SIGPARGH2005 day 1

The internet ghetto is located in the far right corner of the registration area. Some 30 desktops sit on standing height podiums, with no chairs. The desktops are on the floor, such that if you were to move your feet too close to the power switch, you might accidentally kick the machine and hit the power switch, losing whatever you had been working on. Now I have to rewrite this.
So I’m sitting on the floor with my pda and folding keyboard. My laptop died earlier this spring. My pda is wireless-less, so I’ll have to upload this later this evening.

I think I’ll talk about the art gallery, officially titled SIGGRAPH 2005 Art Gallery: Threading Time. The gallery seeks to present “artwork that maps data or traces threads in time and space”. Linda Lauro-Lazin, the art gallery chair, invited six artists to contribute to the exhibit; their works are tagged “Chair’s Invitation”. These six artist are: Perry Hoberman, Jim Campbell, Jonh Gerrard, Shelly Eshkar and Paul Kaiser, and Camille Utterback.
First up we have Perry Hoberman, who has a whopping three pieces on display, only one of which has much to say about “mapping traces through time and space”. My Life In Space is a series of three digital prints, each displaying a collection of emails that have been photoshopped together in direct fashion. One day, one week, and one month’s worth of spam make up the three prints. That’s it.
Hoberman’s other pieces don’t seem provide much context for the exhibition, other than providing context for work by Perry Hoberman. Art Under Contract (End User License Agreement) is a suspiciously subversive piece, which essentially subverts itself. He has invested a lot of effort to tell us something about End User License Agreements, but it is lacking in irony.
Four works by Jim Campbell; custom electronic canvases made of an array of light emitting diodes (LEDs). Campbell shows how even a small, sparse collection of pixels can be used to create the illusion of an image. Television has been doing that for quite some time now, there are no particularly new ideas here.
John Gerrard has two computer generated heads on flatscreen displays. These change over time.
Shelly Eshkar and Paul Kaiser’s Arrival is presented here, in tabletop form. (This work was also presented at last year’s Bang the Machine in San Francisco.) The images are very dark, the surrounding walls are very white, and the soundtrack can only be heard through headphones, so this piece lacks the impact of last year’s presentation in a very dark room.
Finally, of the invited artists, Camille Utterback has an interactive floor. You walk on it and your path creates blobs on the projected screen. I’m going to create an Interactive Floor Registry, where we can keep track of all the tedious interactive floor installations out there. Each installation will be given a serial number and released back into the wild.
I can understand — to a degree — the urge to turn space into an interactive canvas, but so many artists have already realized this project, and few of them have said anything meaningful, meaningful beyond the interface itself.
There were some art talks in the morning.
Lee Arnold is a painter who seeks to create paintings that “could change over time”. I have to say I’m none too fond of Arnold’s sense of color, least of all the use of cyan.
Jan Pirbeck produced a series of prints based on GIS data and student perceptions of the urban landscape in Portland, Maine. The color here, too, is rather unpleasant. She is enamoured of Richard Florida’s idea of the “creative economy”. I’ll have to find a copy at the library to see what that’s all about.
Jon Meyer showed an odd collection of projects, followed by some wonderfully heartfelt babbling. He made the observation that we tend to believe older images are more honest, while newer images are viewed more skeptically.

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