INTERVIEWS

Dena Slothower

What first drew you to computer graphics? An accident combined with a severe lack of cash! In graduate school, I applied for a job in a gallery on campus. I really desperately needed an on-campus graduate assistantship in order to continue school. I was pretty crushed when the gallery job fell through. The dean of the libraries, who was in charge of the assistantships saw my previous computer experience on my resume and gave it to the chair of the computer graphics department. As a traditional artists, I was not immediately sold on the medium (although I really appreciated the job, and all of the great people in the department.) But eventually the combination of artistry, engineering, and experimentation interested me, and the open-endedness of the possiblities hooked me.
Do you have any favorite computer graphics mentors? It is perhaps fitting that the first person who comes to mind is Lynn Pocock, who was the Conference Chair the last time we were Los Angeles (2001), and who put together truly beautiful Art Gallery in 1997. And there are so many others! One of the things I find most inspiring are the people at SIGGRAPH. Not only can I find the people on the cusp between art and technology who are fine artists like me, there are so many things to learn from the engineers, filmmakers, programmers, and researchers, most of whom were drawn to computer graphics or interactive techniques because they had a diversity of interests and talents.
What was the first time you contributed to SIGGRAPH? I was involved with a sigKids project at SIGGRAPH 1997 called Binary Biker. But my first real connection with SIGGRAPH was as the Art, Design, and Multimedia sub-chair on the SIGGRAPH 1999 Sketches and Applications committee. In addition to helping select the content for that program, I got to chair a session, which was a great way to see the conference from a different perspective.
What year/city was your first SIGGRAPH? Which was most intense? Why? My first SIGGRAPH was in 1996 in New Orleans. Since then, they have all been intense in varying ways. I have to say that SIGGRAPH 2002, when I was interviewing people for the SIGGRAPH 2004 committee was the most challenging overall. I met with as many people as one usually meets at a conference, and with as wide a variety, but *one at a time*. And in my few public outings, I was mobbed with people. And, on top of that, I served on the Web Graphics committee and chaired a session. Last year seems quite calm by comparison!
What contributions to SIGGRAPH are you most proud of?
What's your favorite thing at this year or last year's SIGGRAPH? There are going to be so many new things to see this year, I hope I get to see them all. I think one of my favorites this year is our new Posters program. Of course, I have no idea what it will end up looking like, and how it will work or be received by the SIGGRAPH audience, but perhaps that is what makes it so special to me. Also, I *love* the fact that we are doing the Electronic Theater in the LACC. I am not a big fan of long bus rides, and for people with a matinee ticket, it means they can still catch another afternoon session after the show.
What near/intermediate developments in CG do you look forward to? Some of my main distractions are computer games, so I am always interested to see what is happening in real-time graphics and graphics hardware. Another area (which you will be able to see in this year's Emerging Technologies and Papers programs) are the advances in display technologies. As with real-time graphics, display technologies are interesting to me because of their potential impact on day-to-day life. I really look forward to these sorts of glimpses into our future

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Last updated 9/16/04.

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