The idea of a creating a Visual Proceedings, originated early in the planning of SIGGRAPH '92. The traditional Conference Proceedings documents the current state of technical and algorithmic knowledge. It has a life beyond the conference and has an enormous influence on the software and hardware features that will become generally available to the users of computer graphics. We believe that SIGGRAPH also needs a permanent record of the most creative applications of hardware and algorithms. For 1992 our answer is a second volume, the Visual Proceedings, which combines the art show and electronic theater catalogs into a single publication that will be available beyond the time horizon of SIGGRAPH '92.

The art show and the electronic theater present some of the most visually interesting applications of computing. Unlike the technology on which they are based, these works do not, if they have any lasting claim on our attention, get better. Technology improves; art changes. Past work does not become obsolete. Newer and more powerful methods may change the vocabulary and the range of issues that the contributors to the art show and the electronic theater address, but in these areas the need for a permanent record is arguably more important than in areas where the most recent work is the best work.

The combination of venues in this volume also acknowledges the blurring of distinctions between media that is a consequence of changes in the intellectual discourse concerning the nature of author/audience relationships and the concomitant extension of technological capabilities. Virtual reality, real-time interaction, computer-assisted performance, multimedia, collaborative work, and structured graphic telecommunication do not neatly or naturally sort themselves into the overlapping and ill-defined categories of artwork and animation. Also this year, the electonic theater and the art show share a projection and performance space which presents the art show reel, the screening room material, and live performance.

The Electronic Theater serves several functions. First and foremost it provides a forum for the recognition of the year's most exciting new work in computer graphics. Entries for the show are judged on technical as well as aesthetic merit, with particular attention paid to new and innovative applications. We realize that computer graphics has never meant just animation and that the field is quickly expanding to include applications and specialties unheard of only a few years ago. In response, the electronic theater has taken on the role of stimulating interest and educating the audience in the range of time-bound computer graphics in all of its emerging forms. Lastly, the electronic theater must entertain. Its role as showcase and educator would go unheeded if it were not for the sheer pleasure of attending the show. For many of the approximately 13,000 show-goers, the electronic theater represents the high point of the conference. The show audience is thoroughly diverse. It is only through maintaining these varied elements that the electronic theater has and will continue to offer something of interest to everyone.

The Art Show has a broad charter. It presents any and all applications of computer graphics and interactive techniques in which the visual or experiential product utilizes the unique qualities of computing technology to embody the content of the work. The number of distinct areas of inquiry is so great that each year only a few of them can be sampled. This year, in addition to two- and three-dimensional work of significant interest, telecommunications is represented by three large-scale experiments. Performance and virtuality are also represented. The Visual Proceedings, is, of necessity, visually dominated by static images. The essays included here point to the experiential and transactional modalities that are most in evidence in the "performances" of the art show and the electronic theater during their one week lives.

The Visual Proceedings,, like its predecessors, is a printed volume. Hardcopy, it is said, is the last refuge of fools. Witness fax versus modem. While the printed form is adequate for the reproduction of static works and probably the best for linear text, it has never been adequate for the electronic theater. Videotape has served as an admirable palliative. CD ROM seems to promise a path to a more complete visual record in the future, but that path will inevitably be littered with the ruble of obsolescent standards, copyright disputes, and lost data— unrecoverable and invaluable.

For now, welcome to our book.
John Grimes and Gray Lorig, editors


Char Davies - Stream (1991)
© Char Davies 1991
Char Davies - Stream (1991)
Backlighted transparancy
4 x 6 feet


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Put online: May 2017.