SIGGRAPH 2000: Art Gallery



New Orleans, Louisiana


July 23rd-28th, 2000



Just as the mechanically curious might take apart an engine to see how it works, artists often dissect and reassemble culture in innovative and enlightening ways. Ways that enable us to think, feel, and view our everyday experiences again. Through new eyes. Beyond our ordinary bandwidth.

The SIGGRAPH 2000 Art Gallery presents a diversity of over 70 artworks to the international computer graphics community. The work represents a continuum of artworks that utilize technology in some way. Some pieces represent traditional forms of art and design, such as painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, artists’ books, and jewelry. Other artworks represent forms of interactive art that are increasingly embraced by the mainstream art world: interactive installations, Web-based and multimedia projects, 3D animation, and computer-mediated performances. The annual SIGGRAPH Art Gallery attracts the most experimental work: mutant forms that refuse easy artistic categorization. In these mutant forms, powerful and hybrid imagery, concepts, sound, performances, and writing are imperceptibly intertwined with innovative uses of emerging technology.  The art and technology are inseparable.

Participants interact with each other, with digital beings, and with objects via intriguing means: gesturing and talking to artificial life forms, manipulating video “eyestalks,” moving toward “smart” and sassy robotic appliances, touching seemingly huge but real microscopic insects. Approach some “paintings,” and you will be transported into another world.

Some of the works utilize features unique to the Web to create a sense of community, connectivity, and interactivity. Gaming is redefined, fostering unique social interactions. Users navigate digital Web movies, and remix sounds and texts to create original compositions, blurring the borders between spoken, written, and sculpted artistic forms. Performers “squat” on reflector sites, with audience members and with remote performers. All are strong examples of electronic art delivered on the Web and extended into the physical plane.

Each artist takes a unique approach to generating 2D artwork digitally. The show includes digitally inspired painting; collages; algorithmically generated image components; images created with X-rays, MRis, CAT scans, in 3D software, or in virtual reality by petting actual human beings, head-to-toe.  A wooden mirror responds with hundreds of tiny motors. The variety is tantalizing.

The Art Gallery is present in many areas of SIGGRAPH 2000: within the gallery space, in nearby programs (The Studio, the Creative Applications Lab, SIGGRAPH TV, and Emerging Technologies), and in art-related presentations in Panels, Sketches & Applications, and Special Sessions.

Within the Art Gallery

Experienced docents guide tours through the gallery, providing insights into the artists’ visions and methods. In gallery talks throughout the week, the artists themselves offer further insight and opportunities for direct interaction with attendees.

The Art Gallery Integrates With Its Surroundings: the Studio, the CAL, SIGGRAPH TV, Emerging Technologies

The Art Gallery space is surrounded by related programs that extend and enhance its integration with the diversity of the SIGGRAPH community. The Studio provides artists access to technologies that may otherwise lie beyond their reach: from rapid-prototyping 3D machines to large-format printers whose outputs are enormous canvases. Each day, the work produced in The Studio is juried by artists, with the day’s selection exhibited in the Art Gallery. Artists can demonstrate their processes and techniques in the Creative Applications Lab. SIGGRAPH TV provides up-to-the-minute, televised information about art that is, in and of itself, art. The boundaries between the Art Gallery and Emerging Technologies are intentionally indistinct, reflecting our attitude that what constitutes art is sometimes radically innovative uses of technology.

The Art Gallery Extends to Panels and Special Sessions

Art Gallery talks culminate in two panels: No Art Jargon, where artists engage the technical community in discussions of using or subverting computer techniques, and Interactive Narrative. And two Special Sessions, Fiction 2001 and Art & Culture Papers, complement and extend Art Gallery discussions. The Art & Culture Papers published here will also appear in the journal “Leonardo.”

The SIGGRAPH 2000 Art Gallery presents works that inspire, provoke, and engage the wider SIGGRAPH community by exploring new connections between mind and body, the human and the technological, the aesthetic and the critical. Works that provoke, challenge, and enable us to re-experience, re-examine, and make sense of our bodies, our technologies, and our culture.  Works that enable us to replenish the spirit and heighten the sense of the world outside of us.

Diane Gromala

SIGGRAPH 2000 Art Gallery Chair


Critical Essay Reviewers

Jay Bolter

Diane Gromala

Michael Joyce

Janet Murray

Phoebe Sengers

Noah Wardrip-Fruin

Adrianne Wortzel

Committee Members:

Exhibition Artworks:

Exhibition Writings and Presentations:

    Title: Digital Ontologies: The Ideality of Form in/and Code Storage - or - Can Graphesis Challenge Mathesis?
    Writing Type: Paper
    Author(s): Johanna Drucker
    Abstract Summary:

    The attempt to understand the connections that link human thought to its representation through the act of formgiving (in language, image, or signs) is central to Western philosophy and aesthetics. In every generation, some version of this question has been posed: If it were possible to understand the logic of human thought, would there be a perfect representation of it in some unambiguous, diagrammatic symbol set of entities and dynamic relations among them? Informed by classical metaphysics and philosophy, this question also has a life not only in contemporary struggles that are carried on in the varied and very different domains of visual art, information design, and computer graphics, but also in cognitive science, with its legacy of symbolic logic, artificial intelligence debates, and a disposition towards the intersection of speculative and specifiable apprehensions of what constitutes thought.

    Title: Expressive AI
    Writing Type: Paper
    Author(s): Michael Mateas
    Abstract Summary:

    The field of Artificial Intelligence (Al) has produced a rich set of technical practices and interpretive conventions for building machines whose behavior can be narrated as intelligent activity. Artists have begun to incorporate Al practices into cultural production – into the production of artifacts and experiences that function as art within the cultural field. In this paper, I describe my own practice of Al-based cultural production: expressive Al. I will attempt to provide a preliminary understanding of this practice by both situating expressive Al with respect to other discourses on Al and by working inductively from my own Al-based art work. I will first provide a brief description of three of my Al-based art pieces. These will serve as concrete examples to ground the rest of the discussion. I will then describe the expressive Al practice by first situating it with respect to the GOFAl/interactionist Al debate, then by describing the central organizing metaphors of authorial and interpretive affordance, and finally by providing a preliminary set of desiderata for expressive Al practice.

    Title: The SF of Technoscience: The Politics of Simulation & A Challenge for New Media Art
    Writing Type: Paper
    Author(s): Eugene Thacker
    Abstract Summary:

    “In fact, science fiction … is no longer anywhere, and it is everywhere, in the circulation of models, here and now, in the very principle of the surrounding simulation.”

    “Biology is becoming an information science … and it will take increasingly powerful computers and software to gather, store, analyze, model and distribute that information.”
    Chairman, Compaq Computer Corporation

    “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

    One of the significant characteristics of the last decade, and the new millennium, is the way in which advancements in biotechnology and medicine have come to the attention of the public, through the media, as one of the primary areas in which the future is being vigorously imagined. What distinguishes biotechnology from other sciences is
    the way in which it is increasingly fusing genetic code with computer code, encapsulated in what lncyte Pharmaceuticals calls “point-andclick biology.”