Inside Siggraph 2004 - Part 2

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Sue Gollifer
SIGGRAPH 2004’s Art Gallery Chairperson
Interview by Dee-Marie, Editor in Chief of the Renderosity Interactive Magazine




Q. How did the SIGGRAPH committee choose this year’s Art Gallery theme, Synaesthesia? Can you give our readers a definition of Synaesthesia as it pertains to the SIGGRAPH Art Gallery program?

Sue Gollifer: As the Chair of the Art Gallery, I chose the theme of Synaesthesia in order to make it distinctive for this year and provide an overall flavor and consistency of the work for artists to submit! Synaesthesia is a particular condition (like dyslexia), where by the person can see colors associated with text and numbers for example. Or there is an association between images, smells and sounds. The goal is to have the Art Gallery reflect the rich and diverse nature of digital art in its broadest terms. Furthermore, the goal is to show that computer generated art has much to offer - not only visually, but also aurally, sensually, and conceptually.

Q. Although you are SIGGRAPH’s first European Art Gallery chairperson, you have been associated with SIGGRAPH for many years. As chairperson, how will this year’s Art Gallery exhibition differ from past years?

Sue Gollifer: I served on the Art Gallery sub-committee for the past three years. Last year I shadowed the 2003 Chair (Michael Wright) to enable me to learn and experience the tasks that the Chairperson is involved in! Last year, the Art Gallery only chose to display 2D work and show it in the corridors surrounding the conference venue. This year it is back very much to a traditional Art Gallery situation including showcasing digital art in its broadest range. From 2D/3D, screen-based work, installations, sound pieces, and animations. From high-end computer graphics to low tech plotter art. From touch-screen technology to simple interactive auditory pieces. This rich diversity is what makes the SIGGRAPH Art Gallery so unique.

Q. What are this year's round-table topics?

Sue Gollifer: This Year’s Round-Table Topics are:
  • Ars Electronica: 25 Years of the Digital Avant-Garde: Celebrating 25 years of Ars Electronica.
  • *Researching the Future: (*CAiiA-STAR and the Planetary Collegium)
  • Synaesthesia
  • Plus, Papers and Artist talks

    Q. What percentage of this year’s Art Gallery exhibitors would be considered traditional artists [working with: oils, acrylics, watercolors, non-digital photography]?

    Sue Gollifer: None! Although many of SIGGRAPH’s artists come from what could be deemed as traditional fine art fields such as Painting, Printmaking, Photography, and Sculpture. I still consider myself as a printmaker even though all my work is digitally produced.

    Q. With photographic film being replaced with digital memory cards, and brush strokes being generated by drawing tablet pens — what do you feel is the future for traditional artists?

    Sue Gollifer: As an academic who teaches printmaking in both old and new technologies, I think all artists have a choice of medium in which to create their work. I like my students to feel able to make such choices from knowledge and experience! Until working on a computer is as intuitive as working directly on canvas, there will always be that choice as to how to make what you could deem art.

    Q. With the on-going acceptance of computer-generated art as a "true art form," what innovative directions do you foresee for modern artists in future years?

    Sue Gollifer: We need computers to some how emulate the way artists work. Wacom tablets and/ or a mouse do not quite seem there, as yet, but close! In a way, the most important thing is that the work produced has integrity — not necessarily as to how it is produced. The most memorable pieces I have seen in past SIGGRAPH art shows, although produced by computer technology, seemed to rise above (how does it work, or how is it done?) to be pieces in their own right.

    Q. As an award-winning artist, what are your views on computer generated art, and do you use the computer to create or enhance your images? What software art programs do you use?

    Sue Gollifer: All my work is computer generated! New technology has assisted me in being able to discover creative and surprising solutions to problems in my work. The memory and speed and the vast network of options allow new thought processes to be explored and discarded painlessly as the ideas take shape, develop and germinate.



    Perhaps even more significant is the possibility offered of detaching the images or the relationships (which determine the images) from their material base. Although ultimately all experience of art derives from the perceptions of artist or viewer in the context of material sensations, computer technology enables the sources of these sensations to be temporarily encoded as streams of digits. In this form they can be modified in scale, directed into a wide range of printing or reproductive media, or almost instantly transmitted over vast distances. In these ways, the specific material form of the image can be made less obsessive.

    The transaction between artist and viewer becomes less that of a negotiable object, more that of a dialogue about perception. When I started to make prints, I was motivated by precisely that possibility: its renewal through new technology continues to motivate my work.

    I use a number of software programs and move between them when creating pieces of artwork, including: - Photoshop (of course), Illustrator, Painter, and Bryce.

    Q. Can you give our readers an insight as to what the SIGGRAPH committee takes into consideration when accepting artwork and artists to the Art Gallery exhibition?

    Sue Gollifer: The integrity of the artist, and what was the aims and intentions behind the piece of work that was submitted.

    Q What do you hope participants will bring away from this year’s SIGGRAPH
    Art Gallery program?


    Sue Gollifer: I hope it will be exciting and stimulating, but at the same time I hope the participants will have time to reflect and be challenged by the experience. I suppose as artists we all want to enhance people’s lives by our art in some way.



    For more information on the Art Show and other activities please visit the official Siggraph 2004 website: www.siggraph.org/s2004.
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