Annual Report92

                         Annual Reports
                      June 1990 - June 1992

              Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts

PREFACE: History
Roughly speaking, ISEA is a spin-off of the Rotterdam (Holland) based
Foundation for Creative Computer Applications (SCCA). The SCCA was founded
in 1984 to promote the creative use of computer technology, as opposed to
the more common, profit-based use. The one-sided introduction of computer
technology in our society has seemed to suggest destructive cultural
consequences if the cultural world ignored, or even opposed, the use of

The SCCA played an important role in the introduction of the computer to
art schools in Holland, and organized several educational projects. Of
these, the 'Information Project: Computer Art' (which included a one-day
symposium entitled 'Computer Art, Does it Exist?'), held in Rotterdam in
1985, was the most important.

At this point it appeared that the SCCA had been successful in its role,
interesting the Dutch art community in the creative potentials of computer
use. Consequently, the SCCA decided to broaden its scope. It wished to
become active on an international level, transcending the barriers between
the various art disciplines. It was felt that electronic technology
softened the lines between traditional art forms. That, together with the
fact that the electronic revolution proceeds at a speed that makes it
very difficult to maintain a proper perspective, mandates a structured,
scientific approach towards a field that has been coined 'electronic art'.

It was decided to found an international organization, one that would
serve to mediate among the individual organizations and institutes that
were spreading throughout the field.  As an example, it was clear that
computer graphic artists knew about major computer graphics events, such
as Siggraph, and met each other there, while the computer music people
were members of the Computer Music Association (CMA) and met each other at
the International Computer Music Conferences. Both groups appeared to
be very interested in results in one another's discipline, but there was
no opportunity for them to meet. They simply didn't attend each other's

An umbrella organization was in order, and to facilitate its birth, a
symposium seemed appropriate. The planned symposium was called the First
International Conference on Electronic Art, optimistically scheduled for
1986. The name was later changed to the First International Symposium on
Electronic Art (FISEA). The SCCA tried to find symposium sponsors in
Rotterdam, ultimately reaching an agreement with the Utrecht School of Art
(HKU). The SCCA and the HKU organized FISEA as a joint operation. FISEA
took place in 1988 in Utrecht's Jaarbeurs Congress Center, smack in
the middle of Holland, with evening programs in several local theaters as
well as in the Omnimax theatre in The Hague.

FISEA was quite a success. From the reactions and the participation in the
symposium, it was clear that the initiative had met with a 'market
demand'.  Representatives came from many universities within Europe, from
the US and Australia, and from such organizations as Siggraph, CMA, Ars
Electronica, ISAST (International Association for the Arts, Science &
Technology), ANAT (Australian Network for Art & Technology), etc. Several
meetings were held to discuss the need and the possibilities for the
founding of an umbrella organization for the electronic arts. The results
of a survey among the participants indicated that practically all were in
favour of such an organization, and felt that there was a clear need for
it. The term 'Inter-Society' was coined to symbolize the meta-character of
the new, still-to-be-founded, organization.

The initial idea was that the Inter-Society would be set up by the Utrecht
School of Arts, which was also laying claim to the organization of the
second symposium, SISEA, two years thereafter.
However in June 1989, the HKU reported that it had made no progress on
either project and decided to withdraw. The founder of the SCCA, Theo
Hesper (initiator of the idea for both the umbrella  organization and
FISEA) and the former director of the SCCA, Wim van der Plas, then decided
to take the initiative themselves.  First the preparations for the Second
International Symposium on Electronic Art (SISEA) had to be set in motion
in order to organize it in 1990, as had been decided at FISEA.

The Polytechnic School in the city of Groningen, in the north of Holland,
decided to organize SISEA with Wim van der Plas in the role of executive
director. Groningen Polytechnic has an art department (music, visual arts
and architecture) that included several 'electronic activities', especial-
ly in the field of computer animation.

In order to prepare the ground work for ISEA, several meetings were
organized with a local group of experts.  The first of these meetings took
place at the Utrecht School of Arts; other meetings were held in Amsterdam
and Groningen.  Present were representatives of the SCCA, the Groningen
Polytechnic, the HKU, Eindhoven University, Groningen University, the
Dutch Broadcasting Corporation and other institutes. Several international
meetings were also staged at Siggraph (Boston, 1989 and Dallas, 1990) and
Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria, 1989 and 1990).

It was decided that:

-the Inter-Society was to have members and would have the legal form of a
'vereniging' (Dutch, refering to an organization wherein members have the
right to elect the board)

-the board was to consist of representatives from various countries and
various disciplines

-the founders would form a provisional board until enough members would be
accrued to hold elections.

-members could consist of both organizations/institutes and individuals.
This was especially aimed at artists, who often work as individuals.

According to the plans made at FISEA, the founding of the Inter-Society
for the Electronic Arts, ISEA, took place before SISEA.
SISEA was held in November, 1990.  ISEA was founded in June, 1990.
Founders and provisional board members consisted of Theo Hesper and Wim
van der Plas.

REPORT: 1990
The first thing ISEA did was to issue a press release announcing its
formation.  A membership application was produced and distributed by mail
and at Siggraph (Dallas) and Ars Electronica (Linz), as well as at the
European Meeting of Art & New Technologies in Athens.  ISEA was invited to
this last meeting and had the chance to explain its purpose there.  At
Siggraph, a meeting was held in cooperation with ASTN as part of the
scientific conference. At Ars Electronica, a press conference was staged.
Of course the most important event for ISEA was the SISEA symposium, from
12-17 November in Groningen.

SISEA was a very successful event. It consisted of a three-day scientific
symposium, two days of workshops, an art exhibition, a film and video
show, and a night of concerts and performances, all staged at the Ooster-
poort Cultural Center (excepting the workshops). In addition, there were
several public events outside the symposium location. Attendees numbered
266, while thousands of people visited the exhibition. The two evening
programs sold out completely.

A large part of the program (symposium, workshops, evening programs and
exhibition) was compiled from a selection of proposals (more than 300 were
received) sent in by artists and scientists from all over the world.  The
selection was made by an international program committee, consisting of:
Paul Berg, Theo Hesper, Kees van Oosterveld, Felix Hess (Holland), Donna
Cox, Charles Csuri, Michael Girard, Raymond Lauzzana, Tom Linehan, Roger
Malina, Stephen Pope (USA), Yoichiro Kawaguchi (Japan), Virginia Barratt
(Australia), Francois Bayle (France), John Lansdown (UK), Jurgen Claus
(Germany), Christine Schopf (Austria).
Participants came from 19 different countries. Best represented were,
respectively, Holland, USA, Germany, Sweden, Australia and the UK.

The main event, the symposium, consisted of lectures and panel discus-
sions, as is usually the case with scientific symposia. However, two
program items were new, and very representative of the philosophy behind
ISEA and the symposia: so-called Institutional Presentations (IP's) and
Poster Sessions (PS's). During IP's, organizations and institutes
introduced themselves.
A representative explained what they were doing, for whom, why, since
when, etc., often using AV materials to illustrate their points. In this
way, the organizations learned about each other, and the concept of ISEA
functioning as an umbrella organization became more concrete. The or-
ganizations and institutes that presented themselves were:
ISAST, Computer Music Association (International)
Experimental TV Center, YLEM/SCAN, Visual Engineering Lab,
Syracuse Media Studies, Siggraph, Artcom (USA)
Electronic Media Arts, ACAT (Australia)
International Directory of Electronic Arts, CETECH, INA (France),
Living Art Center (Sweden),
Computer Music Laboratory (Bulgaria),
Prometheus (USSR),
LIM (Italy),
Electronic Media Laboratory (UK),
Ars Electronica (Austria),
Center Copy Art (Canada),
The PS's were parallel sessions, with between two and five held
simultaneously. Artists told about their work in an informal setting,
making generous use of audio-visual aids. Audience members stayed with
each speaker as long as they liked, eventually moving to another. It was
clear from the participant reactions that this was a much appreciated part
of the program.

During the last afternoon, a plenary session was held: the First Plenary
Meeting of The Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts. In the panel were
representatives of ISEA itself, Ars Electronica, ISAST, ANAT, CMA,
Siggraph, a publishing company, and several others. They all stressed the
importance of cooperation.

REPORT: 1991

At this point, ISEA had been founded and had presented itself as a society
with many good intentions.  Although reaction was positive, ISEA still
remained empty handed. The two board members both had full time jobs that
didn't allow them much opportunity to work for ISEA. That is why progress
was slow during the first year. Still, progress was made:

-ISEA was promoted at several occasions and members started subscribing.

-ISEA held a meeting at Siggraph in the US again, in cooperation with
ASTN. Speaker for ISEA was Michael Girard.

-ISEA researched the possibility for starting a new journal: The
International Journal for the Electronic Arts. Many publishing firms were
approached and discussions took place with potential editors.

-ISEA took part in an EEC sponsored 'Expert Meeting on Art & New
Technologies' in September in Athens, Greece. It proposed to set up an
Electronic Mail network for artists. This would enable artists and
scientists to exchange ideas and information on an instant basis that
transcended international borders. This would eventually lead the way to a
more ambitious project: the creation of a Virtual Studio. A Working Group
was formed, consisting of representatives from the Universities of
Barcelona and Dublin, Siemens Research, the Greek Art & Technology Centre
and ISEA. ISEA is the coordinating party within the Working Group.

-ISEA took part in the initiative to begin a CD-ROM project headed by
Dr. Raymond Lauzzana. The aim is the publication of CD- ROMs containing a
visual history of computer graphics art.

-A ISEA presentation was held in Zurich, Switzerland, during the Inter-
national Summer School headed by dr. Thomas Bernold

-ISEA organized a lecture by Japanese computer graphics artist Yoshiuki
Abe in Groningen, Holland.

REPORT: 1992

This year progress became more rapid. Much is owed to a new associate: Mr.
Dirk Boon of 't Lab in Zaandam. Since he heads the ISEA secretariat,
regular communication with the members has been assured (see below), and
the board had more time to concentrate on the development of the content
of ISEA.

-From January onwards, ISEA has published a monthly newsletter.
The content and layout of the newsletter has improved with every issue. A
new logo and a letterhead were designed by Dutch artist Geert-Jan Talens.
ISEA is building up a network of correspondents. The connection with the
US is mainly based on cooperation with ISAST/ASTN and with the Ohio State
University. Computer graphic artist Yoshiyuki Abe is the new Japanese
correspondent, Roger Malina is correspondent from the USA and Ivan Pope is
correspondent from the UK. ISEA is talking to potential correspondents in
Australia, Eastern Europe (Poland) and others. Towards the end of the year
it is expected that ISEA will have a
world-wide network of correspondents.

-ISEA has been involved with the coordination of future International
 Symposia on Electronic Art, and ISEA functions to promote their con
 tinuation. Due to the great international interest in the symposia, it
 was decided that after TISEA takes place in 1992 the symposia will be
 held annually rather than bi-annually. Since ISEA and the symposia are
 European initiatives, it was considered desirable that the symposia
 should return to Europe every other year.
 For FISEA93 there were two site candidates, both within the US.
 After discussing the issue with representatives from both sites, it was
 decided that the Minneapolis College of Art will sponsor FISEA93, and the
University of Alaska at Anchorage will organize SISEA95. (The first
letter stands for Third, Fourth, Fifth etc).

 The Fourth symposium (FISEA94) is to take place in Europe. There are
 currently two candidates cities: Koln (Germany) and Sofia (Bulgaria). A
 decision will be made very soon.

-ISEA has been advising and supporting both TISEA92 (Sydney, Australia)
 coordinated now by Ross Harley (University of NSW) and FISEA93,
 coordinated by Roman Verostko (Minneapolis College of Art).

-In cooperation with the 'Athens Working Group', ISEA has applied for a
 research grant with the European Commission in order to start activities
 that will lead to an e-mail network for artists, as mentioned above.

-ISEA is currently seeking co-operation with other, related publications,
 in order to accelerate the start of the International Journal for the
 Electronic Arts.

-ISEA is now the coordinating party for the CD-ROM Project described

-ISEA gave presentations at the Nijmegen University Computer Science
 Department and at the Eindhoven University Computer Science Department.

-ISEA has helped and advised numerous individuals and organizations that
 have sought ISEA's support. It supported two american festivals:
 Montage'93 and the Rochester Animation Festival.

-ISEA sent in proposals for active participation in Siggraph and

-In cooperation with ISAST/ASTN, ISEA holds a meeting during Siggraph in
 Chicago (US).

-In cooperation with Time Based Arts ISEA is organizing a lecture by
 american artist and professor Collis Davis in Amsterdam.

ISEA whishes to acknowledge dr. Seth Shostak for his correction of the
draft version of this report.

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