See Immersive Art and Virtual Reality Exhibits at SIGGRAPH 2016

The annual SIGGRAPH conference is a five-day interdisciplinary educational experience for researchers, developers, and users of computer graphics and interactive techniques.  SIGGRAPH 2016 (July 24-28 at the Anaheim Convention Center) will feature two emerging opportunities for designers and artists: immersive art and virtual reality.

Siggraph 2016 logo

Data Materialities Art Gallery

The Art Gallery at SIGGRAPH 2016 will feature 10 highly interactive and immersive art installations that illustrate the theme “Data Materialities.”

According to SIGGRAPH 2016 Art Gallery Chair Jonah Brucker-Cohen, “We have made a special effort to bring back large-scale, highly immersive displays for the Art Gallery. Our title ‘Data Materialities’ illustrates the fact that in 2016 we are all constantly surrounded by networks, information, and data. Whether these stimuli consist of electromagnetic frequencies or physical wired connections, networks are everywhere, consuming and permeating our offices, homes, schools, and public indoor and outdoor spaces.” The exhibition will expose the plethora of data and not only show its complexity,  but allow us to relate to data on a human scale.

“By injecting humor and kinetic energy to this year’s exposition, the Art Gallery will make light of these data platforms and present them on a grand scale to reveal their ubiquity,” said Brucker-Cohen.

Here are few examples of the installations SIGGRAPH visitors can explore:

Chris Benneworth, Liam Birtles, Oliver Brown, Gaz Bushell, and Anthony Rowe of Squidsoup

This large, walk-through experience uses more than 8000 individual points of suspended light to create feelings of presence and movement within physical space.

SIGGRAPH 2016 Art Gallery
Submergence © 2016 Squidsoup

The Kinetic Storyteller
Tine Bech, independent artist

This installation investigates how art, technology, and playfulness can create new systems of communication. Two beautiful swings light up and display social media messages, encouraging participants to connect while they play.

Plinko Poetry
Peiqui Su and Dequing Sun, New York University

This playful, interaction installation combines experimental blackout poetry with the “Plinko” game made famous on the TV show “The Price is Right.”  Every player can be both a winner and poet. Using text from @nytimes and @FoxNews tweets, players can absurdly recontextualize news headlines.

For more information about the Art Gallery at SIGGRAPH 2016, visit

The Summer of VR

To celebrate “The Summer of VR,” SIGGRAPH 2016 will feature an unprecedented number of experiential and cutting-edge Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) installations.

In the VR Village, attendees can explore the potential for new VR and AR formats for telling stories, engaging audiences, and powering real-world applications in fields such as health, education, entertainment, design, and gaming. The 2016 VR Village will feature real-time immersion in tomorrow’s virtual and augmented realities, including short-form immersive filmmaking.

Presenters will represent major studios, independent filmmakers, game developers, universities, and non-profit organizations such as research labs and planetariums.

“When attendees at SIGGRAPH 2015 were surveyed, many of them stated they would definitely like to see more VR and AR experiences in 2016,” explains SIGGRAPH 2016 VR Village Chair Denise Quensel. “We have assembled a diverse array of VR/AR content that will captivate attendee interest throughout the week.”

Some examples are listed below:

Parallel Eyes: Exploring Human Capability and Behaviors with Paralelled First-Person View Sharing
by Sony Computer Science Laboratories, University of Tokyo, and Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media

This multiplayer VR attraction will allow viewers to play a game of “Tag.” During the game, each player will be able to “see” each other as if they had eyes in the back of their heads inside their VR headsets. Each player will be untethered (Nomadic VR) and will be able to hide from other players.

“Parallel Eyes”: Exploring Human Capability and Behaviors With Paralleled First-Person View Sharing © 2016 Shunichi Kasahara, Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc.; Mitsuhito Ando, Kiyoshi Suganuma; Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media; Jun Rekimoto; Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc., The University of Tokyo
“Parallel Eyes”: Exploring Human Capability and Behaviors With Paralleled First-Person View Sharing © 2016 Shunichi Kasahara, Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc.; Mitsuhito Ando, Kiyoshi Suganuma; Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media; Jun Rekimoto; Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc., The University of Tokyo

MechVR: Interactive VR Motion Simulation of a “Mech” Biped Robot
Clemson University

MechVR allows participants wearing VR headsets to go inside a physical motion simulator. Each player can embody a giant biped robot machine that will walk, run, and fly and use a hand controller to hit practice targets. The physical movements of the players will match the visuals presented on their VR screens. MechVR was originally developed for flight and training simulators, but could be used to develop new attractions for theme parks.

Synthesis Suit: The Full-Body Immersive Experience
Keio University, Rhizomatika Co. Ltd., and Enhance Games

Participants will wear a full-body, haptic VR suit that includes 18 power micro-sensors synced to a choice of VR environments. Users will be able to feel the beat and pulse of music within the synced environment. The creators will also showcase a custom game interface that takes full advantage of the suit’s potenial.

VR Village Storylab
This new initiative blends narrative, 360-degree VR content into a physical lab environment. It will display a diverse assortment of VR content related to art, entertainment, academics, science, and experience design.

Other features of the VR Village include showings of VR films by Google Spotlight Stories team, Carnegie Mellon University, and Baobab Studios and presentations about:  the art and science of immersion, production for VR storytelling, and how VR experiences can be agents of change.

For a closer look at the VR Village, visit:

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SIGGRAPH Showcases Hybrid Crafts, Virtual Reality, Immersive Environments

SIGGRAPHThe annual SIGGRAPH conference is a five-day interdisciplinary education experience and conference on the latest computer graphics and interactive techniques. The 42nd annual SIGGRAPH takes place August 9-13, 2015 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles.  Highlights include: an art gallery of hybrid crafts; a VR (Virtual Reality Village; and demonstrations of how emerging technologies will affect how we work and live.

Art Gallery: Hybrid Crafts

In the display of “Hybrid Crafts” in the SIGGRAPH Art Gallery, visitors will see how skilled artists are using computational design tools in conjunction with traditional crafts. The show will emphasize the importance of craft heritage in contemporary digital design.  Gallery visitors will see how beautiful and meaningful artifacts are being produced by a machine and craftsperson working together, not by a machine or craftsperson alone.

The featured creations come from skilled makers who use computational design tools in conjunction with traditional crafts such as jewelry, bowl-making, wallpapers, and instruments.


The Hunt for Butterflies
“The Hunt for Butterflies,” by Peter Schmitt

For artworks included in the display entitled “The Hunt for Butterflies,” independent artist Peter Schmitt uses CAD, CNC machine tools, wood, plastic, metal, electronics, and mechanics “to explore the questions of how computational methods, machine tools, and fabrication resources can be used outside the paradigm of application, function, purpose and profit.”

In another display, independent artist Yael Friedman displays 3D-printed puzzle rings that are not only meant to be seen, but also be touched and played with.

VR Village

In the 2015 VR Village, attendees can explore the fascinating potential of virutal reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and immersive environments for telling stories, engaging audiences, and powering real-world applications in health, education, design, and gaming.

The 2015 VR Village at SIGGRAPH 2015 will feature real-time immersion in the latest virutal and augmented realities, including Nomadic Virtual Reality (VR), Tabletop Augmented Reality (AR), Full-Dome Cinema, and live performances and demonstrations in a 360-degree immersion dome.  The VR Village is a screening room for cutting -edge VR, AR, and Immersive Media programming.

For example, in the walk-about space of the Nomadic VR Arena, participants will use untethered headsets to freely explore immersive virtual environments. During the Immersive Explorers program, multiple visitors can explore the recreated interior of a pharoah’s tomb while interacting with 3D objects and other users.

In the “Holojam” program visitors will share a virtual space and see each other as stylized avatars, draw shapes in the air with a magic wand, and contribute to 3D sculptural artwork.

At the sit-down or stand-up Head-Mounted Display Stations, attendees can experience the latest in VR and AR programming. “Neuro” provides a VR journey through the brain of world-renowned musician Reuben Wu. “LovR” is a story of love told through neural activity captured over four seconds. Experience what happens when two lovers see each other for the first time.

Occulus Rift in Virtual Reality: Immersive Explorers
Real Virtuality: Immersive Explorers. Copyright: 2015 Artanim Foundation, Kenzan Technologies. (Photo: Business Wire)

In the Immersion Dome, visitors can follow energy from the sun to the Earth and explore the atmosphere and oceans. Immersive visualizations from the California Academy of Sciences will enable visitors to experience the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and explore the Earth’s ecosystems over the millennia.

Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Immersive Environments are pat of a fast-growing, emerging market,” said Ed Lantz, SIGGRAPH 2015 VR Village Program Co-Chair. “As it grows, there will be room for alternative and independent producers, developers, distributors, and manufacturers to make important and original contributions to consumer products and programming. For the debut of SIGGRAPH’S VR Village, my co-chair Denise Quensel and I wanted to ensure that attendees have the chance to see amazing applications that have been developed by the world’s best programmers, cinematographers, artists, and game developers that are currently out there. We also hope to inspire and bring together the larger VR community.”

Speakers who will participate in moderated talks about “VR: Creating at the Edge” include executives from Walt Disney Imagineering R&D, Sony’s PlayStation Magic Lab, Emblematic Group, and Jaunt Studios.

Emerging Technologies

The Emerging Technologies program will feature projects from various industries that demonstrate how evolving technologies and techniques impact the way we live and work. Each project and installation exhibits how innovation can improve work environments, make everyday tasks easier, or help make leisure time more enjoyable.

“As technology builds upon itself and becomes cheaper and wider spread, it’s important to see the beginnings of how see the beginnings of how it it was developed,” said Kristy Pron, SIGGRAPH 2015 Emerging Technologies Program Chair. “For this year’s conference, we wanted to find technologies that can be applied to daily life, whether it will be tomorrow or in a few
to daily life,  It’s exciting to see firsthand a technology that you can follow the development of and know that it will be relevant to you in the near future. Also, we wanted to uncover practical applications of emerging technology from various industries, such as automotive or assistive. I believe we’ve done that with the wide range of interactive installations that will be showcased.”

SIGGRAPH 2015 Emerging Technologies demonstration highlights include:

An Auto-Multiscopic Projector Array for Interactive Digital Humans
Presented by Linkoping University and the University of Southern California

With this installation, users interact with life-size 3D digital human subjects displayed via a dense array of 216 video projectors to generate images with high angular density over a wide field of view. As users move around the display, their eyes transition from one view to the next, making it ideal for displaying life-size subjects and it allows for natural personal interactions with 3D cues, such as eye-gaze and spatial hand gestures. Automultiscopic 3D displays allow a large number of people to experience 3D content simultaneously without the need for special glasses or headgear.

Ford Immersive Vehicle Environment
Presented by the Ford Motor Company

The Ford Immersive Vehicle Environment (FiVE) is a highly realistic immersive virtual reality system that addresses the unique challenges of automotive  design, engineering and ergonomics. FiVE enables a collaborative approach that allows its program teams to see and understand complex engineering issues from any customer’s perspective; while, considering aesthetic design, fit and finish, manufacturability and maintenance of a vehicle’s system.

Christie Digital Sandbox
Presented by Christie Digital

Christie Digital’s latest technology expands the capabilities of today’s automatic projection-calibration systems. This demonstration uses this technology  application to seamlessly calibrate projection-mapped displays automatically on any surface, smooth or complex, and even 3D. Christie Digital’s Sandbox presents an automatic alignment of a projection display in less than 30 seconds, even after the projector and/or surface is moved.

Semantic Paint: Interactive Segmentation and Learning of 3D Worlds
Presented by Stanford University, Nankai University, University of Oxford and Microsoft Research

This installation is a real-time system, interactive system for geometric reconstruction and object class segmentation of 3D worlds. With this system, a user can walk into a room wearing a consumer-depth camera and a virtual reality headset, and reconstruct the 3D scene and interactively segment it into object classes. The user physically interacts with the scene in the real world, touching objects and using voice commands to assign appropriate labels to
these objects.

MidAir Touch Display
Presented by Keio University and the University of Tokyo

The MidAir Touch Display integrates technology for tactile feedback, acoustic energy distribution, planer phased arrays, ultrasonic fields and aerial images through the Aerial Imaging Plate to provide visuo-tactile interaction with bare hands. This project enables users to see and touch virtually floating objects with the naked eye and their hands for true interaction. This presentation is a SIGGRAPH pick from the DC Expo in Japan.




Four Future-Focused Conferences for Creative Pros

Conferences and trade shows often let us see what types of creative skills will be the most marketable over the next five years. While it’s natural to feel comfortable attending the same conference year after year, it’s probably smarter to attend at least one conference that will challenge your view of the status quo and think about what’s next. Here are just a few examples of conferences with a focus on the future.

August 5-9 in Los Angeles

Computer graphics and interactive technology professionals will attend technical and creative programs focusing on research, science, art, animation, music, gaming, interactivity, education, and the web. An exhibition of products and services for the computer graphics and interactive marketplace will be held August 7-9.

The show’s Art Gallery will exhibit digital and technologically mediated artworks that explore the existence of wonderment, mystery, and awe in today’s world of mediating technologies and abundant data. Entitled “In Search of the Miraculous,” the exhibition will include 12 works handpicked from almost 400 submissions. The SIGGRAPH art exhibition jury included artists, designers, technologists, and critics hailing from academia, industry, and the independent art world.

Emerging Technologies demos will allow attendees to directly experience novel systems such as 3D displays. robotics, and interactive input devices.

The keynote speaker at SIGGRAPH will be Jane McGonegal, a visionary game designer and futurist,who is using alternate reality games to conduct research, build communities, connect with markets, and solve real-world problems from curing disease to addressing issues of poverty, hunger, and a world without petroleum. She currently serves as Chief Creative Officer for SuperBetter Labs.

Content Marketing World
September 4-6 in Columbus, Ohio

Logo for Content Marketing World 2012Content marketing is a fast-evolving field of marketing in which companies attract and retain customers by developing, curating, and delivering content that is relevant to their targeted buyers. The content is created for delivery through multiple channels, such as print, online video, blogs, webinars, and e-mail.

At the 2011 event, 16% of the attendees were journalists, copywriters, editors, bloggers, and others involved in content creation or content-management positions. Other attendees were company owners, partners, chief content officers, and managers or worked in other aspects of marketing, public relations, communications, and advertising.

The 70 sessions planned for the 2012 Content Marketing World include:

  • Book Publishing and Marketing for Businesses and Brands
  • Finding the Right Stories for Your Brand
  • How to Use Infographics and Visual Storytelling
  • Building Your Internal Publishing Department for Content/Social Success
  • How to Turn Your Blog Posts into an Amazon Best-Selling E-book
  • Leveraging Data to Drive Your Content Plan without Being Creepy
  • How to Reboot Your Content for a Mobile World
  • Creating an Original Video Strategy that Works
  • Creating Content that Shortens the Sales Cycle

The event will kick off with a presentation by content-marketing evangelist Joe Pulizzi. Joe founded the Content Marketing Institute that is hosting the conference.

HOW Interactive Design Conference
September 27-29 in Washington, DC
October 29-31 in San Francisco, CA

Logo for HOW Interactive Design ConfThis conference will teach designers how to transfer traditional design skills to web, digital, mobile and other interactive work. Beginning sessions are available for designers who are transitioning from print. More advanced sessions can help designers who are already experienced in web design. Sessions include:

  • WordPress Theming for Web Designers
  • Creating Content for Tablets: The Do’s and Don’ts for Touch Interactivity
  • Adapting Ourselves to Adaptive Content
  • Building Engaging Digital Advertising
  • The Role of Research in Great Interactive Design

In a general session on feedback, you can learn how to use analytics and feedback from users to improve your designs. Other topics to be covered include: HTML5, information architecture, web hosting, mobile design, web fonts, and more.

2012 Storyworld Conference + Expo
October 17-19 in Hollywood, CA

Held immediately before the Writer’s Digest Conference West (Oct. 19-21) and Screenwriters World Conference (Oct. 19-21), the 2012 Storyworld conference can help Logo for 2012 StoryWorld Conferencewriters and other content creators understand how a single storyteller with the right tools can excel at TV, film, books, web series, and games.  Producers and writers will share what they have learned by developing cross-platform entertainment and describe how a “transmedia” approach can give a story space to grow across media boundaries.

The conference will lead off with an introduction presented by Scott Trowbridge, the VP of Creative/R&D at Walt Disney Imagineering.

Sessions include:

  • Achieving Blockbusters and Evergreen in the Age of Pervasive Media
  • Narrative  Design for Interaction
  • The Rise of Data-Driven Storytelling

In a session entitled “Trans-Museum: Non-Fiction and Culture,”  speakers from the Smithsonian and Ball State University will talk about how partnerships with museums, universities, and other historical entities offer a unique way to create great transmedia experiences

Conferences Evolve with Technology Adoption

While some of topics at these fall conferences might not seem relevant to your current work, I have seen how quickly “futuristic” concepts can take hold. Over the past 15 years, I have met many entrepreneurial creatives who boldly tackled difficult technical skills long before the skills were automated and simplified for mass adoption.

Because technology marches on, so does the need for certain events. Earlier this month, I received a press release announcing that the bi-annual Cybertarts Festival will not be held in 2013. The festival was the first and largest collaboration of artists working in new technologies in all media in North America. Boston Cyberarts was launched in 1999

According to George Fifeld, director of Boston Cyberarts, “The mission of the Boston Cyberarts Festival was to promote new technologies in the arts. We were wildly successful and new media has become an integral part of arts programming and computer technology has become indispensable to the artistic process. So, it’s time to move on to new initiatives.”  Two of those initiatives include the “Art on the Marquee” digital display and The Boston Cyberarts Gallery, which will help foster the development of new practices in contemporary artmaking.