eTech & Art & More

Sake Barrel Opening and Wearable Performance Party

by Ben Wyrick

Leave it to the Committee of the 14th Sake Barrel Reception to throw a great party. With a name like that you know something's up.

SIGGRAPH attendees took a break from papers and panels to celebrate wearable art and sake, Japanese style. The social event, now in its 14th year, filled a ballroom at the Wilshire Grand Hotel Sunday night.

Yoichiro Kawaguchi headlined the event, getting things started with a short animation projected onto a large screen. Kawaguchi's piece was abstract and surreal, featuring amorphous colored geometry that undulated in time to an otherworldly soundtrack. Kawaguchi is a professor at the University of Japan, whose talents also include choreography. That's where the "wearable" part comes in.

The evening's second performance included two female dancers outfitted with small computers and sensors which they wore on their bodies. As the dancers moved with the music, the sensors modified computer-generated abstract art which was being projected onto them. The piece lasted about ten minutes and was received with generous applause.

Then an announcement was made. It was time to open the sake barrel.

Immediately a swarm of people surrounded the center of the room. A countdown commenced: "Ten" -- wooden mallets were raised -- "six...five...four...three" -- a television camera was raised above the crowd to try and get a view -- "" -- Sake!

Drinking glasses were distributed to thirsty sake aficionados, which quickly ran out. More were ordered. Richly colored hand fans were distributed. The replacement sake glasses arrived. Children roamed the ballroom and played on the floor. Adults chatted and exchanged business cards. On a side table, full-color reproduction posters of Kawaguchi's artwork were given out.

It would have been impossible to interview everyone at the party, but it 's fair to say that a good time was had by all.

The Reception was sponsored by several Japanese firms, including the Japan Sake Brewers Association and Hewlett-Packard Japan.

All told, the evening was a success. Perhaps more could be written about the 14th Sake Barrel Reception, but I think the sake has gone to this reporter's head.


Sunday Reception

A few years ago, SIGGRAPH had one reception in the Art Galleray or in eTech. Then they split them. Now, it seems the Sake Barrel is considered by many to be the opening reception.



This page is maintained by YON - Jan C. Hardenbergh All photos you see in the 2001 reports are due to a generous loan of Cybershot digital cameras from SONY