July 1, 2001 (revised and updated 27oct01)

Summary of Archival of material from SIGGRAPH 86 Art Show Video Retrospective and sponsored by two grants from SIGGRAPH Special Projects.

In 1986, the SIGGRAPH Art Show was devoted to a curated retrospective of "computer art / graphics" with Patric Prince as the chair and curator. I was asked to join the committee to help curate and produce a six hour video retrospective. Though some of the material came from the SIGGRAPH Video Review, the majority was directly solicited directly from the artists and/or companies that created the works. This source material was in either 3/4", 1", 16mm, or laser disk format. The final edit was mastered on 1" video in the summer of 1986 with 3/4 viewing copies for the Dallas presentation.

Owing to copyright issues, none of the material was given to the SIGGRAPH review nor made available to anyone else after the show. All original material was returned to the owners. Patric and I did send out a request to the contributors asking for permission to archive. The original 1" masters of the retrospective were put in storage with the files regarding archival permissions. One contributor requested that their material not be edited into the show and we were provided a separate 3/4" viewing tape which was returned after the show. No other requests for exclusion or removal from the master tapes were received, though archival permission was not explicitly given in some cases.

Ten years later, I submitted a "Special Projects" request to make a digital beta archive of the original show and the material that we could archive. When I submitted the proposal, I explained that, owing to copyrights and permissions, none of the material (source or beta archived) would be available to the SIGGRAPH community. The purpose of this grant was solely to take steps to preserve the material owing to age of the originals. The 1" video format is being replaced by digital formats and this increased the need to archive the material onto a newer and better format before finding a 1" machine becomes difficult, if not impossible.

The grant was approved in stages. The first stage was to archive the original 1" masters of the retrospective and to create a report stating the condition of the material, both in regards to quality and in regards to archival permissions. This was completed in 1998 and a web site was created containing this information. The contents of that site are included at the end of this document with an updating.  The second stage was then started. This involved archiving all of the source material (including pieces that did not make it onto the retrospective). This included the 16mm to 1" film transfers we made, some of which involved some color correction and repair.

The budgeting of this project was as follows:

Please note that the total is less than the $3970.00 I requested as I was able to get a better deal on tape stock than my original estimate. The vast majority of the work has been completed and the only remaining loose ends are verifying end of tape contents on two or three Betacams as the VHS dubs seem to have finished early. The amount spent already spent equals $3611.18, leaving $358.82 remaining in the project grant.

The vast majority of the material is in very good condition and we will not have to address this issue again until "another decade or so". No viewing copies have been made of any of the material with the exception of a single VHS with time-code burn-in for logging purposes. There are a couple of instances of the VHS running out of tape before the material it was reflecting had finished, so I will still need to do a bit of checking on the original 1" and BetaCam dupes.

Actually, in most cases, the original 1" is still in very good condition and we probably have a few more years where that could be used as source ... so long as 1" machines don't vanish.

A request was made for a copy of the SVR issues #80, #100, #130, and #137 to enable me to compare the material I had against the material currently released by SIGGRAPH. After viewing all of these tapes and comparing edits and quality of material, I have an approximation of unique content to the SIGGRAPH 1986 Art Show retrospective and source materials for that show.

Though it may seem to the reader that "something should be done" with this material, the copyright and permission restrictions from the original 1986 Art Show prevent any further distribution of the material. To respect these restrictions, all material is in private storage.

Of the 96 items shown in 1986 (bearing in mind that a few of these items contain multiple entries):

There is a small amount of material that was not used in the original 1986 show that could be considered for inclusion, but permissions are very unclear on these works and I am assuming they are not allowed until I find out otherwise.

Currently, I am in discussions with Dana Plepys of SVR and Nan Schaller of Special Projects regarding what I need to do for securing clearances on items whose 1986 information is questionable. I have received the necessary information from Dana recently and will be getting SIGGRAPH letterhead in the near future. Using the remaining $358.82 to cover costs, I am in the process of trying to secure the necessary permissions to permit consideration of an SVR release of material from this retrospective.

Paul Allen Newell

ACM SIGGRAPH ART SHOW 1986 :: Public Edit Session Notes

supported by SIGGRAPH Special Projects Grants 1997-2001 to Paul Allen Newell

The following is a condensation of the detailed edit notes for the 1986 ACM SIGGRAPH Art Show's six hour video retrospective from 1961-1985. That year's Art Show was chaired by Patric Prince, the video section was selected and edited by Paul Allen Newell with the assistance of Deborah Sokolove. It contains information from both the original edit and both archival projects. This version focuses on the content of the original show and the status of its further use. Please note that many of the pieces were taken from the SIGGRAPH Video Review and that, in those cases, the agreements between the author(s) and the SIGGRAPH Video Review take precedence.

All links to other documents have been disabled in this version as this is a standalone document. The original set of notes contain timecode logging, full source references, quality notes (on original and the edit), detailed "premissions" regarding use at the 1986 Art Show and future clearances, and other techincal information.

In 2001, a new set of information was added which contains the log sheets of the archive backups of all source material (this has not been included here).

It should be noted that NYIT's The Works was shown under the condition that it was not part of the final edit and kept seperate so it would not remain on any tapes after SIGGRAPH 1986. No reference is therefore made to it in this document.

This document has been checked for accuracy but no guarentee is given of such, especially regarding permissions. Updated 01jul01.


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