Studio Chair Makai Smith Talks SIGGRAPH 2012 Program
The Studio is a hands-on creative space for art and design of all kinds. A collaborative working environment where the latest technologies and brightest minds come together to learn, experiment, and create. The Studio spans the gamut of digitally enabled and traditional creative practice. It also crosses many disciplines: film, architecture, art, fashion, jewelry, music, photography, printmaking, and sculpture.
Following is a brief conversation with Makai Smith, SIGGRAPH 2012 Studio Chair from Bentley Systems. In 2001, Smith received a Master of Architecture from Arizona State University and previously served as the SIGGRAPH Design & Computation Chair among other volunteer positions.
What can attendees expect from the Studio experience this year and how will it be the same/different than last year?
The hands-on environment and creative spirit of the Studio endures. Each year we build on what works at the Studio, so attendees will find a full range of creative technologies accompanied by a talented staff of experts who are eager to help. The Studio also has a full schedule of Talks, Workshops, and Projects. In recent years, the Talks and Workshops have grown, and we are getting almost all of the Studio content via peer reviewed entries to the SIGGRAPH call for submissions.
What is the difference between a Studio Workshop, Talk, or Project?
Studio Workshops are held in a classroom setting and run as a tutorial where the participants each sit at a computer and follow a lesson. Seating is limited and first-come, first served. Some of the talks will be given by artists showing in the SIGGRAPH Art Gallery who will give instruction on techniques central to their work.
Studio Talks are the same format as Talks found elsewhere at SIGGRAPH: a session of a few talks arranged around a theme. What makes them Studio talks is that they focus on creative practice or techniques.
Studio Projects are collaborative, participatory, hands-on, creative activities. You can make something to take home. Both Talks and Workshops follow a published schedule. Studio projects run continuously throughout the conference.
For someone new to the "SIGGRAPH experience," what is your advice for how they should experience the Studio?
The Studio has many creative projects – from DIY electronics to motion capture to 3D printing. There is such a range: the best way to engage the Studio is to find something that interests you and ask, “What can I make?” Roll up your shirt sleeves, get some guidance from the Studio’s skilled staff, and create something.
How would you describe your experience as Studio Chair versus when you served as the Design & Computation Chair?
The contrast is that of breadth versus depth. The Studio is broad-based creative environment that encompasses Studio practice in many forms, whereas the Design & Computation Gallery was focused on a theme and contained finished works. In the Design Gallery it was a test of curatorial skill to gather together a body of work that explored my interest in generative design and digital fabrication. So many creative disciplines use computer graphics and work in a place they call a Studio: art, architecture, sculpture, jewelry, animation, games, dance, and music are just some of them. As Studio Chair my challenge is to cover the range of what a Studio means and make a space for attendees to participate.