Challenging constraints, “don’t play with fire” was the motive for this provoking experience, assuming both wild and innocent sides, rebellion and protectionism

Play with Fire triggers controversial feelings by combining the “wonder and danger” of a forest on fire, effecting attitude change towards environmental protection.
Play with Fire was designed as a digital art experience that happens over three different stages: a mashup of forest fire news, followed by the participants playful interaction with fire on the forest projection through a gestural interface, and a reflective part where Play with Fire connects to its audience mobile phones granting access to a user specific web application depicting the forest they burnt, regenerating in real-time. Depending on the user’s performance, the forest will take from some months to years to revolve to its original state.



Living in Portugal, a place that has been extremely exposed to forest fires, makes us very sensitive to the destruction of forest patrimony by fire hazards, which also applies to a world scale. As researchers exploring arts practices, we can play a role as promoters of change in people's behavior regarding forests protection. Can digital art foster awareness and respect for nature?

As a step in answering this question, we seek to pose a constructive approach to the destructive dynamics of fire that aggravate climate change. This research is part of the ongoing activity of ARTiVIS, an online platform for open sharing of real-time video streams of forests. In order to test, use and progress the ARTiVIS platform, we created a series of interactive experiences that make use of the platform, as digital contexts of aesthetic contemplation of nature. Play with Fire as one of the interactive experiences, is making use of the tension created by the installation itself, to foster control over danger and functional monitoring for forest protection in a surveillance system.



Demonstration and tests, Maçal do Chão, Guarda, Apr 6-7, 2012

Exhibition » Pop Up market, Guimarães 2012 European Capital of Culture, Guimarães, Mar 23-April 1, 2012

Exhibition » Algoritmos Criativos, by Ciência Viva
and O Espaço do Tempo in colaboration with Audiência Zero, Pavilhão do Conhecimento, Lisbon, Feb 6-26, 2012
» UTAustin|PortugalNews
» Colab newsletter (p. 4)

Exhibition » Algoritmos Criativos, O Espaço do tempo, Montemor-o-Novo, Oct 22-27, 2011

Artist in Residency » Pairing with Fire with SINAIS project, Funchal, Madeira, Jan 24-30, 2012

Showcase » Mostra AZ Labs, Guimarães, Dec 17 » LCD video »


+ info

Here is the blog post on the Algoritmos Criativos exhibition last days »
and the photos slideshow of the Play with Fire presentation at Algoritmos Criativos, Pavilhão do Conhecimento – Ciência Viva, Lisboa »






MENDES, Mónica, ÂNGELO, Pedro, NISI, Valentina, CORREIA, Nuno (2012) “Digital Art, HCI and Environmental Awareness: Evaluating Play with Fire”, NordiCHI 2012, Copenhagen, October 14-17

MENDES, Mónica, ÂNGELO, Pedro, NISI, Valentina, CORREIA, Nuno (2012) “Play with Fire”, DIS – ACM conference on Designing Interactive Systems | Newcastle, June 13, 2012 Demonstration

MENDES, Mónica, ÂNGELO, Pedro, NISI, Valentina, CORREIA, Nuno (2011) “Play with Fire”, Creative Showcase and Interactive Art, ACE 2011 – 8th International on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology, November 08-11, Lisbon, Demonstration
| Madness session presentation video »

MENDES, Mónica, CORREIA, Nuno, NISI, Valentina, ÂNGELO, Pedro (2011) “Play with Fire | A Real-Time Video Experience for Sustainability”, ISEA2011 Istanbul International Festival of New Media, Electronic and Digital Arts, Sept 14-21