SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Conference Opens in San Diego
With Yoichiro Kawaguchi's "20th Anniversary CG Performance and Opening Show"
by Lisa Smith and Steven Churchill
San Diego -- On Sunday August 5th at 6:30 p.m., Yoichiro Kawaguchi's "20th Anniversary CG Performance and Opening Show" will take center stage as one of the first events at the SIGGRAPH 2007 Computer Graphics Conference. This huge bash, affectionately called "The Sake Party" by SIGGRAPH attendees, will occur at the San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina, in the Marina Ballroom D&E (3rd Floor, South Tower). This event is open to all, free to the public. The main focus will be the premiere of Mr. Kawaguchi's newest computer animation film, which will be projected onto a 16 foot screen. There will also be a dance performance and music. Truth be told though, a big attraction of Kawaguchi's annual "CG Performance and Opening Show" is the barrels of sake which he and his team bring from Japan. Sake will be served from these barrels, being poured into traditional Japanese cups, which are square and made of wood.
Yoichiro Kawaguchi is an internationally acclaimed video artist and computer animation innovator. He is a professor at Tokyo University/Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, teaching Digital Art & Design. He graduated from Visual Communication Design at Kyushu Institute of Design in 1976. He received his Master degree from Tokyo University of Education in 1978. Creating computer graphics since 1975, Kawaguchi achieved a unique style using his "GROWTH Model", a model based on growth algorithms he developed. Self-organizing artificial life forms and highly dense creations of primal wildness represent characteristics of his work. Since SIGGRAPH 1987, he has consistently presented work in the United States during the annual SIGGRAPH conference.
Professor Kawaguchi's "GROWTH Model" is a self-organizing method to give form to one's rich imagination or to develop one's formative algorithm of a complex life form. His program generates a form, and this form is allowed to grow systematically according to a set formula. However, this "GROWTH Model" is not based on a static process that allows constructive mathematics to take its course. The creation of eddies and spirals, repetitions of simple forms of inner mathematical principles, which are hidden behind the seemingly complex outlook of living creatures, are all conceived and developed by the artist. Placing subtle forms, like that of a conch shell as a starting point, the shapes of ammonite, nautilus, tentacles, plant vines and coral become visual references for this model. The most important concept of the "GROWTH Model" is the "recursive structure," which is a repetition of simple rules within complexity. By running a genetic program implemented with this structure, Kawaguchi's program continuously produces an evolution of form. The model is not intended to create a faithful representations of reality but to produce a new bionomic pictorial space backed by an algorithm. A self-organizing form created by the "GROWTH Model" represents a creature that morphs and squirms, which might have existed in the past or that may appear in the distant future. It is a "life form of probability."
Alvy Ray Smith of Lucasfilm has commented, "Kawaguchi is one of the first of what I believe to be a new breed of artists: adventurers exploring the vast new medium of computer imagery. His unique works are evocative of living organisms, complex and dimensional, liquid and glassy and bulbous, both visual and aural treats. He is one of the brave individuals ready to grab the horns of this new beast and extract its dreams for the rest of us."
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