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Art Gallery: technOasis
8-13 August 1999
Los Angeles Convention Center
Los Angeles, California USA
The SIGGRAPH 99 Art Gallery: technOasis inspires quiet reflection on the aesthetic aspects of digitally influenced artworks. After several decades of using digital tools, the artwork has matured and is attracting serious attention. As digital capabilities grow, new experiments emerge and new art forms and art media emerge and take shape. While certain aspects and techniques mature, other newer forms evolve. Work is no longer seen as a gimmick, but as hard hitting content.
The 100+ artworks presented include digital paintings, drawings, and photographs; sculpture; installations; Web-based projects; and site-specific works. For the first time, experienced docents will guide tours through the gallery providing insights into the artists' visions and methods.
In technOasis, the electronic arts exhibition, artists' imaginations run wild with creativity. "We have a mature show this year. Many of the works are strong and will find their way into museums and galleries around the world," said Marla Schweppe, Rochester Institute of Technology and SIGGRAPH 99 Art Gallery Chair. "Artists are using off-the-shelf software, writing software for specific art works, and having software written specifically for them"
As an audience, we experience the variety of experiments performed by these artists to communicate ideas. The questions to ask as you wander through technOasis are "What idea, thought, or vision is the artist communicating to me?" "Do I understand or am I confused?" If you find that you are confused, find a docent and ask some questions.
technOasis Highlights
SIGGRAPH 98 initiated ARTsite for Web-based artwork. Stimulation of new forms of artistic expression that wrap around and extend beyond the Web is the goal. This year's site, featuring 13 works, is available remotely via the Internet before, during, and after the conference; and available online in the Art Gallery and the Creative Applications Lab during the conference. Some of the works represented in ARTsite this year create a sense of community, connectivity, artifacts, and interactivity utilizing features unique to the Web. The method of exploration parallels the content in some of the sites, taking advantage of chance and disorientation. Well-designed Web and page/window spaces encourage exploration with images/sounds. Interesting approaches to interactions lead the participant to develop a sense of a Web space. Other works were selected because they include powerful imagery, concepts, sound, structure, and clever writing and are strong examples of electronic art, delivered on the Web.
Interactive Installations

Jean Pierre Hebert
This piece fits the mood of the Oasis. At rest, Sisyphus is an innocent sandbox. But it contains mechanisms, controls, and software that animate and shape its surface. A silver ball slowly draws in a box of sand. The end result has the feel of a Japanese garden.
Composition on the Table
Toshio Iwai
This work combines participant interaction with image and sound in a playful game-like setting. When participants touch or move switches, dials, and other inputs on the tables, projected computer-generated images react as if they were physically connected.
Unconscious Flow
Naoko Tosa
Two computer-generated mermaids function as individual agents for two viewers. The mermaid agents move in sync with the heart rate detected by an electrode attached to the collarbones of the viewers. Using a synchronization interaction model that calculates the mutual heart rate on a personal computer, the two mermaids express hidden non-verbal communication
Liquid Meditation
Margaret Watson
Within the Liquid Meditation environment, a participant explores abstract water reflections in a unique architecture that structures a narrative philosophy. A virtual space changes and becomes another space as the participant interacts with pictures on the wall.
Site-Specific Work
Several of the artworks in the show will not be housed in the gallery, but instead will be placed out in the conference area. Unsuspecting passersby may not even realize that they are walking past an artwork or that their image has been incorporated into the work. Others will stop to examine the work.
Suspended Window
Jay Lee; Bill Keays
An image of LA is influenced by images of those passing by. This interactive installation interlaces multiple layers of real and virtual surfaces, effectively suspending the normal function of the real window. As viewers wander through the interaction zone, they find themselves hovering between the laminations of this fictitious space.
Fisherman's Café
Kaeko Murata, International Academy of Media Arts and Sciences
Shadow fish swim across a cafe table as a means of silent communication. Participants "drink tea" as part of the process, and their movement affects the activities of the fish.
Flat Work
Each artist takes a unique approach to generating two dimensional artwork digitally. The show includes digitally inspired paintings, digital collages, algorimithicallly generated image components, images created with X-rays, images created in three-dimensional software, images created with "digital" lights, images produced on a plotter or by software that replicates the plotter look. The variety is tantalizing.
Xrays - Bladder & Tarmie
Annika Erixan, University of Gävle
Two images created by the artist living near the Chernobyl accident incorporate Xrays with three-dimensional forms in an expression of the fears and concerns that influence their daily lives.
Chaos Revenge
Mauro Annunziato
This artwork, inspired by the emerging behavior of a population of individuals interacting, reproducting, and evolving in complex systems, is produced by software written by the artist. The level of detail in the black-and-white drawing amazes the eye.
The Recordatori Series: Prairie
Paul Hertz
The image that is evocative of a hand crafted object like a quilt is created using software written by the artist. The compositions were developed from algorithmically generated tiling patterns.
Quintessential Quivers of Life
Jean-Pierre Hebert
Three images that show an evolving abstraction of the landscape within a cell as it prepares itself for division are generated in similar but different ways. Two of the images are generated on a software-driven plotter. The third image is a print created using software allowing the artist to generate plotter-like images on an IRIS print.
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