Interview with Linda Lauro-Lazin
Linda Lauro-Lazin has been exhibiting her artwork for more than 25 years in the U.S. and Europe. She has been using digital media since 1986. Recently, she has been chosen to be the Art Chair for SIGGRAPH 2005. Ms. Lauro-Lazin's artwork will be included in "Art in the Digital Age" a new book by Bruce Wands scheduled for release in the Fall of 2004 by Thames and Hudson. Her artwork has been shown recently at SIGGRAPH, Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria and on the Rhizome website.
She is a Fulbright Scholar, receiving the Fulbright Lecturing/Research Award for her work in Macedonia in 1998-1999. In 2002, Ms. Lauro-Lazin received the Pratt Institute Faculty Development Grant to develop eight large format digital prints of her “Veiled Woman” series. She served on the SIGGRAPH 2004 Web Graphics Jury and Art Sub-Committee, and the 2003 Sketches committee. Ms. Lauro-Lazin was also the Art and Interactive Media Sub-Committee Chair for the SIGGRAPH 2002 Sketches. She also chaired several Art Sketches at the SIGGRAPH conferences in 2002 and 2003. In 1996, Ms. Lauro-Lazin curated a well-received exhibition of computer graphics at the Muroff Kotler Art Gallery. She has lectured on her artwork, computer graphics topics & applications. She has actively taught, both students and professionals, for 17 years.
What aspects of the conference have been most rewarding for you, and why have you decided to chair the Art Gallery this year?
I have been attending SIGGRAPH conferences since 1987 in Anaheim. The collaborative nature of SIGGRAPH is the most rewarding aspect of the conference for me. I love the fact that scientists and artists from around the globe gather under the same roof for an intense few days. So many fresh ideas are born during SIGGRAPH and often you can see the fruits of those ideas in the following year or two. It is an incredibly stimulating environment.
I am an artist and art is my realm of expertise, I have been working with digital media since 1986. I have really wanted to give something substantial back to the SIGGRAPH community. After meeting with Jamie Mohler two years ago I knew the time was right.
In the past I was a juror on the Sketches and Applications committee several times, and was a juror for the Web Graphics program. I have been a contributor to the Art Gallery and been on the Art Gallery subcommittee. Each year each program bears the mark of its program chair, the conference chair and the committee. This year our committee has been collaborating with one another. Donna Cox, Sam Lord Black and I have all served on one another’s juries. Nishant Kothary was an online juror for the art gallery. Rejane Spitz was a reviewer for the art gallery. Pat Beckman and I are working on a special educators event in the Art Gallery.
What differentiates this year's program from previous years?
- This year it is a content based show: artwork that maps or traces threads through time and space.
- Work will be arranged by meaning - not by delivery method.
- All of the work is inherently digital - it cannot exist without computer graphics.
- Award winning invited artists, massive amounts of submissions: we got more than 1100 submissions of these only 10% were accepted.
- More work by fewer artists will show more depth of each artist's vision.
- Also a SIGGRAPH first: show within a show of storyboards and concept art from the Computer Animation Festival.
Is there any one artist you are particularly excited about in this year's Art Gallery?
That is a really difficult question. I am excited by so much of the artwork in the show. I have been visualizing the work of the invited artists for the longest time so they are probably my greatest excitement.
Jim Campbell is a world renowned artist. He is also a practicing engineer. He makes a circuit board come to life. I was thrilled when he accepted my invitation to show his work at SIGGRAPH. He selected works that he felt would be particularly interesting for the SIGGRAPH audience. Perry Hoberman is full of surprises. Camille Utterback has found a way to bring a beautiful aesthetic into the interactive experience. In some cases this convergence exists within an individual a contemporary Renaissance person who is scientist, engineer, mathematician and artist.
Artists like Jim Campbell and Brian Knep are both engineers and artists by training and practice. Much of Campbell's work addresses technology and perception. He is highly recognized in both worlds. Knep's work combines art, architecture and science. He uses biological models and the idea of genotypes versus phenotypes and genetic drift in his artwork. Camille Utterback is an artist first but she is also an inventor. She has designed interactive systems to deliver her poetic gestural interactive paintings. She holds the patent on a video-tracking device. Eric Heller is both an artist and a professor of Physics at Harvard University. His exquisite images are both lyrical abstractions and literal demonstrations of physical phenomena such as rogue wave formation.
One of the most successful mixes of art and science is the work of Ruth West. West and a team of nine contributors (artists and scientists) have created an interactive new-media art installation, Ecce Homology that visualizes genetic data as calligraphic forms. A novel computer-vision interface allows multiple participants, through their movement in the installation space, to select genes from the human genome for visualizing the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST), a primary algorithm in comparative genomics.
In the 2003 conference a number of programs were cut from the schedule including the Panel Program and Interactive Art. Could you please elaborate on why these programs were cut and why you were set on getting them back this year?
Every year the conference chair and the program chairs formulate a vision for the overall conference and the individual programs. In 2003 the artwork came out of an enclosed space and filled the entire conference center. Last year the art gallery was focused on Synaesthesia. This year we are focusing on integrating the content of the artwork with the media.
I firmly believe that an intellectual and critical dialogue must be included in the SIGGRAPH art program: The art panels and art papers address some of the most provocative and stimulating areas in digital art. We also have a number of very significant presenters, (among these are Steve Dietz, Carl Goodman, Tomoe Moriyama, Charlie Morrow, Camille Utterback, Perry Hoberman, Gerfreid Stocker and Christine Schoepf and Jean Ippolito. Jeffery Huang, Joey Berzowska, Andruid Kerne, Dr. Roy Ascott and Dr. Edward Shanken will be the moderators.)
Interactive art is among the most significant artwork being created today - of course, it has a place in the SIGGRAPH Art Gallery - and some of the first GROUND BREAKING interactive artwork had its premier at SIGGRAPH - Interactive art belongs in the SIGGRAPH art gallery. It also has a place in the hands-on environment of Emerging Technologies where art and science converge. Donna Cox and I collaborated on showing the work in a shared area between the Art Gallery and Etech.
Will the gallery's artists explore the concepts of time and space as they pertain to the real world or as they pertain to virtual mediums such as video games or the internet?
Both. Quite a bit of the artwork re-contextualizes our preconceived ways of viewing time and especially space by altering the audience's perceptions of their own environment.