SIGGRAPH 1996: The Bridge


  • Jean Ippolito -
    • Savannah College of Art and Design
    • University of Hawaii at Hilo


New Orleans, Louisiana, US


August 4th-9th, 1996


Welcome to The Bridge

We’re here.

We’ve reached The Bridge.

Now let’s cross.

A bridge is a construction spanning a gap between two points. It is usually built high enough above the ground to allow unobstructed passage beneath. There are various kinds of bridges: girder, arch, suspension, and cantilever bridges to name a few. There are movable bridges: the drawbridge, the swing bridge, and the bascule bridge. Bridge is also the name of a card game played by two sets of partners.  To burn one’s bridges means to end any possible means of retreat. Die Brücke, the German equivalent of The Bridge, refers to a group of German expressionist painters of the early 20th century. There are dental bridges, the bridge of the nose, and bridge passages in literature. There are also literal, social, and, of course, metaphorical bridges. Some fear crossing bridges, others find it exhilarating.

Bridges have come to serve as metaphors for meeting challenges,  moving forward, overcoming obstacles, or adjusting to change. Each person approaches a bridge with a different mindset. Some are indifferent, some approach with hesitation and fear of the unknown, others are attracted to the mystery and meet the challenge head on. Still others prefer not to think about the how or why until the time comes when they must: “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.” So the saying goes.

The Bridge is here, now, at SIGGRAPH 96. We have constructed a bridge between the Contemporary Arts Center and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. A T3 line spans the gap of five city blocks between the two sites, allowing free access via the Internet to either side. The T3-line bridge connects one site of the show to its mirror site; it also connects the contributing artists to each other, the Internet, the World Wide Web, and the show’s visitors.

The Bridge, however, is not just electronic. It is also a metaphorical bridge that connects current issues, bringing together art and technology, bridging gaps between international and regional audiences, spanning issues of gender, race, religion, culture, high art, and the general public.

There is no longer a question about the validity of art made with computer technology. We have crossed that bridge. The purpose of this bridge is to raise awareness and to facilitate an understanding of current issues through the use of art and technology. The show may raise more questions than it answers, but it is designed to draw in a wide range of audiences and to initiate discussion. We hope you find it enticing, provocative, and intellectually stimulating.

Go ahead, do it …

steady now, go forward …

cross …

The Bridge.

Jean Ippolito

The Bridge Chair


A Note from the Special Projects Coordinator

When I first climbed on board The Bridge as the Special Projects Coordinator, I was both intrigued and mystified at the challenges that lay ahead. Having viewed several SIGGRAPH Art Shows in the past, as only a spectator, I was unaware of the time and preparation involved in putting together an exhibition of this caliber. Now, after hundreds of telephone calls, email communications with artists, 12-hour work days, bitten fingernails, countless tears, and gut-wrenching laughter, I have a tremendous amount of respect for the chair, committee members, artists, and others who contribute to SIGGRAPH Art Shows. Working with The Bridge has “spanned a gap” from my role as idle spectator to my new experience as one as energetic participant. I am grateful to the committee for facilitating my journey across The Bridge.

Lori Crawford

The Bridge, Committee Chair

Jean M. Ippolito, Savannah College of Art and Design

The Bridge, Curatorial Committee

Carol Gigliotti, The Ohio State University

Thomas Whitsworth, University of New Orleans

Sergio Laureano, Fould and Associates

Lucy Petrovich, Savannah College of Art and Design

The Bridge, Curatorial Advisors

Barbara London, Museum of Modern Art

Ted Potier, Contemporary Arts Center

The Bridge, Space Designer

Nathaniel Quincy Belcher, Tulane University

The Bridge Special Projects Coordinator

Lori Crawford, Savannah College of Art and Design

The Bridge Editors

Jean Ippolito and Luke Wander, (artists essays)

Carol Gigliotti, (critical essays)

The Bridge Research Assistants

Fred Clark

Chris Ford

Dane Shears

Lori Crawford

Tracy Inman

Mitheera Kalyanamitra

Michelle Kapa

John King

Silvana Vivanco

Jennifer Chen

Exhibition Artworks:

Exhibition Writings and Presentations:

    Title: The Bridge
    Writing Type: Essay
    Abstract Summary:

    In the dream, I am driving over the Charleston Bay Bridge in South Carolina. As I reach the crest of the bridge, my car veers, lifts, and suddenly, without the car, I am flying high over the bridge and the bay. It is snowing, and I am very cold, high in the dark blue night above an even darker blue sea. I realize I am numb. I am dead, I think. It is not an unhappy thought. Thinking I am dead brings a wonderfully exhilarating and freeing sensation. I am at peace.

    Title: Internet Hybrids and the New Aesthetic of Worldwide Interactive Events
    Writing Type: Essay
    Abstract Summary:

    This essay discusses interactive art events realized on the Internet in conjunction with other electronic media, such as television, radio, telephones, and telerobotics. The essay includes references to material that can be immediately accessed on the Internet. The reader is invited to read by the glow of the CRT, letting digital strokes carry him or her from one country to another.

    Title: Getting Women Wired: New Connections in Art and Technology*
    Writing Type: Essay
    Abstract Summary:

    Does computer science in its theory and practice embody discrimination nation against women, and if so, how does embedded discrimination work itself out in applications to the arts? This essay, guided by this introductory question, will connect concerns of discrimination against women in the field of computer science with issues that arise in the development of theory and application in the emerging electronic computer based arts. Bias against women in computing, I will suggest, occurs in the epistemology or knowledge construction of modern science, works itself out in knowledge construction of modern science, works itself out in knowledge distribution and socialization processes, alienates women, ethnic groups, and class groupings, limits access, and skews applications in the arts.

    Title: Illusions/Delusions
    Writing Type: Essay
    Abstract Summary:

    This presentation describes the author’s use of stereoscopic computer imaging procedures to construct artworks that explore the viewer’s relationship to virtual/pictorial space.

    Title: Telematic and Telepresence Communications
    Writing Type: Essay
    Abstract Summary:

    About 500 million people around the world watched the first moon walk on television. “I Have a Dream” is one of the bestknown speeches of modern times. How are these monumental shared pieces of our history remembered by different kinds of people? Using a broad range of memories about both events, I am experimenting with simulated conversations between those who probably would not otherwise exchange stories in our socially stratified society.

    Title: ParkBench Public-Access Web Kiosks
    Writing Type: Sketch / Art Talk
    Abstract Summary:

    ParkBench kiosks address the problem of elitism in cyberspace. The Internet’s information and connectivity resources seem to promise universal access. Our aim is to reach out to those who lack the prerequisites for getting on line.

    Title: Space Race
    Writing Type: Sketch / Art Talk
    Abstract Summary:

    SPACE|R A C E, an interactive multimedia piece about the 1960s U.S. Civil Rights movement and space program, encourages viewers to experience paradox and ambiguity as natural parts of human existence in a complex world.