A Message from ACM SIGGRAPH President Jessica Hodgins

Dear ACM SIGGRAPH community,

We are all struggling to understand and respond to the underlying issues surrounding yet another murder of an unarmed black man in the United States. I would like to offer support to members of our ACM SIGGRAPH family and acknowledge the pain and injustice faced by the African American community on a daily basis.

Over the past few years and with the support of ACM, ACM SIGGRAPH has taken a number of actions in an attempt to create a community that ensures the importance of the fair, equitable, and respectful treatment of all our ACM SIGGRAPH members across the world. We established a Diversity and Inclusion Committee and SIGGRAPH CARES to make it very clear that hate, prejudice, and discrimination whether in their overt or their subtle forms are not acceptable in our organization. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee will be providing resources on their web page to serve as a reference destination.  They are also hosting webinars to support and celebrate the accomplishments of all members of our community. Please send your suggestions to diversity-committee@siggraph.org to help them (and all of us) work toward an inclusive culture where all feel their voices are heard and respected.

I hesitated to write this blog post because it felt like these actions in support of diversity and inclusion, while critically important, were exactly the same actions that every other SIG and every other scientific, engineering, and artistic organization were taking.   And that these actions did not in any way address the core issues of racialized violence and inequities.   But as I have reflected on the many conversations that are occurring right now, I realized that our  community of computer graphics professionals has a critically important role in the global conversation about these issues.  Our technology is enabling visual stories to be told and those stories are a powerful way for people to understand and disseminate human experience.  With immersive experiences, participants can interact and viscerally deepen their understanding of the life experiences of groups of which they are not a part.   A few years ago, we revised the vision for the ACM SIGGRAPH to be “Enabling Everyone to Tell Their Stories.”   I don’t want to claim any particular foresight there, but I do strongly believe that enabling those impacted by racism and injustice to tell their stories visually is a powerful force for awareness and change.     The democratization of computer graphics that has occurred over the past decade through the efforts of many in the broader SIGGRAPH community will aid in that change.   

Below are a few of the animations and interactive experiences that support this idea.  Some were created by members of our SIGGRAPH community and most were not.   But all of them were made possible by technology developed by members of our broader community of professionals in computer graphics and interactive techniques.  Not all of them are comfortable to watch, but that is appropriate for such a difficult topic.

A Simple Question: Do Black Lives Matter? by Kinetic Affect and The Studio NYC

Hair Love  by Matthew A. Cherry

Purl from Pixar

Zero directed by Christopher Kezelo

The Breadwinner (trailer) by Nora Twomey

Traveling while Black

1000 Cut Journey

Use of Force by the Emblematic Group

Look Beyond the Cartoon Dogs, Racism is Real. by Jib Kodi

Kitbull from Pixar

Swing of Change by ESMA

Sad Shortfilm about Racism

Ian by Mundoloco CGI Ian Foundation | TheCGBros

The work of Jacolby Satterwhite

Floyd Norman: An Animated Life

Aphton Corbin’s student work at CalArts

Colette Gaiter: Monkey Girl Meets Alligator Boy

Philip Mallory Jones: IN THE SWEET BYE & BYE SL (a Second Life installation)

SPACE|R A C E by Colette Gaiter

The conversations that will result from this surfacing of the racism that lies beneath our society will not be easy and I am certain that this will be a twisting and tortuous path and that we will make missteps along the way.  But I remain optimistic that today’s thinkers, writers, animators, and activists will effect long lasting change that will put us in a better and more equitable place.   If you see actions big or small that ACM SIGGRAPH should take please contact me at president@siggraph.org.

Jessica Hodgins