Emerging Interactive Expression Systems: Blurring Author and Audience

Steve DiPaola, Stanford University Digital Art Center (SUDAC)

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University February 2, 2001

A new breed of interactive art systems are emerging that begin to blur the old definitions of author and audience and are opening new forms of communication and expression. Professional artists, authors and musicians are beginning to abandon the traditional process of creating a final work and, instead, are producing art creation tools of which their audience (more specifically their "interactors") use and share the authorship in the final shared creation process.

Steve DiPaola will discuss two such systems with which he has been associated: the 3D virtual community software and worlds of OnLive Traveler as well as the downloadable facial creation tool FaceLift he created for the game "The Sims" by Electronic Arts/Maxis.

Within the virtual worlds of OnLive, daily users are re-authoring not only their very personas, but are using the system to build extremely personal artwork that becomes the very parks and streets in which they live and interact.

In games like The Sims, game companies are abandoning the old approach of having artists design every character. Instead they channel the artistic talent into these art creation tools, so their users can create/publish/trade characters in ways that let users express themselves and be part of the creation process that the game company began.

These new systems begin to show what is possible with emerging art expression systems where all of us, regardless of talent, will begin to augment more traditional communication modes to express ourselves and communicate in more open-ended ways.

Steve DiPaola has been involved with of the interactive fields of 3D animation and Web-based design starting back in 1984 when he was a senior member of the computer animation research group at the NYIT. His main area of expertise at NYIT was 3D facial and character R&D, He has also published several papers and book excerpts on the subject as well as produced animation for film, TV and his Fine Art work

At Communities.com's OnLive Group, he led a team of artists, architects, UI designers and musicians in designing 3D avatar world software. OnLive's Internet-based Virtual World software and communities allow groups of people to socialize with each other by navigating through 3D spaces, meeting others and talking with their own voices through emotive, lip-syncing 3D head avatars.

He co-headed the San Francisco office of Saatchi and Saatchi's innovation arm called Darwin Digital as Creative Director. Darwin Digital was mandated to explore state of the art new media and interactive projects including several Internet based characters projects.

He is currently lecturing at the Stanford University Digital Art Center, teaching courses on Interactive Digital Narrative and Facial Animation.

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