Recap of Art Papers at SIGGRAPH Asia 2023 in Sydney

Moderated by: Victoria Szabo and Gustavo Alfonso Rincon
Date and Time: January 26, 2024

New York, USA Fri, Jan 26, 2024 at 7:00 pm EST
Chicago, USA Fri, Jan 26, 2024 at 6:00 pm CST
Los Angeles, USA Fri, Jan 26, 2024 at 4:00 pm PSTNew York, USA Fri, Jan 26, 2024 at 7:00 pm EST
Shanghai, China Sat, Jan 27, 2024 at 8:00 am CST
Australian Eastern Time, AET Sat, Jan 27, 2024 at 11:00 am AEDT

Session Description:

The theme of Art Papers at SIGGRAPH Asia 2023 was Crossing Thresholds. Our stories begin by crossing thresholds – waking up, leaving our homes, entering new places, navigating borders, departing one world, and entering another. Psychologists tell us that a “doorway effect” prompts forgetting as we move from one state to another, allowing us to make mental room for what comes next. How are developments in computer graphics and interactive techniques reshaping the stories we tell, the memories we keep, the perils we face, and the dreams we share? Session topics included: Aesthetics and Technique; AI and Art; Environment and Experience; and History and Critique. This session will start at a special time of 7PM EST to accommodate speakers from Asia and Australia in the session.

Reimagining Animation Making through Style Transfer
Sujin Kim     

“Dissolution” and “Incunabula” are animation projects that explore the potential of style transfer in both non-narrative and narrative animation filmmaking. The objective is to discover novel production methods using a fast, arbitrary, and stroke-adjustable neural style transfer network that would provide artists with greater technical freedom during the production process and create unique and unexplored aesthetics in moving images powered by artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms. These projects demonstrate the process of creating a new form of animation by actively guiding AI tools through art direction and advancing the aesthetics of AI-generated animation.

Session: Aesthetics and Techniques

Alternative Photographic Processes Reimagined: The Role of Digital Technology in Revitalizing Classic Printing Techniques
Chinatsu Ozawa     

The transition from film to digital has influenced photography techniques, with implications for both cultural and technical aspects. By examining the history and concepts of classical photography and incorporating computer intervention in revitalizing alternative photographic processes, we aim to expand aesthetic expressions in art, computer graphics, and our understanding of photography’s cultural significance. Integrating computer processing with techniques such as salt print, platinum print, and cyanotype, this study seeks to create a new photographic experience that embraces the joy of materializing scenery and highlights the interconnectedness of technology and art.

Session: Aesthetics and Techniques

Paper authors: Chinatsu Ozawa, Kenta Yamamoto, Kazuya Izumi, Yoichi Ochiai

Computational Three Distances: Exploring the Aesthetics of the Southern Song Dynasty and Its Adapted Simulation and Rendering
Hsiao-Ching Chou     

This paper refers to the painting theory of ‚”Three Distances‚” from the Southern Song Dynasty. It proposes a modern interpretation called “Computational Three-Distances” that uses computer algorithms as the medium. The three distances are ‚Äúmicro-distance, volume-distance, and time- distance.‚Äù Furthermore, it explores the visual characteristics and philosophic implications of the Southern Song aesthetic concept of “plainness.” Based on this theory, the Imitation of Shanshui series of generative artworks embody the aesthetic of “plainness” in the digital world and proposes new perspectives on technological applications.

Session: Aesthetics and Techniques

Paper authors: Chi-Min Hsieh, Hsiao-Ching Chou

AI Nüshu: An Exploration of Language Emergence in Sisterhood – Through the Lens of Computational Linguistics
Yuqian Sun     

This paper presents “AI Nüshu,” an emerging language system inspired by Nüshu (women’s scripts), the unique language created and used exclusively by ancient Chinese women who were illiterate under a patriarchy society. In this interactive installation, two artificial intelligence (AI) agents are trained in the Chinese dictionary and N√ºshu corpus. By continually observing their environment and communicating with each other, these agents collaborate towards creating a common writing system to encode Chinese. It offers an artistic interpretation of the creation of a non-western script from a computational linguistics perspective, integrating AI technology with Chinese cultural heritage and a feminist viewpoint.

Session: AI and Art

Paper authors: Yuqian Sun, Yuying Tang, Ze Gao, Zhijun Pan, Chuyan Xu, Yurou Chen, Kejiang Qian, Zhigang Wang, Tristan Braud, Chang Hee Lee, Ali Asadipour

AI-Generated Imagery: A New Era for the `Readymade’
Amy Smith     

This paper examines the classification of digital images created by generative AI systems and their emergence as art. The term ‘art’ defies precise definition, but there is a growing tendency to label AI-generated images as such. The current discourse on AI-generated imagery as art lacks the nuanced understanding of traditional artistic media. To address this, we introduce some philosophical considerations. By applying existing frameworks and theories of language, we argue that certain AI-generated images possess visual properties aligned with ‘readymades,’ qualifying them for consideration as art.

Session: AI and Art

Ghost In the Machine: Discourses with AI
Purav Bhardwaj     

AI systems analyze vast amounts of data, uncover patterns, and make decisions- emulating a semblance of intelligence despite lacking qualia and embodiment that form the basis of the human condition. In this paper, we expound on “Ghost in the Machine”, an interactive installation that delves into our pervasive tendency to anthropomorphize AI, ascribing human-like qualities, intentions, and even consciousness. Participants engage in dialogue with the AI as it collaboratively materializes the AI’s thoughts in moving image and generative sound. The installation attempts to forge embodiment for an amorphous AI, revealing errors in its comprehension, represented by the metaphor of hallucinations.

Session: AI and Art

Reflection on Abstract Art through Reconstruction of Kandinsky’s Teaching at the Bauhaus
Jungah Son     

Wassily Kandinsky is considered as one of the pioneers of abstract painting in Europe. In this paper, our goal is to develop a user interface that models Kandinsky’s analytical drawing process within a computational context to advance research in artificial intelligence and the arts. A user first chooses a photograph from the ObjectNet3D database, objects of which are aligned with the 3D shapes. Using the 3D shape information, the software extracts 2D projection contours. Then, it performs corner detection and finds structural networks. Lastly, the software transforms the photograph into an abstract image based on a student example.

Session: AI and Art

Paper Authors: Jungah Son, Marko Peljhan, George Legrady

Environmental Inversion: A Collection of Artworks that Subvert Methods of Climate Change Action

This paper details “Environmental Inversion,” artworks that propose a critical examination of climate change and waste creation. ‚ÄúInversion‚Äù is defined as well as its relevance to climate change research followed by profiles of several projects examining this exploratory integration. Each project consists of an energy source that reverses its intended use. Examples range from creating pollution through green energy sources to contaminating the air through filtering hardware powered by fossil fuels. The works in the series act as a critical reminder of attempts to greenify our planet, why they are pursued, and the energy-wasteful methods employed to reach these solutions.

Session: Environment and Experience

Exploring the Eco-Digital: Performative Sensing with Plants and Data
Rewa Wright     

Conceptual, creative and technical practices involving the “eco-digital‚” have been emerging since the nineteen-seventies, however this field has become more significant due to the widespread recognition of the science surrounding climate change. While there are many emergent methodologies of the eco-digital currently at play, this research looks at artistic practices engaging plants as co-composers. Articulating various situational assemblages that entangle humans, plants and data, this paper starts with a discussion of pioneering media artworks engaging both natural ecology and digital technology, before explicating a selection of recent artistic works by the authors.

Session: Environment and Experience

Paper Authors: Rewa Wright, Simon Howden

Media Interpretation: Revisiting McLuhan’s Laws of Media and Ant Farm and Architecture
Rem Rungu Lin     

This paper reexamines the work of Marshall McLuhan and Ant Farm, highlighting their enduring relevance for contemporary mediated urbanism and architecture. By exploring their historical context, connections, and influences, the authors provide insights for architects and artists navigating the complex interplay between media, technology, and the built environment. The analysis bridges the gap between historical context and contemporary practice, focusing on the motivations, possibilities, and limitations of media interpretation as a critical and creative practice. The paper address the pressing questions concerning the future design of architectural spaces and urban forms, ultimately fostering innovative approaches that challenge conventional design thinking.

Session: History and Critique

Paper Authors: Rem Rungu Lin, Kang Zhang

The Most Expensive Museum in theWorld: Three Player Cooperative Game Between VR and PC Platforms Investigating Empathy between Players and Historical Characters
Vojtěch Radakulan     

The paper describes an art installation based on a local cooperative cross platform VR/PC game for three players. The story is based on the historical story of a nuclear power plant, which was built, but never turned on because of a public referendum. The game mechanics is built upon interaction of three playable historical characters: engineer, activist, and politician. The main goal was to induce empathy in the players by replaying the game from each character’s perspective. We present the story implementation, custom made interfaces, physical setup, and an evaluation by recordings from four-month display in a public gallery.

Session: History and Critique

Paper Authors: Vojtěch Radakulan, David Sedláček

“Achi Mukua Experience Space” —— A Multi-Player Immersive Experience of Yunnan ICH Dance
Siyu Luo      Shuo Yan     

An increasing number of ICH dances are breaking the time and space limits through immersive experiences. However, these experiences often leaving participants isolated and lacking the connection to the cultural context of ICH dances. The article focuses on the design of interactive mechanisms by integrating collaborative interactions among multi-players with the collective nature of ICH dances. Additionally, it explores the use of bio-signals as feedback in multi-player dance interactions. The study aims to create an immersive and socially engaging space where participants can fully immerse themselves in the dance atmosphere and develop a deeper appreciation for the intangible heritage.

Session: History and Critique


Victoria Szabo

Victoria Szabo is a Research Professor of Visual and Media Studies at Duke University, and directs the PhD in Computational Media, Arts & Cultures and the Certificate in Information Science + Studies. Her work focuses on immersive and interactive media for digital humanities and computational media art. She is co-lead of Psychasthenia Studio, and artists’ games collective. She was Chair of Art Papers at SIGGRAPH Asia 2023 in Sydney and will be Art Papers Chair for SIGGRAPH Asia 2024 in Tokyo. She is also Chair of the Art Advisory Group for ACM SIGGRAPH and a member of the Digital Arts Community Committee.

Gustavo Alfonso Rincon

Dr. Gustavo Alfonso Rincon (Ph.D., M.Arch., M.F.A., B.S, B.A.) earned his doctorate in Media Arts and Technology at UCSB. Rincon is educated as an architect, artist, curator & media arts researcher. His academic works have been exhibited nationally & internationally along with serving clients globally. His dissertation “Shaping Space as Information: A Conceptual Framework for New Media Architectures,” led to a Postdoctoral appt. at the AlloSphere Research Facility, CNSI@UCSB.