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SIGGRAPH 98 History Project

Vol.32 No.3 August 1998

Digital Campfire

Celia Pearce
Digital Campfire Chair

Roger Wilson
Digital Campfire Co-Chair

Behind every significant innovation in computer graphics, there is a great story. To complement SIGGRAPH’s 25th conference celebration, we have created the Digital Campfire — an intimate storytelling venue that provides a context for the sharing of the legend, lore and anecdote of computer graphics. The Digital Campfire provides attendees with the opportunity to see and hear the human side of high technology: the funny stories and classic tales behind some of our most important discoveries and innovations. Hear about how things were done “in the old days,” about life without screens, about the happy accidents...and the not so happy ones; find out which SIGGRAPH papers started out as napkins, and get the inside scoop on little known facts and interesting trivia; meet “walking algorithms” and “generations” from the great institutions and projects that spawned entire branches of computer graphics —whether in an academic research setting, like University of Utah or MIT, or on a pioneering film like Disney’s Tron. This “oral history” project is our way of celebrating the people of SIGGRAPH and the continuum of ideas that has allowed us to evolve from a small and esoteric branch of computing to a major influence on global culture. It’s also a way to pass our legacy on from one generation to the next, to remember the enormous amount of effort and personal dedication that has gone into creating the computer graphics industry as we know it today.

The Digital Campfire is being held concurrently with the panels program, Wednesday July 22 through Friday July 24. It consists of five live sessions per day, some of which are then replayed in the venue on video. The first session of each day lasts one hour fifteen minutes; the remaining sessions last forty-five minutes each. Each session consists of a group of speakers each of whom will speak for approximately 5 to 10 minutes on a related topic. Some speakers are part of a “Generations” session which includes a group of individuals tied together by the same institution or projects. Others discuss their personal adventures in specific discipline areas.

The last session of each day is an open session, which includes some prescheduled speakers. We also invite anyone who has a story to tell in the given topic to drop by and tell their stories. Open sessions include:

  • The First SIGGRAPH: Anyone who was at the first SIGGRAPH conference is invited to attend and tell their story.
  • Great Moments in SIGGRAPH: Did you ever get a standing ovation? Remember the papers that caused the biggest sensations? Join us and share your memorable SIGGRAPH moments.
  • Great Napkins of Computer Graphics: Some of the greatest ideas and discoveries started out as doodles on napkins or note pads. If you have a doodle or sketch that ended up in a SIGGRAPH course, paper, panel or other presentation, bring it by and share it with the rest of the class!

Celia Pearce
President/Creative Director
Celia Pearce & Friends
P.O. Box 690
Venice, CA 90294

Tel: +1-310-390-8014

The copyright of articles and images printed remains with the author unless otherwise indicated.


Wednesday, July 22
School Daze: Academic Generations

9:30-10:45 a.m. University of Utah Generations 11:00-11:45 a.m. MIT Generations
2:00-2:45 p.m. University of Illinois, Chicago Generations
3:00-3:45 p.m. New York Institute of Technology Generations
4:00-4:45 p.m. Open Session: The First SIGGRAPH

Thursday, July 23

9:30-10:45 a.m. Tron Generations 11:00-11:45 a.m. Ancestry of Virtual Humans
2:00-2:45 p.m. Digital Architecture
3:00-3:45 p.m. Pioneer Women
4:00-4:45 p.m. Open Session: Great Moments at SIGGRAPH

Friday, July 24

9:30-10:45 a.m. GUI Generations 11:00-11:45 a.m. Virtual Realities
2:00-2:45 p.m. Fun & Games
3:00-3:45 p.m. Art on the Edge
4:00-4:45 p.m. Open Session: Great Napkins of Computer Graphics

A Few Notes

This schedule is subject to change based on speaker availability. Speakers to be announced. Due to limited time, we could not include all the great stories of SIGGRAPH. Instead, we tried to collect a representative cross-section. There are many more than these, and we hope they all get told during the week of the conference, whether in the Digital Campfire itself or elsewhere.