composer and lead performer in Virtual Humanoids, an
acclaimed live and online cyber performance piece seen in Australia and the
UK, led him to his current interest in virtual performance. He was composer,
programmer and performer with The Men Who Knew Too Much from 1994-2001,
including several national and international tours. He has also worked as
composer/sound artist with Not Yet Its Difficult, Theatre Of Hell, and Adam
Bronowski. He has performed drums, keyboards and vocals with many musical
groups and bands in Australia and Japan, including Japanese noise-chaos
collective Proud Flesh, Melbourne electro-dub outfit Half Yellow, Brisbane¹s
Choo Dikka Dikka (responsible for the legendary underground hit ?Cyclone
Destroys Expo¹) and Melbourne Concrete Poetry group Arf Arf, among others.
He also runs the net label concentrated-sound.net to distribute his solo
sound work under a Creative Commons license.

He is currently a Lecturer in Computer Games and Digtial Art in the School
of Ceative Media at RMIT University. He has been a writer and reviewer for
Digital Media World magazine, and editor of the Computers and Internet
department at LookSmart. He was also a Project Officer at com.IT, a
community charity he helped to establish that recycles computers and
redistributes them for free to NFPs domestically and overseas. He is fluent
in the Japanese language.


Dr Fabio Zambetta holds a Master in Computer Science majoring in Applied
Maths and a PhD in Artificial Intelligence.

He has been working in the multi-disciplinary area of embodied
conversational agents and learning 3D characters over the last four years.
He has mainly contributed to the advancement of the area of intelligent and
learning characters, working on the use of reinforcement learning techniques
and classifier systems as a mean to achieve autonomy in characters and
generate meaningful and believable behaviour.

He has also investigated a variety of problems in the 3D characters area
like human and facial animation and modelling, and human computer
interaction as witnessed by his publications.

Dr Fabio Zambetta has extensively applied his research to the entertainment
and e-commerce application domains in the last few years, and has worked as
a software consultant/instructor in the games and software industry.

Dr Fabio Zambetta served as a guest researcher at the prestigious
Fraunhofer-IPSI institute (Darmstadt, Germany) during summer 2001. The bulk
of his investigation revolved around the design of techniques for the
efficient transmission and animation of facial expressions in lightweight
web clients.

Over the past four years Dr Fabio Zambetta has co-supervised more than ten
Honours Students on topics including facial animation, learning characters,
web agents, and he is currently supervising a PhD student on the use of
emotions and learning to improve adaptation and individuality of NPCs
(Non-Player Characters) in videogames.

His current research focus revolves around interactive storytelling on one
hand (a book chapter is in preparation for the very well known AI Game
Programming Wisdom series, to be published in 2008), and on 3D character
perception and decision making on another (this research being funded by the
RMIT Emerging Researchers Grant, 2006 round).

In his spare time Fabio loves modding games such as Neverwinter Nights,
Unreal Tournament, Warcraft, and programming cool pieces of software.



Dr Melinda Rackham
Executive Director
Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT)
PO Box 8029
Station Arcade
South Australia 5000
ph: 61 8 8231 9037; fax 61 8 8231 9766

Australian Network for Art and  Technology (ANAT) is supported by the Visual
Arts and Craft Strategy, an  initiative of the Australian, State and
Territory Governments;  the Australian Government through the Australia
Council, its arts funding and advisory body, and the South Australian
Government through Arts SA.

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