The Electronic Theater at the 2005 annual ACM SIGGRAPH Conference
This year’s Electronic Theater was in one word, breathtaking. It was a collection of the most stunning work from around the world. The wide array of work shown covered everything from scientific, to macabre, humorous and even bizarre.
The "Best of Show" award went to a piece by Shane Acker entitled 9. 9 is a dark piece in which the main characters are composed of bits of cloth and machinery. The influence of the work done by The Brothers Quay is apparent in this piece. Like many of the characters in animations by the Brothers Quay, characters in 9 appear broken or partially disassembled (such as the character 5 that is missing an eye). The monster that attacks the main characters has a skull for a head and a mechanical body. The skull gives it an appearance reminiscent of the ‘wild man’ character from the Quay Brother’s The Epic of Gilgamesh. The story of 9 is a compelling one. The main character, in light of which the story is named, lives in fear of the monster that killed his friend and mentor, 5. This creature steals the souls of his victims. By the end of the film, 9 is the only one left to fight the creature. He must use his wits to defeat the beast and free the souls of his fallen companions.
In terms of Jury Honors, these went to Fallen Art and La Migration Bigoudenn. Fallen Art is a bizarre and disturbing animation about a military base on a forgotten island in the Pacific. The base is populated by soldiers whose minds have been twisted due to isolation from civilization. The island’s inhabitants consist of the Private (who is one of many replaceable soldiers who follows orders without regard to his own life), the Sergeant (who follows orders with regard to the lives of others), the Doctor (who takes photographs and relishes the pain of others) and the completely psychotic General whose dark ‘art’ drives the entire process.
In contrast, La Migration Bigoudenn is a whimsical piece in which traditionally dressed women gather together on the coast of Bretagne and attempt to create the perfect crêpe.
The 2005 Electronic Theater also featured multiple scientific visualizations. MODIS Daily Global Snow Cover and Sea Ice Surface Temperature is an animation created from data collected via the MODIS Satellite. The animation shows changes in ice surface temperatures which are represented as changes in color. It also shows snow cover in the United States representing the paths of winter storms. Visualizing the XYZ Color Space helps visually explain the new proposed digital standard in which XYZ are the primaries that exist outside of and encompass the traditional RGB cube that represents the current standard. Visualization of an F3 Tornado Within a Simulated Supercell Thunderstorm is a sophisticated simulation that lets us see the formation of a tornado. A Semi-Lagrangian Contouring Method for Fluid Simulation is a demonstration of a surface tracking method devised for fluid simulations. Not only can it help simulate the complex surfaces of viscoelastic fluids being mixed, but it helps to retain the colors of the individual fluids as they blend.
The relatively large number of scientific pieces submitted this year was a result of a successful initiative specifically aimed at reconnecting with the scientific visualization community. According to Samuel Lord Black, the SIGGRAPH 2005 Computer Animation Festival Chair:
“We received about three times the number of scientific visualization, medical imaging, and technical pieces as we received last year. We'll see pieces ranging from thunderstorm visualization to global warming to surgical planning.” ( Interview with Samuel Lord Black)
The 2005 Electronic Theater helped stretch the mind and the imagination of those in attendance. It contained pieces to make you laugh, make you think and make you dream.