What would happen if you put a bunch of creative pioneers in the field of digital media in the same room for three days? What if they were all not just meeting together but living in the same building, and having meals together? This intensive "hot house" environment was the premise of a CDM workshop for the summer of 2014. The workshop was a joint venture between the Centre for Digital Media, which provided travel and accommodation as well as meeting and working space, and Ken Perlin, from New York University.
Six digital media pioneers collaborated, created and shared visions for the future of digital media and human computer interaction during their stay at the Centre for Digital Media.
The group was assembled by Ken Perlin, an Academy Award winning professor from NYU’s Computer Science Department. Ken Perlin is famous in both the academic and professional computer graphics world, from his days working on TRON (the first one), and breakthroughs in how we create "realistic" textures and surfaces using computers, to present day contributions in education, zooming user interfaces, and most recently work on Interpolating Force Sensitive Resistance for creating inexpensive and accurate touch-sensitive surfaces.
Ken pulled together a who's who of digital media in the 21st century, and invited them to spend a few days working together in Vancouver at the Centre for Digital Media. We provided rooms in the apartments that are part of the Centre, as well as meeting space, project development space, student assistants, and visual annotation specialist (and a graduate of our program), Melissa Wong.
Bret Victor and Ken Perlin
The group included Margaret Minsky, Bret Victor, Athomas Goldberg, Chaim Gingold, and Hiroshi Ishii.
- Margaret Minsky pioneered haptic interaction, at the MIT Media Lab, creating computational textures that you can touch and feel. She now creates multimedia artifacts exploring learning, improvisation and thought.
- Bret Victor is a director at Alan Kay's research lab, the Communications Design Group. In the past, he has designed experimental user interfaces at Apple, interactive data graphics for Al Gore, and musical instruments at Alesis ("uh-LEE-sis").
- Athomas Goldberg is the President of Lifelike & Believable Animation Design and a founding member of Pepper's Ghost Media & Performing Arts Collective.
- Chaim Gingold is a computer scientist and interactive designer by training. By trade, he is a game designer and digital toymaker. He is working on Earth Primer, an interactive earth science book, and a PhD on play and design. He works at the Computation Design Group in San Francisco.
- Hiroshi Ishii is a professor at the MIT Media Lab, directing the Tangible Media Group. He created the visions of Tangible Bits and Radical Atoms. The goal of his research is to invent new media for expression, design and communication by physically embodying digital information and dynamic computation.
Chaim Gingold and Margaret Minsky
The group spent the first 3 days of their time together brainstorming and sharing their latest work. The fourth day was dedicated to a joint presentation—a half day digital media symposium and workshop—that was held at the Centre for Digital Media.
100 digital media thought leaders were invited to participate in the Symposium this past Saturday afternoon. It gave them the opportunity to network and meet these innovators and listen to their groundbreaking ideas on the future of technology to communicate and express ideas.
After the presentations, the attendees saw demonstrations of their latest works and their work with students and collaborators, including Judith Doyle, from OCAD. A panel in which the 6 pioneers responded to questions from the audience followed the presentations and demonstrations.
We at the Centre for Digital Media were very happy to host this event and hope it is the first of many more to come.
*All photos by Robert Huang.