From Cinema to Machinima - Software, Database and the Moving Image

    A panel discussion and Second Life event
    Sponsored by the S.F.A.I. Film Department

    Monday, April 14, 2008 - 7:30 - 9:30 PM
    Lecture Hall, San Francisco Art Institute

    A panel discussion and virtual performance event to explore ways the digital medium has reconfigured the moving image and thereby redefined concepts of cinema. The digital medium has transformed the moving image. Image sequences have become discrete units that can be remixed in new constellations, through software processes or interaction by the viewer. Digital interactivity is connected to databases. The possibility of assembling and reconfiguring media elements from a compilation of image sequences have created new cinematic forms.

    These emerging cinematic forms include database cinema, interactive narrative or non-narrative films, as well as machinima-filmmaking within computer games or 3D virtual worlds, such as Second Life, where characters and events can be either controlled by humans, scripts or artificial intelligence.

    "From Cinema to Machinima" will bring together artists who will present their works in the area of digital cinema. The discussion will be followed by a short performance event in Second Life, which will be broadcast in the Lecture Hall. The panel and Q&A with the audience will be streamed live in Second Life.

    Moderators: Lynn Hershman, Christiane Paul.

    Participants: Henrik Bennetsen, Char Davies, Scott Kildall & Second Front, Howard Rheingold (via Second Life), Scott Snibbe, Camille Utterback.

    Participants' Biographies


    Henrik Bennetsen works as research director at Stanford Humanities Lab. For the past year and a half he has been the head of the Lifesquared research project, which explores building a 3D immersive archive of the art of Lynn Hershman inside the virtual world of Second Life. The work was recently shown at The Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal and is planned for exhibition at SFMOMA in 2008. In Fall 2006 he was a part of the Stanford course "The Human and The Machine" that used Second Life as a teaching tool. Henrik holds a MSc. in Media Technology and Games from the IT University of Copenhagen and a BSc. in Medialogy from Aalborg University. Before his return to the world of academia Henrik was a professional musician and he has a strong side interest in creative self-expression augmented by technology.


    Char Davies is internationally recognized for pioneering artworks using the technologies of virtual reality. Originally a painter, she transitioned to digital media in the late-80s, becoming a founding director of the 3-D software company Softimage. Her most renowned virtual environment, Osmose (1995), is considered a landmark in the history of new media art. Davies has also published numerous essays on virtual space, and in 2005 she completed a doctorate in philosophy (from CAiiA, University of Plymouth, UK). Recent awards include an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts (University of Victoria, British Columbia). The first monograph on her work, titled 'Char Davies' Immersive Virtual Art and the Essence of Spatiality' was published by University of Toronto Press in 2007. Most recently, Davies' practice has expanded from "virtual" to "actual" place. Working with streams, forest and the enveloping horizon, she is currently shaping another immersive environment, on 500 acres of land in Québec near the Vermont border. When Davies is not on her land, she lives in San Francisco.


    Lynn Hershman Leeson has worked extensively in photography, video, film, performance, installation, and interactive and net-based media. She has received numerous awards, among them the Prix Ars Electronica's Golden Nica (1999), a ZKM/Siemens Media Arts Award, a Flintridge Foundation Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts, and the International Association of Digital Arts award for "innovative storytelling." Hershman Leeson wrote, directed and produced several films, among them Teknolust, starring Tilda Swinton, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and Berlin International Flm Festival, and received The Alfred P. Sloan Film Prize. Her first feature film, Conceiving Ada, was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. Lynn Hershman Leeson is an Emeritus Professor at the University of California, Davis, and an A.D. White Professor at Large at Cornell University, and Chair of the Film Department at the San Francisco Art Institute.


    Scott Kildall is cross-disciplinary artist working with video, installation, prints, sculpture and performance. The oore of his artwork is formed by material he gathers from the public realm. Through this method, he uncovers relationships between human memory and social media technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Philosophy from Brown University and a Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago through the Art & Technology Studies Department. He has exhibited internationally in galleries and museums in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, Helsinki, Ireland, Spain and Romania. He has received fellowships and awards from organizations including the Kala Art Institute and is a founding member of Second Front-the first performance art group in Second Life. He currently resides in San Francisco.


    Christiane Paul is the Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the director of Intelligent Agent, a service organization dedicated to digital art. She has written extensively on new media arts, and a revised version of her book Digital Art (Thames & Hudson, 2003) as well as the anthology New Media in the White Cube and Beyond - Curatorial Models for Digital Art (UC Press) will be published this year. She teaches as adjunct faculty in the MFA computer arts department at the School of Visual Arts in New York, the Digital+Media Department of the Rhode Island School of Design, the San Francisco Art Institute and the University of California at Berkeley. At the Whitney Museum, she curated the shows "Profiling" (2007) and "Data Dynamics" (2001); the net art selection for the 2002 Whitney Biennial; the online exhibition "CODeDOC" (2002) for artport, the Whitney Museum's online portal to Internet art for which she is responsible; as well as "Follow Through" by Scott Paterson and Jennifer Crowe (2005). Other recent curatorial work includes "SOS 4.8" (Spain, 2008); "Feedback" (Laboral Center for Art and Industrial Creation, Gijon, Asturias, Spain, 2007); and "Second Natures" (Eli & Edythe Broad Art Center, UCLA, LA, 2006).


    Howard Rheingold is the author of the acclaimed books Tools for Thought (1985), The Virtual Community (2000), and Smart Mobs (2003). He has been the editor of Whole Earth Review, and The Millennium Whole Earth Catalog, the founding executive editor of Hotwired, and founder of Electric Minds. Rheingold has taught classes on participatory and social media and virtual community at UC Berkeley and Stanford University and is a Visiting Professor at De Montfort University, UK. His current projects include The Social Media Virtual Classroom, an online community for teachers and students for which he received an HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation grantee; The Cooperation Project, aimed at building an interdisciplinary framework for understanding cooperation, and Participatory Media Literacy.


    Scott Snibbe's immersive interactive artworks have been installed in over one hundred art museums, performance spaces, science museums and public spaces worldwide since 1995, including the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York); the InterCommunications Center (Tokyo); Ars Electronica (Austria); the Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), Science Museum (London); the Exploratorium (San Francisco), the Phaeno Science Center (Germany); and the Cité de Science (Paris, France). He has been awarded a variety of international prizes, including the Prix Ars Electronica and a Rockefeller New Media Fellowship. He is the founder of two companies: Snibbe Interactive, Inc., which sells and distributes interactive installations for public spaces; and Sona Research, which engages in educational and cultural research. In 2007 he was awarded a National Science Foundation Grant for research in Interactive Narrative.
    Snibbe holds Bachelor's degrees in Computer Science and Fine Art, and a Master's in Computer Science from Brown University. He studied experimental animation at the Rhode Island School of Design and has taught media art and experimental film at Brown University, The San Francisco Art Institute, the California Institute of the Arts, The Rhode Island School of Design and UC Berkeley. Snibbe worked at Adobe Systems as a Computer Scientist and held research positions at Interval Research.


    Camille Utterback is an internationally acclaimed artist whose work explores the aesthetic and experiential possibilities of linking computational systems to human movement and gesture in layered and often humorous ways. Her work focuses attention on the continued relevance and richness of the body in our increasingly mediated world.
    Utterback's extensive exhibition history includes more than fifty shows on four continents. Awards include a Transmediale International Media Art Festival Award (2005), and a Rockefeller Foundation New Media Fellowship (2002), a Whitney Museum commission for their artport website (2002), and a US Patent (2004). Her work has been collected by The La Caixa Foundation (Barcelona), Itau Cultural (Brazil), Hewlett Packard, The Pittsburgh Children's Museum, and others. Recent projects include a large-scale interactive projection on the San Jose City Hall commissioned by ZeroOne and the City of San Jose.
    Utterback holds a BA in Art from Williams College, and a Masters degree from The Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She lives and works in San Francisco.