Essays (sorted by Author)

Sort by:

[Title] [Author Last Name] [Year]


Title: Why Digital Prints Matter
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 2003: CG03: Computer Graphics 2003
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

In the beginning(s) was the digital image.

It has been established that “computer art” started approximately in 1950 with Ben Laposky’s oscilloscope images, which he generated with analog electronics and then recorded onto high-speed film. This event occurred in the wake of the then-recent developments of the first electronic digital computers: a machine built by John Atanasoff and Clifford Berry in 1941 and then the well known Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC), the first major general purpose computer, introduced in 1946. Completed in 1951, the Whirlwind Computer was the very first to be equipped with a (vector scope) video display monitor. A “bouncing ball” animation was actually produced to demo this feature.

[View PDF]

Title: Introduction to Unsettled Artifacts
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 2017: Unsettled Artifacts: Technological Speculations from Latin America
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

The motivation for the 2017 Art Gallery was, in fact, not only to examine the current state of art, science, and technology, but also to return a sense of “agency” to these technological artifacts and to help us recognize that we all make the choices that create the future. Therefore, convinced of the power of the poetics of technological speculation, and with the intention of mapping the ground on which we can imagine alternative futures, the Art Gallery traveled south in order to exhibit works of art produced outside the traditional centers of industrial and technological development, by artists living and working in Latin America.


Title: Flashimation: The Context and Culture of Web Animation
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 2006: Intersections
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

On October 15, 1997, the first-ever cartoon produced solely for the web made its premiere [Sullivan 1997]. Spumco, a Hollywood-based animation house formed by “Ren & Stimpy” creator John Kricfalusi, commonly known as John K., produced the first installment of The Goddamn George Liquor Program after experimentation with Marcomedia’s popular animation and interface-development program, Flash [Tanner 2001]. Although only eight one-minute episodes of the program were produced, the web cartoon launched a new style of animation, which has since earned an unofficial nickname: “Flashimation.” The purpose of this paper is to explore the origins and effects of this type of animation; examine the forces that turned animators towards the web, its visual style, and the meanings with which it is associated; and the effect Flashimation has had on modern animation and the current animation community. Several threads of thought explain the evolution and culturalization of the new-media phenomenon known as Flashimation. Television animation, increasing access to and preference for the internet, the technological restrictions of this new medium, and the availability of animation software itself have coalesced to produce a major change in the cultural reconceptualization and consumption of modern animation. Collectively, they explain a complex and layered transition from “kid-vid” cartoons to short and crude forms of sophomorically humorous animation produced specifically for an adult audience.

[View PDF]

Title: From Artificial Life to Augmented Reality: "It's not about technology, it's about what technology is about"
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 2002: Art Gallery
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

This paper examines the influence of two areas of technological research upon my art practice. For me, technologies provide inspiration in a variety of ways. It can begin with a simple instinct on first contact with a technological object, a system, or a scientific idea. Often, an extended period of play or exploration with the technology needs to take place before the artistic possibilities reveal themselves. The two main areas of technological focus in this paper are Artificial Life and Augmented Reality, with particular attention to the development of ideas and philosophical concerns underlying the art that I make. Examples of completed works and works in progress will be shown. It is my intention in doing this to examine some aspects of the artist’s role in unraveling the meanings nesting within technological and scientific endeavors.

[View PDF]

Title: The Kitchen as a Graphical User Interface
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 2004: Synaesthesia
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

Everyday objects can become computer interfaces by the overlay of digital information. This paper describes scenarios and implementa­ tions in which imagery is digitally painted on the objects and spaces of a kitchen. Five augmented physical interfaces were designed to orient and inform people in the tasks of cleaning, cooking, and accessing information: Information Table, Information Annotation ofKitchen, HeatSink, Spatial Definition, and Social Floor. Together, these interfaces augment the entire room into a single graphical user interface.

[View PDF]

Title: Recovering History: Critical and Archival Histories of the Computer-Based Arts
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 2003: CG03: Computer Graphics 2003
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

During the 1960s, artists first began to get involved with digital computing. By 1968, it was possible for Jasia Reichardt to curate a survey of digital work in the influential Cybernetic Serendipity exhibition held at London’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA). The show went on to tour the United States and Japan, and many young artists were inspired to get involved with computers after seeing it.

[View PDF]

Title: Building Possible Dreams
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 2007: Global Eyes
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

Never before have media had such a strong effect on life as in the 21st century. Looking at the history of moving images in the previous century – the visions and agendas of filmmakers, corporations, and governments – we find evidence of the potential for humanistic inclusion and exclusion. Do digital media increase our understanding of life and cultures? Is there the potential to know ourselves better by recreating life in an artificial environment? Is the fascination with artificial worlds proof of our limited understanding of the “analog” human experience? It is possible to control and destroy cultures. When it happens, human heritage is impoverished, and the world has less
diversity and less focus. The corporate digital media revolution is a kind of involution, a return to the type of destruction of colonial eras that exploited continents. With the current level of destruction at its highest level, our life experience is disconnected
from the physical world. Digital media can be a negative game, entertaining young people with virtual destruction, preparing them for analog wars and a multifaceted system of economic domination. Misinformation, decreased plurality of viewpoints, increased disconnection with life, and the spectacularization of human experience are only some of the symptoms of the strategies used by the corporate media world. Our analog lives need analog values connected to nature and respect for our planet and its fragile resources. These values must inform our digital world.

[View PDF]

Title: Fun, Love, and Happiness — or The Aesthetics of Play and Empathy in Avatar Worlds
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 2002: Art Gallery
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

I was asked recently why I would be interested in theorizing on play outside of the context of games and persistent environments. The answer has to do with the processes of creativity, self expression, and authorship that arise when we consider interactivity in virtual worlds. Artmaking as play, and empathy as a foundation of collective authorship, are the central themes of this talk. But is that art? If one allows that art is an outgrowth of a set of techniques, tools, conventions, visual histories, aesthetic vocabularies, and above all an urge of creative self-expression then we would have to say yes. If, additionally, we posit that the digital medium may, perhaps, bring with it a special quality that we have not yet pinned down, despite various efforts to do so, then I would like to suggest that that special digital quality is reflected precisely in aesthetics of play, empathy, and a sense of collective identity and multiplicity of authorship.

[View PDF]

Title: Sensational Technologies
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 2004: Synaesthesia
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

This paper is part of an ongoing study of performances that make a physical and psychological connection with the public by synthesiz­ing various media such as sound, image, smoke, smell, etc. The research project will focus on the history of the live image and try to connect this to current practices in popular culture and art, for example live video jockey (VJ) performances and interactive-technology-based installation art. For our presentation at SIGGRAPH 2004, we will con­ centrate on three cases that make use of state-of-the-art technology in order to create specific bodily sensations. We will also take their temporal character into account and explore whether, and if so, how these “events” can be presented and preserved for future genera­ tions as part of our cultural heritage.

[View PDF]

Title: Visions of Mind
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 1986: A Retrospective
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

Computer art is unfolding on the basis of scientific and engineering achievements of pioneering personalities, whose vision suggested that it should be possible to wrest something other than calculation speed and numeric precision from those crude and clumsy computers; something that could be turned into meaningful images. They set out to build dedicated machines to interpret an intuitive stroke with a pen or a snapshot taken through the lens of a camera. They designed displays that show more colors and change images faster than the human eye can distinguish. They devised software to generate pictures that appear just like photographs of reality. All of this has been accomplished within the short timespan of two or three decades. The history of computer graphics reads like a tremendous technical success story.

[View PDF]

Title: INTERACTIVITY AND RITUAL: Body Dialogues with Artificial Systems
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 1999: technOasis
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

Digital technologies provide dialogues with artificial systems, allowing acquisition and communication of biological signals with electronic databases. As interfaces and computers capture, manage, and transform signals, they generate new forms of life. In my latest interactive installations, bodies repeat behaviours, simulating a sort of ritual or ceremony with responses in real time. Stored data managed by neural networks offer states of unpredictability, and the adaptive capacity system determines the emergence of a “living environment” in self-regeneration. The variables place us within elliptical zones and build up present times in which the actions of the amalgamated body with complex systems enable exchanges in cyberspace. In a psychic and physical exploration of the environment, mixing natural/artificial, analogic/digital, real/virtual, we experience consciousness propagations and think, dream, and understand our human condition enhanced by technologies.

[View PDF]

Title: Feedback to Immersion
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 1993: Machine Culture
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

Cybernetics speculates about the coupling of machine and person. Since Norbert Wiener’s seminal Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and Machine (1948), the trajectory of technology development has been one of an increasing possibility of achieving that interface. In the past decade, the possibility of defining a relationship not simply between but within technology has become plausible. Yet the commercialization of cybernetics comes neither as a technical panacea nor without deep ethical concerns. As machines mutate into biology, the philosophical and political values of technology are challenged to confront more than conceptualized situations but rather to theorize the materiality of programmed or enhanced being. At the same time, the development of”realities” that are characterized as immersive or virtual are beginning to surround experience. The penetration of technology within the body and the socialization of simulated realities is more than a signifier of technological progress-it marks a transformation of knowledge, of biology, and of the cultural order in which knowledge is linked with ideology, biology with identity in terms of a technological imperative not necessarily connected with necessity. The issues raised by this potential for the narrowing of the boundary between technology and experience are vast. In many ways the development of several parallel technologies has reached a crucial point.

[View PDF]

Title: Virtual Imaginations Require Real Bodies
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 1999: technOasis
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

Virtual reality (VR) works of art conjure up ideas such as virtual sex, virtual frontiers, and to some, disembodiment. Those who uphold the notion of disembodiment claim that works of art that embrace VR technology necessarily encourage a state that affirms the Cartesian duality in which people can leave Earth, nature, and body behind. I counter this notion because I do not believe that the mind can be separated from the body; rather, the two are inexplicably intertwined.

Although this “Gibsonesque” scenario is rich with metaphors and metaphysical implications, I suggest that any virtual space is an embodied experience because the imagination of the artist and the viewer refer back to the body, to nature, and to the Earth. From the physical reality of Earth and our bodies, we may understand and perceive many more realities, perhaps facilitated by virtual space art installations. In fact, I maintain that even the virtual is real. It is a perception that is a real experience, which makes reference to our encounters with the physical world and our flesh.

[View PDF]

Title: Audiovisual Discourse in Digital Art
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 2004: Synaesthesia
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

This paper discusses art systems that employ image and sound as equal elements. This can be called the evolution of the “audiovisual discourse” in art and technology. Recent software for manipulation of audio and visual material is briefly described, and audio/visual digital artworks, developed during an artist-in-residence-based project, are illustrated as examples of contemporary artistic projects concerned with this theme. Different artistic approaches in the use of audio/visu­ al systems are identified on the basis of the historical research and the second author’s work, as a technologist, in collaboration with the artists participating in the project. Finally, the role of the computer as audio/visual instrument is discussed.

[View PDF]

Title: There are No Philosophic Problems Raised by Virtual Reality
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 1994: Art and Design Show
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

There is widespread agreement that virtual reality presents seri­ous new challenges to perceived ways of thinking about such fun­damental concepts as reality, simulation, representation, percep­tion, and sensation. It has been seen as a practice that might have deep consequences for conven­tional ways of construing the mind-body problem, including the minimal requirements for a body, requirements for the coherent reception of sensation, and the relation between reason and intu­ition. Most fundamental of all, it has been said to entail a new kind of space, differing from Cartesian and other spaces and requiring new definitions of space and form. This paper argues, on the contrary, that virtual reality does not raise any new philosophic problems.

[View PDF]

Title: Towards Computer Game Studies
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 2001: n-space
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

Part 1: Narratology and Ludology
It is relatively stress-free to write about computer games as nothing too much has been said yet, and almost anything goes. The situation is pretty much the same in what comes to writing about games and gaming in general. The sad fact with alarming cumulative consequences is that they are under-theorized; there are Huizinga, Caillois and Ehrmann of course, and libraries full of board game studies, in addition to game theory and bits and pieces of philosophy-most notably those of Wittgenstein’s – but they won’t get us very far with computer games. So if there already is or soon will be a legitimate field for computer game studies, this field is also very open to intrusions and colonization from the already organized scholarly tribes. Resisting and beating them is the goal of our first survival game in this paper, as what these emerging studies need is independence, or at least relative independence.

[View PDF]

Title: Computer Graphics as Artistic Expression
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 1986: A Retrospective
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

Computer graphics has been in existence for more than twenty years. From the beginning, people experimented on ways to use the new medium – in addition to scientific, technical and commercial application – for artistic goals. Around 1965, Germans Frieder Nake and Georg Nees and the American, A. Michael Noll, strove for that goal; they were followed by individuals such as Kenneth Knowlton, the team of Charles Csuri and James Shaffer in America, and the Japanese Computer-Technique Group. All of them were represented in the large exhibition “Cybernetic Serendipity” in 1968 in London.

[View PDF]

Title: Artists/Technologists: The Computer As An Imaging Tool
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 1983: Art Show
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

Despite the fact that the computer is a relatively recent invention, the debate over whether or not computer-generated art works can truly be called “art” has roots in a much older argument about technology. The usual objection to “computer art” is based on the fear that somehow the com­puter  — like Hal in the film 2001 — will take control, eliminating the role of the ar­tist. A less paranoid but equally misplaced response construes the absence of hand­work to represent easy art, requiring less skill than more traditional forms. Similar ob­jections were raised when photography was discovered. In 1859, Charles Baudelaire considered photography as nothing less than a major threat to the entire fine art tradition.

[View PDF]

Title: The Bridge
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 1996: The Bridge
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

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.

[View PDF]

Title: Art and Technology: Bridging the Gap in the Computer Age
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 1982: Art Show ’82
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

Much as the majority of the art public has tried to ignore the art and technology phenomenon, it is no longer either possible or fashionable to do so. The large retrospective of video artist Nam June Paik at the Whitney Museum in New York in the Spring of 1982 was just one of numerous recent examples of the acceptance of the new technology in a traditional art environment. A lack of familiarity with the actual process by which the works are made, has caused the word “computer” in connection with art to be met with particular distrust out of the ill-founded fear that this mystifyingly complex machine might soon replace the artist in the creation of art. Yet in spite of the electronic implementation, computer-aided art is still in many ways as much a handcrafted product as conventional art forms but simply processed in a different manner. Furthermore, because most artists are as of yet unacquainted with the mechanics and potential of computers, their accomplishments on com­puter systems, which may assume various forms including color xerography, photo enlarge­ments, plotter drawings or video, to name only a few, are often the product of intense collabora­tion in a laboratory-like environment between the artist and someone technically proficient in the computer field. This practice is in antithesis to the myth of the sculptor or painter struggling preferably in solitude in a studio to realize his artistic concepts in pencil, paint, metal, stone, or other common materials.

[View PDF]

Title: Interface as Image: Image Making and Mixed Reality
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 2004: Synaesthesia
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

This paper will explore the use of the graphical user interface as art, product and inspiration, drawing on my own practice as a digital image maker and installation artist, and a theoretical investigation of digital image making in hybrid art practice. As the boundaries and reference points between physical and digitally grounded imagery become less defined, the possible duality and interplay for a com­ bined image space moves towards a seamless self-referencing and continuous activity. A visual feedback loop or strip, where the clues of originality become increasingly hard to differentiate and, perhaps, increasingly irrelevant, a state of “deterritorialisation.”1 Some thought will be given to examining the potential for mapping digitally ground­ ed imagery into both two- and three-dimensional physical space to create a mixed-reality experience and to what can happen when we extract the real-world metaphors from the digital environment and take them back into the physical world. Questions about the trans­ parency of the human/computer interface, and about just how trans­ parent we really want this to be, are also raised. What are we left with when we remove the content from the graphical user interface? What traces of human interaction (from the physical) become evident, and what are the “aid memoirs” we employ to assist us in navigation and colonization of the digital landscape?

[View PDF]

Title: Metaphoric Networks in "Lexia to Perplexia"
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 2001: n-space
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

As leading theorists and practitioners such as Marvin Minsky, Daniel Hillis and Brian Antwell Smith have been telling us, computers are much more than hardware and software.’ In their most general form, computers are environments of varying scope, from objects that sit on desktops to networks spanning the globe. Indeed, in Edward Fredkin’s interpretation, computational processes ultimately generate the fabric of the universe.’ It comes as no surprise, then, to find researchers arguing that computation is fundamentally altering the ways in which humans conceive of themselves and their relations to others. There are of course many approaches to this issue, from sociological studies to human factor analysis. Among these approaches are artistic works that tell new stories about the formation of human subjects, instantiating these stories in images as well as words. To explore this systemic shift, I will take as my tutor text Talan Memmott’s “Lexia to Perplexia.”‘ In this complexly coded work, human subjectivity is depicted as intimately entwined with computer technologies.

[View PDF]

Title: It is Interactive—but is it Art?
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 1993: Machine Culture
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

“The possibilities of egalitarian, more democratic, constructive forms offering new kinds of interaction, knowledge, and understanding may well be enhanced by the novel capabilities of the new technologies. They will, more than ever before, have to be struggled for.” – Andy Darley

The Myth of Interactivity
“Well, my next thing is going to be something interactive … ” For some years now, this has been a stock answer in interviews with artists, and not only those who already work with electronic and digital technologies. Indeed, “interactive art” seems well on its way to becoming the art form of the 1990s. Yet one shouldn’t let its present visibility delude oneself. Although contemporary interactive art may seem “groundbreaking,” the ground had already been grubbed by such movements as Fluxus and E.A.T. (Ex­periments in Art and Technology) in the 1960s, as well as by a great variety of “postmodern” strategies, emphasizing recycling, deliberate confusion between “the original” and “the copy,” and aiming at reposi­tioning, sometimes to the point of reconstituting, the traditional art audience.

[View PDF]

Title: Mapping Art's Escape From the Traps of Technology
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 2005: Threading Time
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

The 2005 SIGGRAPH jury was more than a chance to survey the digital art scene with a roomful of passionate but collegial comrades. It was also an opportunity to reflect on the role, for better or worse, that technology is playing in the production and exhibition of digital
artwork. More than any of my fellow jurors, I think I was particularly conscious of the stereotype that many artists, critics, and curators attach to exhibitions of art with a technological focus. According to this perception, the SIGGRAPH Art Gallery is less art exhibition than display showroom, where technicians show off the latest Maya or Illustrator special effect rather than pushing the boundaries of art.

[View PDF]

Title: Internet Hybrids and the New Aesthetic of Worldwide Interactive Events
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 1996: The Bridge
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

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.

[View PDF]

Title: Computer Sculpture: New Horizons
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 1994: Art and Design Show
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

An essay that focuses on oppor­tunities for a new approach to computer-generated sculpture through the use of the interac­tive, user participatory attributes associated with virtual reality technology. The text briefly reviews the progress of sculpture from a static, physical art form through the use of computers as sculpture visualization tools, towards true ‘virtual sculpture’ as a metaphysical, three-dimensional experience. The author discusses two of his own recent prototype virtual reality pieces to demon­strate his projection of possible future trends in the viewers’ immersion in sculpture as an activity and an art form, not merely as an observer of a set of objects.

[View PDF]

Title: Why it Isn't Art Yet
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 1986: A Retrospective
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

For twenty plus years, I have participated in “computer art” as a developer/ experimenter /inventor of languages/interfaces/techniques, as a collaborator/teacher/writer, and as a “computer artist.” As a result of all this, I finally feel like an established practitioner in an enterprise that doesn’t (at least not yet) exist.

[View PDF]

Title: The Artistic Origins of Virtual Reality
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 1993: Machine Culture
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

The history of virtual reality is often obscured. It is easy to get the impression that the Big Bang occurred at NASA in 1984 and that virtual reality is a triumph of the technical establishment alone. What has been overlooked is the important contributions that artists have made to the development of the field.

[View PDF]

Title: The Mapping of Space
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 1993: Machine Culture
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

1991 saw two events, of different importance and seemingly unrelated. One was the longawaited publication in English of what can probably be called the single most influential essay of modern art history—Erwin Panofsky’s Die Perspektive als ‘Symbolische Form.’¹ The interest generated around the re-emergence of this legendary essay, written in 1924-1925, demonstrates that the problem of perspectival representation is still felt to be relevant to contemporary culture. The second event was the Gulf War, the outcome of which was largely predetermined by Western superiority in the techniques of perspectival representation.

[View PDF]

Title: Is the Age of Expertise Over?
Author(s):
Exhibition: SIGGRAPH 2003: CG03: Computer Graphics 2003
Writing Type: Essay
Abstract/Summary/Introduction:

As I read journalists’ reports about the decline in confidence in many financial institutions, the troubles in modern education, and the failure of diplomacy to solve international problems, I am faced with the question: Is the age of expertise over?

[View PDF]

1 2 Next › Last »