SPECIAL EFFECTS

PROGRAM FOR THE STANFORD PRESIDENTIAL SYMPOSIUM ON:
ENGINEERING AND THE HUMANITIES

FEBRUARY 11-12, 2000


Symposium Introduction || Detailed Schedule of Events


PRESENTERS

John Berton joined Industrial Light & Magic's computer graphics team in 1990 to work on the feature film Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Berton was the visual effects supervisor for The Mummy (1999) and Deep Rising (1997), and the Computer Graphics supervisor for Men in Black (1996). He holds a B.A. degree in Communications and Film from Denison University, and an M.A. in Art Education/Computer Graphics from Ohio State University. Prior to ILM, Berton created computer animation and electronic music for both commercial and artistic productions including Cranston/Csuri Productions, Ohio Supercomputer Center, Ohio State University and Mental Images GmbH.

Tom Brigham is the inventor of the morphing process. In 1993, he received a Technical Achievement Academy Award for "The original concept and pioneering work" in the development of this digital transformation technique. He has created a variety of special visual effects for film, television, and experimental theater. As effects supervisor for the feature film Habitat he designed particle systems effects software, and helped apply this same software to create the "Painted World" effect in the film What Dreams May Come. He lives in New York City, where his recent projects have included software control for ABC and Disney's large electronic display in Times Square. Currently he is collaborating with the architectural firm of Diller and Scofidio to create a permanent art installation for the new JFK Airport Terminal in New York.

Ed Catmull is a co-founder of Pixar and serves as the company’s vice president and chief technical officer since the incorporation of the company and is currently director of Creative Development. In 1979 Dr. Catmull brought his high-technology expertise to the film industry as vice president of the Computer Division of Lucasfilm, Ltd. During that time, Dr. Catmull managed four development efforts in the area of computer graphics, video editing, video games and digital audio. He was also a key developer of RenderMan®, the Academy Award-winning program that creates realistic digital effects for computer graphics and animation. Dr. Catmull was awarded the Scientific and Technical Engineering Award from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his work. He also won the Coons Award, which is the highest achievement in computer graphics, for his lifetime contributions. Dr. Catmull is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Science and Technical Awards Committee. Dr. Catmull earned his Ph.D. in computer science in 1974 from the University of Utah.

Hent de Vries received his PhD from the University of Leiden and taught at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and Loyola University, Chicago. He holds the Chair of Metaphysics in the Department of Philosophy of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam and is the Director of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA). He is the author of a comparative study of the work of Theodor W. Adorno and Emmanuel Levinas, Theologie im pianissimo, which is forthcoming in English translation from the Johns Hopkins University Press. He is the co-editor, with Samuel Weber, of Violence, Identity and Self-Determination (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997), and the co-editor, with Mieke Bal, of the book series Cultural Memory in the Present, also published by Stanford University. His booklength study Philosophy and the Turn to Religion was published by the Johns Hopkins University Press in 1999. Its sequel, Horror Religiosus: Philosophy, Violence, Testimony, will be published by Johns Hopkins in early 2001. With Samuel Weber, he is currently co-editing a volume entitled Religion and Media for Stanford University Press.

Thomas Elsaesser is Professor in the Department of Art and Culture at the University of Amsterdam and Chair of Film and Television Studies. His writings on film theory, national cinema and film history are frequently featured in collections and anthologies. His books as author and editor include New German Cinema: A History (1989), Early Cinema: Space, Frame, Narrative (1990), Writing for the Medium: Television in Transition (1994), A Second Life: German Cinema's First Decades (1996), Fassbinder's Germany: History, Identity, Subject (1996), Cinema Futures: Cain, Abel or Cable (1998), Das Weimarer Kino (1999), Metropolis (2000).

Paul Kaiser received his B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1978 and his Master of Education in Special Education from American University in 1983. His early work was in experimental filmmaking and performance audio tapes. Kaiser later spent ten years teaching students with severe learning disabilities, with whom he collaborated on making multimedia depictions of their own minds. This work earned him a Computer World/Smithsonian Award in 1991. In 1994, Kaiser moved to New York to found the Riverbed studio for the creation of digital art. In 1996, Kaiser became the first interactive artist to receive a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. From1995-97, Kaiser created a multimedia exploration of Robert Wilson's early work, entitled Visionary of Theater. In collaboration with his colleague Shelley Eshkar, Kaiser made virtual dance pieces using advanced motion capture technology. Two were with Merce Cunningham - Hand-drawn Spaces (1998) and BIPED (1999) - while another was with Bill T. Jones --Ghostcatching (1999). Recently Kaiser completed two sections of a long abstract projection piece entitled If By Chance, shown in December at the Kitchen in New York City. Currently Kaiser is creating projections for Bill T. Jones's new dance You Walk?, which premieres in March, and will soon begin a new collaboration with scientists at Bell Labs as part of a Brooklyn Academy of Music / Lucent fellowship. From 1996-98, Kaiser was a visiting lecturer at the Multimedia Studios Program of San Francisco State University; currently he teaches a course in virtual filmmaking at Wesleyan University.

Rob Legato received a Masters Degree in Cinematography from Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara. Legato served as alternating Visual Effects Supervisor for the TV series "The Twilight Zone" during its second season. This series led to the Paramount Studios production of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" where Legato served as Visual Effects Supervisor, Second Unit and Episode Director for a period of 5 years. Legato then took over as Visual Effects Producer/Supervisor for the newly created series "Deep Space Nine" as well as directing one of the episodes of its first season. Both "Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine" earned Legato two Emmy Awards for Visual Effects. Legato left "Deep Space Nine" after its first season to join "Digital Domain" (The Visual Effects company founded by Jim Cameron, Stan Winston, Scott Ross & IBM) and became the Visual Effects Supervisor, Second Unit Director and Effects Director of Photography for Neil Jordan's "Interview With The Vampire". This first feature led to Ron Howard's "Apollo 13" where Legato served as the film's Visual Effects Supervisor. Legato earned his first Academy Award nomination and won the British Academy Award for his effects work in Apollo 13. The next feature assignment, James CameronÕs "Titanic", spanned the next several years and proved to be ultimately one of the most successful films ever made. Besides earning Legato his first Academy Award the film went on to win a total of 11 OscarÕs (including Best Picture) and became the highest grossing movie of all time. Legato offered some late minute assistance to Martin ScorseseÕs production of "Kundun" and Michael BayÕs film "Armageddon." Legato left Digital Domain soon after and joined Sony Pictures Imageworks where he is currently working on two Bob Zemekis films, "What Lies Beneath" a Hitchcock styled thriller starring Harrison Ford and Michele Pfeiffer, and "Castaway" starring Tom Hanks.

Marshall Monroe is an internationally recognized creative strategist. A Senior Concept Designer-Director at Walt Disney Imagineering and 13-year Disney veteran, Monroe began his career in Theme Park Special Effects  and Illusion design. His credits include the Captain-EO 3-D Experience in DisneyLand, the Star Tours ride in DisneyLand and the Wonders of Life pavilion—including the popular Cranium Command show—at EPCOT in Walt Disney World. He moved on to co-found Disney’s Research & Development group, choosing to study human perception, memory, mythology, and advanced Show Systems. His "third career" finds him currently leading Blue Sky entertainment ventures and developing new forms of storytelling. Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) is the Theme Park master planning, research and development, creative development, design, engineering, production and project management subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. Monroe holds a Bachelor’s of Science in mechanical engineering and art from Stanford University. He has fifteen patents in use throughout the Disney Company and also studied  visual arts at Pasadena Arts Center. In 1997 he graduated from Disney Feature Animation’s "Animation Boot Camp," an intensive workshop surveying every aspect of animation production—from story development through ink and paint. Monroe regularly addresses professional groups in both academia and industry. Recent lecture topics have included " Form Follows Feeling" (1996), "Technology and Art" (1998), and "Innovation in Action" (1998).

Shawn Neely, a 10-year veteran of PDI's R&D team, has developed numerous effects for 2D and 3D computer graphics production. Following the successful development of a feature-based morphing technique used in several popular TV commercials and music videos (such as Michael Jackson's ground breaking "Black Or White"), Shawn co-authored a paper on morphing with PDI alumnus Thad Beier. The paper was presented at SIGGRAPH in 1992 and also included in a 1998 ACM SIGGRAPH 25th Anniversary collection of seminal works in computer graphics, referenced by many current researchers in the field of Image-Based Rendering. Most recently, Shawn developed several special-purpose rendering techniques for the DreamWorks/PDI hit animated film ANTZ, which grossed more than $175 million worldwide. A native of Canada, Shawn holds Masters and Bachelors degrees in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo. He also serves as a Scientific and Technical Award advisor for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Roger W. Romani received his degrees in Physics at Princeton and Caltech. After post-doctoral appointments at Berkeley and the Institute for Advanced Study, he came to Stanford University in 1990 where he is currently Associate Professor of Physics. His work concentrates on neutron stars and black holes, ranging from theoretical studies of pulsar magnetospheres, black hole binaries and neutron star evolution, through observations with ground and spaced based telescopes (radio-gamma rays), to development of novel cryogenic instrumentation. He has held Hertz, Sloan and Cottrell Fellowships and the Gauss Professorship at Goettingen University. He is currently vice-chair of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Board.

Denis Lerrer Rosenfield was born on  the 21st of November 1950, in Porto Alegre, Brazil.  He is Professor of Philosophy at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.  He was the Vice-President of the Brazilian National Research Council until the end of  1999.   He received his Ph.D. (Doctorat d'État) at the University of Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne (1982).   Currently, he is Editor of the Philosophical Journal "Political Philosophy," Porto Alegre, Brazil.  He has several books published in Portuguese, French and Spanish.  The most important are: Politics and Freedom (on Hegel's Philosophy of  Right), Paris, Aubier-Montaigne; São Paulo, Brasiliense; Mexico, Fondo de Cultura Económica.  Evil; Paris, Aubier-Montaigne; Porto Alegre,  L± Mexico, Fondo de Cultura Económica.  Political Philosophy and Human Nature; Porto Alegre, L± Buenos Aires, Almagesto;  Metaphysics and Modern Reason (on the Cartesian proofs of God's existence and the new meaning of Metaphysics), Paris, Vrin; São Paulo, Iluminuras.

Carl Rosendahl founded PDI in 1980 to combine his interests in filmmaking and computer graphics. Since then, PDI has successfully expanded from a specialty production facility into one of the most respected full-service animation/effects studios in the computer graphics industry. In 1996 PDI formed a strategic partnership with DreamWorksSKG to produce fully computer animated feature films. Mr. Rosendahl served as Executive Producer on ANTZ, the first feature film of the partnership. Rosendahl along with Richard Chuang and Glenn Entis received a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for the PDI Animation System in 1998. He has taught the graduate level course "Computer Animation and Visual Effects for Film and Television" at the USC Film School, is Vice Chairman of the governing board of directors of the Visual Effects Society and is a long-standing member of SIGGRAPH. A native of California, Rosendahl holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.

Vivian Sobchack is an Associate Dean and Professor of Film and Television Studies at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. The first woman elected president of the Society for Cinema Studies, she is now on the Board of Trustees of the American Film Institute. Her work focuses on film and media theory and its intersections with philosophy, perceptual studies, and historiography. Her books include Screening Space: The American Science Fiction Film, The Address of the Eye: A Phenomenology of Film Experience, two edited anthologies, The Persistence of History: Cinema, Television and the Modern Event  and Meta-Morphing: Visual Transformation in the Culture of Quick Change, and a forthcoming collection of her own essays, Carnal Thoughts: Bodies, Texts, Scenes and Screens.

Urs Stäheli teaches in the department of Sociology at the University of Bielefeld (Germany). He has received his PhD from the University of Essex for research on the deconstruction of systems theory and the Political ("Signifying Failures: Towards a Politics of Deparadoxization. Munich: Fink, 2000). Since then he has published papers on the globalization of the popular and the politics of theory. He is also author of "Poststructuralist Sociologies: Towards a Spectral Sociology" (Bielefeld: Transcript, 2000). He is currently working on discursive techniques of inclusion and imaginaries of the hybrid grotesque.

Jim Steinmeyer is a leading innovator of illusion design and has worked with virtually all the greatest productions in contemporary magic. Steinmeyer was the Magic Designer for Doug Henning from 1981 to 1987. For one of David CopperfieldÕs television specials, Steinmeyer proposed an innovative conceptŃthe scenario and the secretŃby which the Statue of Liberty could "disappear." Copperfield used the Statue illusion to close his special and created headlines with the mystery. Steinmeyer has also served a consultant for Sigfried and Roy, Lance Burton, Orson Welles, Harry Blackstone, the Pendragons, and many other magicians. He currently holds two U.S. patents in the field of illusion apparatus. Since 1987, Steinmeyer has worked as a Concept Designer and Consultant for Walt Disney Imagineering, the creative development division for the Walt Disney CompanyÕs theme parks. In this capacity he is responsible for overall concepts for rides and attractions, as well as show outlines and scripts. Steinmeyer has himself produced several television specials on magic for A&E, Fox, ABC, NBC, and the BBC. Steinmeyer has been recognized for his writing and research on the history and technology of stage magic. Through his research he has discovered the secrets and applications of many lost illusions from the early years of this century. His latest works include The Magic of Alan Wakeling. Art & Artifice and other Essays on Illusion (1998) and The Science Behind the Ghost (1999). He is a contributing editor to MAGIC magazine. In 1991 Steinmeyer was awarded The Creative Fellowship by "The Academy of Magical Arts" (The Magic Castle), recognizing his continuing inventions. The Fellowship awards, created in 1968, are magicÕs "Oscars," an constitute a lifetime achievement in the art. At 32, Steinmeyer was the youngest person ever to win a fellowship. Steinmeyer graduated in 1980 from Loyola University of Chicago with a B.A. in communications.

Michael Taussig was once a medical doctor and is now a teacher of anthropology.  He has written in what he calls a "nervous system" manner about his experiences over 30 years visiting Colombia: including the devil and commodity fetishism; shamanism in relation to colonialism; African slavery; terror; the magic of the state; sacrilege, and most recently, the beach.

Samuel Weber, who teaches Comparative Literature and Critical Theory at UCLA, is also founder and Director of that University's Paris Program in Critical Theory. He has published books on Balzac, Lacan, Freud, as well as on the relation of Institution to Interpretation and, most recently, on "Mass Mediauras", a neologistic title examining the relation between the new media and the older tradition of aesthetics. He is currently completing a book on "Theatricality as Medium", to be published by Stanford UP, as well as a study of Walter Benjamin, entitled "Benjamin's -abilities". In addition to his academic and scholarly activities, he has worked as a dramaturg in several major German theaters and opera houses, most recently on a production of "The Magic Flute" at the Ludwigsburg Summer Festival.

Wolfgang Welsch studied Philosophy, Art History, Psychology and Archaeology at the Universities of Munich and Wuerzburg. He received his doctorate in 1974 and his habilitation in 1982. He was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bamberg from 1988 to 1993 and at the University of Magdeburg from 1993 to 1998. He is currently Professor of Philosophy at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena. Visiting professorships include the University of Erlangen-Nuernberg (1987), the Free University of Berlin (1987-88), Humboldt University of Berlin (1992-93), Stanford University (1994-95) and Emory University (1998). He received the Max Planck Research Award in 1992. His main fields of research include reason and rationality, philosophy of culture, aesthetics and art theory, and 20th century philosophy. His most recent publications are Undoing Aesthetics (Sage, 1997) and Grenzgaenge der Aesthetik (Reclam, 1996).

Krzysztof Wodiczko, one of the most original avant-garde artists of our time, is perhaps best known for the politically charged images he has projected onto buildings and monuments from New York to WarsawŃimages of rockets projected onto triumphal arches, the image of handcuffed wrists projected onto a courthouse fa¨ade, images of homeless people in bandages and wheelchairs projected onto statues in a park from which they have been evicted. Wodiczko has emigrated and immigrated twice: from Poland to Canada in the 1970s, and from Canada to the USA in the 1980s. He currently splits his time between New York and Cambridge, Massachusetts, but has completed nearly 70 public projections around the world. At MIT Wodiczko established the Interrogative Design Group at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies, working together with researchers at MIT Media Lab. He also teaches in the Visual Arts program of the Department of Architecture. MIT recently published the first collection of WodiczkoÕs writings in English, Critical Vehicles (1999). His latest work has introduced such "vehicles" and "instruments" in a dozen cities in a half-dozen countries. In 1998, Wodiczko was honored with the Hiroshima Prize for his contribution as an artist to world peace.

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