A Canvas of Innovation: SIGGRAPH 2024 Art Gallery Co-Chairs on Redefining Language in Media Art

by | 5 January 2024 | Art, Conferences

Step into the future of artistic expression as we delve into the vision of SIGGRAPH 2024 Art Gallery Co-Chairs, Mohumagadi (Mohu) Moruti and Şölen Kiratli. Under the theme “Beyond Words — Transcending Language,” this dynamic duo envisions an immersive selection of artworks that defy convention, blending technology and culture in innovative ways. In our exclusive interview, Mohu and Şölen share insights into their unique curation approach, bridging the realms of computer science, design, and architecture. As they encourage artists to embrace the theme of “language,” the co-chairs offer valuable tips for crafting compelling proposals that reflect freshness, critical insight, and emotional depth. Join us on a journey where language becomes a universal tool for diverse artistic expressions, celebrating inclusivity and pushing the boundaries of media art.

SIGGRAPH: Share your vision for the SIGGRAPH 2024 Art Gallery and what themes or elements you hope to see in the submissions this year.

Mohumagadi (Mohu) Moruti (MM) and Şölen Kiratli (SK): We envision a selection of works that transcend the conventional boundaries of technological progress and explore new frontiers in cultural innovation through the nuanced integration of technology in art. The theme “Beyond Words – Transcending Language” carries a dual significance, addressing the role of language as both a means of communication and a cutting-edge technology within Large Language Models (LLMs). We anticipate not just experimentation and generative works, but aesthetics and artistic techniques that defy the status quo, expanding the horizons of what resonates with the SIGGRAPH audience and inspiring contemplation from a broader spectrum.

SIGGRAPH: As co-chairs, what unique perspectives or experiences do each of you bring to the curation process, and how will this influence the selection of artworks for the Art Gallery?

MM: Our work dynamic is pretty cool, as we form an artist-curator duo. My role as an emerging curator brings a curious, and philosophical perspective into our exchange and process. I love the notion of technology as intricately connected to our being and existence, and I think the media arts bring that out in many different ways. Beyond that, our backgrounds are quite different too, I come from a Computing-Software Engineering background, and Şölen from an Architecture and Design background, which integrates into an interesting mix. We will be looking out for different elements in the artworks.

SK: Well put. I approach the Art Gallery from the perspective of an artist and an architect. My focus is twofold. First, I would like to prompt artists to explore critical tools and artistic expressions that connect with broader societal dialogues. Second, I would like to provide artists the spatial settings that would best present their work from an experiential perspective. We do have unique perspectives and different expertise that complement one another, but I believe that our most important common ground is that we both cherish critical, experimental, and novel approaches to computational arts.

SIGGRAPH: The theme for SIGGRAPH 2024’s Art Gallery is “language.” How do you envision this theme being reflected in the program?

MM and SK: The objective of the theme was to suggest something relatable to the larger society, in tune with the ongoing technological advancements, and, crucially, to provide a voice – in a broad sense – to diverse modes of expression. To open up the conversation beyond the expert and closed tech dialogues. Our understanding of language transcends verbal or written forms, it encompasses all means of communication. This includes sound, body language, sign language, interaction with the ecosystem, and possibly other forms yet to be uncovered.

SIGGRAPH: For artists considering submitting their work, what advice or tips do you have to help them create compelling proposals that align with the goals of the Art Gallery?

MM: We hope to initiate a discourse, starting from – Language – a cultural dimension that feels most inherent to humanity, now shared with Artificial Intelligence and LLMs. To the artists in this field – I recommend fully embracing this as an opportunity to express yourself. Be creative, critical, playful, philosophical, reflective, and innovative. It’s a chance to articulate who you are, your relationship with technology, and how you integrate that with language – interpreting language in a way that you resonate with it.

SK: I second Mohu here. On a practical level, I recommend artists submit the best-quality documentation of their work as possible. Of course, I am not talking about solely technical quality, i.e., resolution, but also how well their documentation explains the piece, and tells its story. For example, even though video submissions are not mandatory (except for interactive pieces), I would encourage all artists to submit some kind of video documentation if possible.

SIGGRAPH: In what ways will the SIGGRAPH 2024 Art Gallery celebrate diversity and inclusivity, and how can artists contribute to making the gallery a showcase of varied perspectives and voices?

MM and SK: Geographically, SIGGRAPH Art 2024 hopes to extend its reach beyond its home, North America, and unite a global community of media artists, researchers, practitioners, and designers. The theme seeks to move across borders and connect diverse spheres and communities, emphasizing the use of technological tools in everyday life through design and application. Language holds the identity of nations, communities, and individuals. We contend that it serves as a gateway to varied forms of artistic expression. Our focus extends to various media, with the objective of involving artworks spanning both new and traditional media, reflecting a critical approach to the diversity of artistic creation and those who create. These examples represent a broad spectrum of communication methods, each serving different purposes and contexts. By doing so, we can encourage a broader range of perspectives and voices, ultimately enriching the discourse with a wider spectrum of insights and ideas from various backgrounds.

Ready to be a part of the groundbreaking SIGGRAPH 2024 Art Gallery? Submit your unique and innovative artworks that transcend the boundaries of language, technology, and culture before 30 January here!

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