Skip to content

Dr Fabrizio Poltronieri

Job: Lecturer

Faculty: Computing, Engineering and Media

School/department: Leicester Media School

Research group(s): Institute of Creative Technologies

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 2577444




Personal profile

Fabrizio Augusto Poltronieri (1976) is a computer artist, researcher and curator with international experience and a special interest in the relationships between Art, Digital Media, Gamification, Design and Technology, whose expertise lies in the development of creative coding and its exchanges with philosophical questions. Dr Poltronieri is a member of IOCT (Institute of Creative Technologies), where he teaches creative code in the Digital Arts MA and Deputy Programme Leader for the ISMA/MSC. He holds a PhD in Semiotics from the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC/SP), Brazil, with a thesis about the role of chance in computational art. In 2011-2012, he was awarded a fellowship to develop a Postdoctoral research project on the early days of computer art at the Royal College of Art in London. One of the outcomes of this research was a major exhibition with four pioneer computer artists. This exhibition – entitled “Primary Codes” –, which Dr. Poltronieri co-curated and organized, featured artworks and talks by Ernest Edmonds, Frieder Nake, Harold Cohen and Paul Brown and took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2015. His second Postdoctoral research was at Leuphana Universität’s Gamification Lab, in Lüneburg, Germany, which reflected on how the video games’ universe, the notions of gamification and post-history affect language production mediated by digital apparatuses. This research resulted in the chapter “Communicology, apparatus, and post-history: Vilém Flusser’s concepts applied to video games and gamification”, published in the book “Rethinking gamification” (2014). Dr. Poltronieri is an expert on the work of Vilém Flusser, having written many articles about Flusser’s philosophical concepts. He masters the main programming languages and libraries used in digital media, interactive design and physical computing, such as C++, Ruby, Python, Switch, Java, Processing and openFrameworks.

Research group affiliations

Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT)

Publications and outputs

  • Agency & Autonomy: Intersections of Artificial Intelligence and Creative Practice
    Agency & Autonomy: Intersections of Artificial Intelligence and Creative Practice Poltronieri, Fabrizio Augusto; DiBlasi, Johnny; Castellanos, Carlos; Kang, Eunsu; Smith, Leigh Arguably, the most important aspects underpinning artistic experimentations in the broad fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and artificial life (A-life) lie at the intersection of autonomy and agency. Autonomy is the foundational element of any living system. Defined as the property of being self-determining with no outside control over actions and internal states, autonomy refers to a system’s ability to assert its existence and to simply be. Through their interactions with their environment, autonomous systems achieve what noted biologist, neuroscientist and philosopher Francisco Varela called the “shap[ing of] a world into significance”. This notion of autonomy as being assertive, ties right into the notion of agency. Defined as the ability to take action in the world and influence others, agency is how autonomy is exercised, articulated and maintained, via capacities such as adaptability, viability and sentience. With this in mind, this panel will bring together practising artists and researchers who will discuss their work through the lens of agency and autonomy. How are AI-based tools and methods such as machine learning/deep learning, evolutionary computing and agent-based approaches currently being utilized by artists? The panel participants will discuss their work and individual approaches to these topics, followed by discussion.
  • Postcards (2017) Creative AI mixed-media compositional system for live performance with a human musician
    Postcards (2017) Creative AI mixed-media compositional system for live performance with a human musician Vear, Craig; Poltronieri, Fabrizio Augusto The aim of this research project was to develop a Creative AI compositional system for live performance with a human musician. The resulting composition Postcards centred around a central computer system controlling and generating multiple streams of media into a cohesive experience. The software environment at the centre of this score is embedded with autonomous or generative behaviour that actively composes the work in real-time and evokes the presence of the composer(s) in the flow of musicking. Additionally, the Creative AI was driving a central dramaturgy (flow of narrative) with the system articulating/ exploring/ exposing or revealing this through time.
  • Human-Centred and Creative AI in Performative Robots
    Human-Centred and Creative AI in Performative Robots Vear, Craig; Poltronieri, Fabrizio Augusto This chapter discusses two performative robot projects that share a core ethos about the nature of human- centred and creative AI: Embodied Robots for Music (2018 – present) by Craig Vear and Amigóide (2010 – present) by Fabrizio Augusto Poltronieri. Human-centred AI (HC-AI) focuses on the design, development and deployment of intelligent systems that co-operate with humans in real-time in a ‘deep and meaningful way’ (MIT 2019). HC-AI is ‘defined by two goals: (1) the AI system must continually improve by learning from humans while (2) creating an effective and fulfilling human-robot interaction experience’ (Ibid.). The two projects discussed in this chapter both apply these core goals as a central philosophy from which the concepts of Creative AI and Experiential Learning in the context of performative robots are developed. At the centre of this discussion is the articulation of a shift in thinking of what constitutes Creative AI and new HC-AI forms of machine learning from inside the flow of the shared experience between robot and human. The first case study is Embodied Robots for Music which investigates the technical solutions and artistic potential of AI driven robots co-creating with an improvising human musician in real-time. The second Amigóide performs a range of functions according to a predetermined set of coded instructions in search of humans to engage into friendships. These projects are ongoing and are part of the Creative AI ResearchGroup in the Institute of Creative Technologies at De Montfort University .
  • Technical Images and Visual Art in the Era of Artificial Intelligence: From GOFAI to GANs
    Technical Images and Visual Art in the Era of Artificial Intelligence: From GOFAI to GANs Poltronieri, Fabrizio Augusto; Hanska Ahy, Maximillian Artificial Intelligence (AI) and art share a common past, where artists employed AI algorithms to generate art. This paper explores the early days of AI-generated images, using Harold Cohen’s AARON software as a paradigm of symbolic AI creative systems, and contextualizes the use of modern neural network technologies to create visual artworks. It discusses the methodologies and strategies used to make art using AI in the 1960s, comparing them to new AI algorithms. The discussion focuses on GOFAI (Good Old Fashioned Artificial Intelligence) and GANs (Generative Adversarial Networks) as the main technologies used in distinct historical periods to generate images. Vilém Flusser’s conception of technical images provides a conceptual framework for examining the qualities and attributes of AI-generated images.
  • Explorations in Art and Technology
    Explorations in Art and Technology Poltronieri, Fabrizio Augusto; Edmonds, Ernest; Candy, Linda This edition revises the original core chapters and adds 15 new contributions from artists who shed new light on the progress made in the early decades of the 21st Century. Explorations in Art and Technology is about the creative process in action, seen through the eyes of practitioners and researchers. It brings together artists, technologists and researchers who have written about emerging correspondences between virtual and physical worlds, between human and machine processes, between abstract concepts and their physical realizations, between music and visualization and between film and painting. It is a story of new visions and new forms. First published in 2002, this new edition updates much of the original material and adds new contributions from fifteen artists who shed new light on the progress that has been made in the early decades of the 21st Century. The book describes how artists have conceived and made new digital works from a historical perspective and how inter-disciplinary research has had a profound effect on the take up of digital technology in the wider community. It shows that a practice-based action research approach to case studies of artist residencies enabled art and technology practitioners to take a significant role in the research and explores the nature of collaboration in this context. What emerges is a compelling story of new visions and new forms in a field that is transforming traditional norms in both art and technology.
  • Visual Theogonies: Chance, control, and automation in algorithmic art
    Visual Theogonies: Chance, control, and automation in algorithmic art Poltronieri, Fabrizio Augusto This short article explores relations between chance and control in the field of algorithmic art, using as a case study the series of artworks Visual Theogonies (2014), which arose out of a playful game with the poem ‘Theogony: The Origin of the Gods’, by the Greek poet Hesiod. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • The Scientific Enterprise Illustrated: Abduction, Discovery and Creativity
    The Scientific Enterprise Illustrated: Abduction, Discovery and Creativity Poltronieri, Fabrizio Augusto The idea of the genius, the mad scientist, the enlightened person – oftentimes displaced from society – who has the most interesting and creative ideas from bolts of lightning of genius is consolidated in popular culture, whether in films, comics or in science fiction books. In many cases found in popular culture, emphasis is given to the idea of the hero with razor-sharp intelligence, always accompanied by a high level of creativity that defies any kind of logical pattern or law, accentuating a feature of popular beliefs: That creativity is a wild, lawless territory that few professions or people, including artists in general and scientists, can fathom out. This is the point this text addresses: Is creativity something that really evades logic? Is there something that characterizes, in logical terms, what we call creative genius? To shed some light on these questions, we resort to some ideas from the broad theoretical framework of the American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914), focusing on a specific type of logical reasoning, called abductive, as the concept of creativity for Pierce is associated with it.
  • Chance, Poetry and Computational Art: The Visual Theogonies
    Chance, Poetry and Computational Art: The Visual Theogonies Poltronieri, Fabrizio Augusto This text discusses images that are part of my series “Visual Theogonies” (2014), which arose out of a playful game with the poem “Theogony: The origin of the gods”, by the Greek poet Hesiod. Chance is a concept that divides opinions in the field of computational art and has been a recurrent subject in the field of computer sciences as well. My stand in this text is not to refute either side , but rather to state that chance is a key component of my practice as an artist. To demonstrate the action of chance applied in the production of programs related to computational art in a context of dialogue with poetry, I present two visual theogonies generated by software that I developed in Ruby language. This software produces images that do not have ex-ternal indexes, in other words, these images are fruit of the pure manipulation by chance of a given set of data inside the computer’s memory.
  • Precariedade como a base conceitual para o entendimento da arte como jogo ininterrupto
    Precariedade como a base conceitual para o entendimento da arte como jogo ininterrupto Poltronieri, Fabrizio Augusto The condition of being precarious is something that has accompanied mankind since its civilizational consciousness was ferociously seized, although we know that said condition may have been the most fought against throughout human history, mainly during Modernity, when we experienced an era that sought to eliminate ambiguities typically found in precarious structures via the abstract discourse of reason. This essay does not deal specifically with the heritage left by Modernity but rather with the rise of thought structures that find in precariousness their own conceptual mobility. Throughout the essay, these ideas unfold in a way that connects them to the being of art as an aesthetic play.
  • Postcards
    Postcards Poltronieri, Fabrizio Augusto; Vear, Craig; La Berge, A. Postcards explores augmented conversations across time, place, technology and people. The source material is a collection of long-distant conversations between several people immutably bound together. The central texts are between George Sands and Gustave Flaubert taken from their prolific correspondences from 1866 – 1876; these are augmented by other, more personal, texts between Anne and her husband David, and between Anne and the composer. The images and texts of these ‘Postcards’ are held in a computer environment that works in real-time with the performer to co-create a conversation between the here and now of the live performance, the live processing of the sound, and the embedded stories that are held in the media materials. The overall result is anchored in the present, linking time, place and people in an augmented, magnified, expanded, illuminating story of the now

Click here to view a full listing of John Richards' publications and outputs.

Key research outputs

Poltronieri, F. A. (2015) Zufall. In: Flusser, V. et al. eds. Flusseriana: An Intellectual Toolbox. Univocal. 

Poltronieri, F. (2014) Communicology, Apparatus, and Post-history: Vilém Flusser’s Concepts Applied to Video games and Gamification. In: Fuchs, M. et al. Rethinking Gamification, meson press. Luneburg. 

Poltronieri, F.A., and Menezes, C. (eds.) (2014) Permanence of the Transient: Precariousness in Art, Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 

Poltronieri, F.A. and Heilmair, A. (2013) Der Zufall und die Symmetriebrechung der systhestischen Bilder. In: M. Hanke and S. Winkler, ed., Vom Begriff zum Bild. Medienkultur nach Vilém Flusser, 1st ed. Berlin: Tectum, pp.209-221.  



2015 Curator of the exhibition “Primary Codes”, featuring more than 60 works by Frieder Nake, Harold Cohen, Paul Brown and Ernest Edmonds, Oi Futuro Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  

Solo Exhibitions:

2014 ‘Iconic Theogonies – The presentation of Computational Gods’, Oi Futuro Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  

Group Exhibitions: 

2013 ‘Conversando a gente se entende’, installation in ‘Canvas # 12’, São Paulo, Brazil.  

2012 ‘sala_de_meditação_computacional’, installation in ‘FAT 4.0 Festival de Arte e Tecnologia’, Campo Grande, Brazil.  

2011 ‘Rumos Arte Cibernética’, Itaú Cultural, São Paulo 

2010 ‘A Night in São Paulo’, sound landscape in ‘SoundLAB7’, Cologne, Germany and ‘Electronic Language International Festival’ FILE, São Paulo, Brazil.  

2010 ‘Conversando a gente se entende’, installation, in ‘Ser Urbano’ - Public Space Intervention, São Paulo, Brazil.  

2010 ‘Homenagem a Paulo Henrique com Pai Profeta e Pai João’, installation exhibited at ‘4º ABCiber’, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro Gallery, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  

2009 ‘Exercício III: Do processo aleatório da lei’, performance presented during the 2nd International Performance Festival, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.  

2009 ‘street fighter iv vendado’ performance presented in the 7th Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre, Brazil. 

Research interests/expertise

Creative Technologies, Computer Aesthetics, Computational Art, Algorithmic Art, Generative Art, Art and Technology, New Media Art, Virtual Reality, Vilém Flusser

Areas of teaching

MA Digital Arts

PhD Supervision

Honours and awards

Rumos Arte Cibernética Award, 2010 Itaú Cultural,Art Cybernetic Award, the highest award given in Latin America to works in the field of art and technology for the art project Amigóide, 2010 

Best Paper award in SBGames for the paper ‘Art and electronic games: An introduction to the concept of aesthetics applied on digital playing, 2010.SBGames is the most important symposium on computer games in Latin America. 2010

Membership of professional associations and societies

Association of Art Historians (AAH), 2012-2013, Member.

Conference attendance

TrAIN Lecture, 2017, Chelsea College of Art, London, ‘Historiographies of the Contemporary: Modes of Translation in and from Conceptual Art’, Asbury, M. & Poltronieri, F. invited paper. 

Artistic Exchange Between Brazil and Germany Workshop, 2016, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany, ‘Concrete and Neo-Concrete artistic movements in Brazil and the notion of play in Hélio Oiticica’s oeuvre’ Poltronieri, F. invited paper. 

II Seminário Internacional das artes e seus territórios sensíveis, 2014, Federal University of Ceará, Fortaleza, Brazil, ‘Precariedade como base conceitual para a compreensão do jogo ininterrupto da arte computacional’, Poltronieri, F. invited paper. 

iDMAa 2014 conference, 2014, Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah, USA, 2014. ‘Apparatuses, playfulness, language and the emergence of new codes’, Poltronieri, F. accepted paper. 

Re:thinking Gamification, 2013, Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Germany, ‘Gamification, apparatuses, language and the emergence of new codes’, Poltronieri, F. invited paper. 

ReMEDIAting Flusser, 2013, University of Connecticut, USA,‘Production of knowledge, design and new codes’, Poltronieri, F. accepted paper. 

39th Annual AAH Conference, 2013, Reading, United Kingdom, ‘Precariousness as a Conceptual Basis for the Understanding of Art as Uninterrupted Primacy of Play’, Poltronieri, F. accepted paper. 

I Simpósio de Pesquisas em Games da UFSC, 2012, Santa Catarina Federal University, Florianópolis, Brazil, ‘Relações entre o universo ficcional dos videogames e os aspectos lúdicos da arte’, Poltronieri, F. accepted paper. 

Studying Latin American Art Group, 2012, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, United Kingdom, ‘Vilém Flusser: A philosophical portrait’, Poltronieri, F. invited paper. 

LKL Maths-Art Seminars, 2012, London Knowledge Lab, London, UK, ‘Mathematics and the Concrete and Neoconcrete Artistic movements in Brazil’, Poltronieri, F. invited paper. 

1º Simpósio Internacional de Estudos sobre Cultura Midiática, 2012, Rio Grande do Norte Federal University, Natal, Brazil, ‘O acaso e o rompimento da simetria nas imagens sintéticas’, Poltronieri, F. invited paper. 

7º R Lab, 2012, Instituto Europeu de Design, São Paulo, Brazil, ‘Do design contemporâneo para o futuro’, Poltronieri, F. invited paper. 

1º Encontro Interdisciplinar da Escola de Artes, Arquitetura, Design e Moda, 2010, Universidade Anhembi Morumbi, São Paulo, Brazil, ‘Arte e Interatividade’, Poltronieri, F. invited paper. 

VI Seminário Imagens da Cultura / Cultura das Imagens, 2010, Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal, ‘Do jogar e do programar: Um novo regime de produção de sentidos a partir das relações entre textolatria e magicização’, Poltronieri, F. accepted paper. 

P&D 2008 – 8º Congresso Brasileiro de Pesquisa & Desenvolvimento em Design, 2008, Centro Universitário SENAC, São Paulo, Brazil, ‘A produção de design e suas relações com as imagens técnicas’, Poltronieri, F. accepted paper. 

2º Colóquio Design de Interface, 2008, Centro Universitário SENAC, São Paulo, Brazil, ‘AgNO3: espiral refletora recombinante do +zero’, Poltronieri, F. invited paper. 

III Ciclo de Estudos em Design, 2008, Centro Universitário Uniara, Araçatuba, Brazil, ‘Arte, Interatividade e Design: Interfaces a partir de Hélio Oiticica’ Poltronieri, F. invited paper. 

II Simpósio da ABCiber, 2008, PUC-SP, São Paulo, Brazil, ‘Experências digitais com a liberdade’, Poltronieri, F. accepted paper. 

7. Encontro Internacional de Arte e Tecnologia, 2008, Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, Brazil, ‘O acaso e a criação de novos caminhos estéticos para a arte digital’, Poltronieri, F. accepted paper. 

FILE Rio Symposium, 2008, Oi Futuro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, ‘*rnd’, Poltronieri, F. accepted paper. 

Ciantec – Congresso Internacional Arte e Novas Tecnologias, 2007, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, ‘As estratégias da recombinação e suas relações com a arte digital’, Poltronieri, F. accepted paper. 

Seminario Internacional Imagenes de la Cultura/Cultura de las imágenes, 2006, Universidad de Murcia, Spain, ‘El juego de parangole: Relaciones entre el anti-arte y las estéticas tecnológicas’, II Poltronieri, F. accepted paper. 

1º Encontro Internacional para o estudo da Semiosfera, 2005, Centro Universitário Belas Artes, São Paulo, Brazil, ‘Diagrama das operações semióticas da CPU no contexto da comunicação com jogos de computador’, Poltronieri, F. accepted paper. 

P&D 6º Congresso Brasileiro de Pesquisa & Desenvolvimento em Design, 2004, Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado (FAAP), São Paulo, Brazil, ‘Interatividade nos meios digitais’ Poltronieri, F. accepted paper.

Externally funded research grants information

‘Primary Codes’, Secretaria do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Exhibition, Funding grant in 2014. Exhibition from June – August 2015, researcher and curator with Caroline Menezes. 

Fellowship – FAPESP (Foundation for Research Support of the State of São Paulo), São Paulo, Brazil, 2014.  Postdoctoral research at the Leuphana University’s Gamification Lab, in Lüneburg, Germany, in partnership with the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.  

Fellowship – CAPES (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel), Brazil, 2011.Postdoctoral research at the Royal College of Art in London, UK to develop a Postdoctoral research project on the early days of computer art. 

Professional esteem indicators

Peer reviewer for FAPESP, Foundation for Research Support of the State of São Paulo, analysing and giving reports on budgets and proposals for research projects in the fields of art and technology and video games. From 2013 – Present.

Peer reviewer for SBGAMES Conference. From 2011 – Present.

Peer reviewer for DIGRA, Digital Games Research Association Conference. From 2014 – Present.

Peer reviewer for FDG, Foundations of Digital Games Conference. From 2017

Editorial Board Member of LICCA Book Series. From 2011 – Present.

Editorial Board Member of KINO – International Journal of Film and Media Arts. From 2016 – Present.

Editorial Board Member of LUDICA Journal. From 2017.

Case studies

The solo exhibition ‘Iconic Theogonies’ in 2014, generated the TV documentary about art and technology titled ‘TecART’, that was aired several times on the channel Arte 1 in Brazil.

This exhibition was also reviewed by the English magazine Studio International, one of the oldest publications dedicated to art in Great Britain.

It was cover of O Globo Newspaper’s literary Supplement Prosa & Verso, in 25/10/2014