Being Herded At The Art
31 July 2003
On Monday, I migrated into the art office and was able to catch Michael Wright. As we sat down to talk I noticed he looked like a commander ready for a cyber war. Around his waist he wore a black pistol belt from which hung an assortment of pouches, gadgets, and a cell phone.
He began by telling me about his past. During his pursuit of a history major, Michael felt that it was important to actually take an art class instead of just sitting back and passively learning about art history. However, he was soon hooked and went on to get a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree for painting. Now addicted to art, computers were not far behind. He remembers that it was around 1986 that he began the change from being anti-computer with the purchased of an Amiga. He soon upgraded many parts of this, including the addition of a Video Toaster. With his computer, Michael was able to create his art by first importing video clips. Then he would select certain individual frames to work with.
We then leaped forward in time to talk more about his position as the art chair. Michael is very excited because he feels that he has achieved two major goals. First he has brought the art gallery to the people. In the past, the art gallery was separated from the rest of the events at SIGGRAPH Now, the art gallery is all around SIGGRAPH. So even if you are running from one event to the next you still have the chance to see the great works of art. This new idea for gallery set-up is being praised by many people, including the 2003 Conference Chair Alyn Rockwood. The other goal Michael is excited about is bringing the local community into the art of SIGGRAPH. He has done this by arranging many art events all over the city of San Diego. I’m not just talking about events that begin and end during SIGGRAPH either. Some of the art have been in place as early as a month before SIGGRAPH and will continue to remain in place for a month after. He says that he wanted to leave behind SIGGRAPH’s footprint in San Diego.
He would also like to point out that there is a great deal of quality in the art gallery as well as the fact that this year’s art gallery is the largest so far.
Behind great leaders and great events are great helpers. Michael says that this statement applies with him as well. His team is composed of 25 people. This is made up of both locals from San Diego as well as people from elsewhere.
When asked how he feels about this year’s gallery he replies, “I hope I have raised the bar.”