Jeffrey Shaw Wins 2020 Acm Siggraph Lifetime Achievement in Digital Art
By Yvonne Leung
On March 4, Melbourne-born academic, artist, and curator Jeffrey Shaw, known for his pioneering work in media art and design, was announced as the recipient of the 2020 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) SIGGRAPH Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement in Digital Art.
Jeffrey Shaw, who has been actively researching and creating digital media art for over 50 years, facilitated the usage of technologies in virtual and augmented reality as well as in immersive visualization environments which have become display archetypes. In 1969, he cofounded Amsterdam’s Eventstructure Research Group, which aimed to test the one-sided audience and screen relationship of traditional cinema with happenings and performances. In 1991, he founded the cultural institution ZKM Institute for Visual Media Karlsruhe. In 2003, he founded the iCinema Centre for Interactive Cinema Research at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, which integrates research efforts across engineering, arts, and science departments. He is currently professor of media art at Hong Kong’s City University and director of the university’s Centre for Applied Computing and Interactive Media.
Several of Shaw’s pivotal early works have been displayed at various SIGGRAPH exhibitions. Narrative Landscape (1985), which was shown at the 1985 “SIGGRAPH: Art Show” at San Francisco, combines tales from the 1972 titular novel by ltalo Calvino about the Italian traveller Marco Polo with allegorical maps and paradigms to create an onscreen projection of 28 related images, which viewers travel through using a joystick. The Legible City (1989-91), which was shown at the 1989 “SIGGRAPH: Art Show” at Boston, allowed viewers to ride a stationary bicycle through a virtual simulation of the streets of Manhattan, Amsterdam, and Karlsruhe, presented onscreen via three-dimensional text. The pathway the rider takes and the speed with which he travels is controlled by the interactive interface. Shaw’s works have also been exhibited at major museums and galleries including, among others, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Paris’s Centre Pompidou, and Shanghai’s Power Station of Art.
ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH), a subgroup of the international organization ACM formed since 1974, offers programs for its members in the computer graphics and interactive techniques industry. Its Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement in Digital Art is awarded annually to an artist who has significantly contributed to the field for more than 20 years, and has created important works that help further advance either the practice or the theory of the field. Award nominees from ACM SIGGRAPH members are evaluated by an Art Award Committee, which in 2020 was comprised of Sue Gollifer, multimedia artist and the committee chairperson; artist Peter Anders; art historian Francesca Franco; painter Paul Thomas; computer art specialist Ruth West; and artist Andrés Burbano.
The award will be presented at the 2020 SIGGRAPH Conference in Washington, DC, slated to run from July 19–23.
Yvonne Leung is an editorial intern of ArtAsiaPacific.
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