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Archive for February, 2011

Capricon Science Fiction Convention 2011 Debriefing

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Capricon Live Art Sound Art Landscape
Capricon Live Art Program – Sound Art Landscape

The Capricon Science Fiction Convention was held at the Wheeling Westin Feb. 10 thru Feb 13. I arrived Thursday evening for my first panel – Requiem for the Space Shuttle. Along with fellow panelists Bill Higgins, Tracy Lunquist, and Henry Spencer, we discussed the history of the space shuttle program and its impact on space exploration. We also spent some time talking about the future of human access to space and the commercial revolution that will make it possible for private citizens to buy tickets for trips to space, i.e. space tourism. Our discussion lasted for over 90 minutes with lots of input from an enthusiastic audience.

Live Art

For me, the highlight of my participation in Capricon was my Friday morning Live Art presentation. My presentation opened with a demonstration of one of my programs for taking sound input from a microphone and processing that sound in order to create visual imagery. This was followed by my presentation which explored the subjects of algorithmic art, conceptual art, the question of is computer art art, and an explanation of my methodologies and the programming tools that I used to create the various programs. In fact a reasonable part of my presentation could be considered as a sales pitch for the field of computer art. My presentation was followed by the "show" – which involved running a number of different programs I had written to convert sound into art and letting the audience have their way with the microphone. Several of the artworks we created can be seen at A Gallery of Live Art Created at the Capricon Science Fiction Convention. The point that I sought to drive home was that while the sounds being generated by the audience were largely the same, the way in which they were interpreted visually varied tremendously based on the algorithm being used to translate the sound waves into visual imagery. For information about Live Art and my other presentations, see my Art Lectures page.

The Art of Space Exploration

Saturday morning I gave my The Art of Space Exploration presentation which provides an overview of the history of space art – beginning with early astronomical art and concluding with a discussion of space art from an artist’s business perspective. I included a couple of my own works in the presentation, including Shattered Dreams, a piece that I created as political commentary on the cancellation of NASA’s planned return of humans to the Moon and which was the cover art for the 2010 International Space Development Conference Program Book.

Capricon Odds and Ends

The rest of the weekend was spent either in conversation in the halls or over food, or attending panels on a variety of subjects. Unfortunately for me, the three programs I most wanted to see at the convention were scheduled in the same time slots as when I was speaking. My surprise meet-up of the convention was with fellow space artist John Kaufmann. This was the first time I had met John face to face – our previous meetings were of the virtual variety. John had some great astronomical art in the convention’s art show. We had a wonderful time talking shop and otherwise. Dinner Saturday consisted of an outing to a local mexican restaurant with Tullio Proni, maker of ray guns and other fine energy weapons; Bill Higgins, a beam jockey at Fermi Lab; and Nora. The other convention highlight was attending the Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog which indeed lived up to its name. In short, I had a fine, fun time at the con.

The Illustration

To illustrate this blog post, I combined two of the artworks created during the Live Art program in Photoshop and performed some additional image manipulation on them to create an abstract landscape. I also use this piece to illustrate A Gallery of Live Art Created at the Capricon Science Fiction Convention.

Referenced Links

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