“Untold HERstories: an Homage to SIGGRAPH” Moderated by

  • ©Donna J. Cox, Ellen Sandor, and Janine Fron

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Entry Number: 05

Title:

    Untold HERstories: an Homage to SIGGRAPH

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    INTRODUCTION 

    This Special Session lightning round features 12 dynamic trailblazers from SIGGRAPH history who are continually empowered by innovation into present day explorations. These women interweave stories across time that transformed digital media and shaped SIGGRAPH; while at the same time these women personally benefited from the interdisciplinary graphics community.

    They illustrate how professional networking, collaboration, and unconventional thinking make groundbreaking technologies possible. Presenters recover oral histories as veterans who helped build the foundations of computer art and the computer graphics industry from the early 80’s. They share recent innovations and contributions to present day social trends in digital and social media. These stories serve to enlighten and inspire young attendees, reinvigorate conference veterans, and elucidate the seminal period that transformed analogue games into a digital entertainment powerhouse, that gave birth to the internet and social media, that witnessed transformative innovations and that helped solidify SIGGRAPH as the ultimate computer graphics community. 

    They reveal untold stories of the women who designed Mosaic, the first visual browser; organized the first official SIGGRAPH art show; developed the first CAVE Virtual Reality system; developed the SIGGRAPH Video Review; curated the Touchware Gallery; patented the first digital PHSColograms; pioneered VROOM; developed ground-breaking scientific visualizations for the Electronic Theater; and organized special reception extravaganzas that included a dedicated AT&T satellite link to give SIGGRAPH audiences the future “look and feel” of image-data streaming that was not possible on the then-emerging Internet. SIGGRAPH gave early innovators a resounding voice when the “established art world” excluded emerging digital media and neglected creative works that are now are collectors’ items. This homage to SIGGRAPH’s impact on digital media history to the present day is a rare opportunity to assemble 12 history-making women who will present a fast-moving, trendy retrospective and visually demonstrate the powerful and evolving digital arts scene that launched new fields and careers across the globe. 

    The non-standard panel format features twelve 7-minute presenters who highlight Midwestern women’s contributions to the history of computing and graphics that may have gone overlooked. These women represent a subset of pioneers who are highlighted in a recently published volume, New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts (University of Illinois Press, 2018). This is a unique opportunity to gather these historical figures in one room to present their diverse perspectives. The lightning rounds focus on emerging technologies, personal adventures, and digital creative endeavors spanning their careers to date and their contributions to SIGGRAPH as part of that effort.

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