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Vibeke Sorensen

Last Name: 
Sorensen
First Name: 
Vibeke

Sorensen is an artist working in experimental new media, including computer graphics and animation. From her early work with hybrid video synthesizers over twenty years ago, through her long engagement with three-dimensional computer graphics, to her present Internet based pieces, she has created a series of prints, installations, films, and interactive works while also experimenting with and contributing to the development of new systems and methods. Her work has received many honors and awards, and has been shown internationally on broadcast and cable television, in galleries, in museums, and in live performance. Her pieces primarily focus on the exploration of consciousness through nonobjective multimodal forms. They also explore personal and cultural identity (Every Month a Lunar Count, 1991; Solstice, 1986), memory (Morocco Memory II, 1999; Morroco Journal, 1997), perception (Maya, 1993), light and space (Sanctuary, in-progress). She has had a long engagement in visual/musical works such as her current projects Lemma 1 and Lemma 2, collaborations with composer Rand Steiger and computer scientist Miller Puckette. Supported by a three year grant from Intel, they are developing the Global Visual Music project, which includes a system for networked, real-time computer animation and music, and experimenting with the effects of distance and latency on improvisational performance. In 1995 she produced a video work, and installation Panini Stickers (1995), with the performance art and music duo "The" (Edwin Harkins and Philip Larson). Her recent work, MindShipMind (1997), is a World Wide Web piece created in collaboration with Austrian composer Karlheinz Essl. Material is derived from texts written by the 30 participants of a 3 week seminar Order, Complexity, and Beauty at the MindShip, an art-science research center in Copenhagen (July 1996). Combined with animation and music, found images on the web, and links to many other sites, it incorporates pseudo-random algorithms and weighted probabilities in recombining the many source elements to create new results each time the site is accessed. Sorensen was also commissioned by Absolut to create a new stereoscopic piece for their Absolut Panushka website that celebrates experimental animation. As asserted in her published articles on art and science, her strong conviction that artists have an important role to play in the development of technology has led to many interdisciplinary research collaborations. Her most recent work, Morocco Memory II was the subject of a major article in the Chronicle of Higher Education on this subject. From 1997-99, she worked with USC chemistry professor Dr. Mark Thompson on the development of new display technology, supported by a grant from the Annenberg Center. In 1998, she combined this work in a new set of installations along with MindShipMind in a solo show Reconstructed Thoughts at the Sweeney Gallery at U.C. Riverside. In 1989, she received a National Science Foundation Grant in collaboration with Dr. Lynn Teneyck, crystallographer, for research in Interactive Stereoscopic Animation and Virtual Reality at the San Diego Supercomputer Center. Together, they created a real-time interactive video animation system on which she created her work Maya, and which continues to be used by many scientists for visualization of complex data. A major article about it was written in collaboration with media scholar Robert Russett and published in the Journal ISAST Leonardo (MIT Press) in 1999. She was also a Visiting Research Associate at Caltech from 1984-89, during which time she collaborated with computer scientists who were developing many of the fundamental algorithms for computer graphics. Among the many computer images she created during this period, Fish and Chips has been widely published, including in Newsweek Magazine, Encyclopedia Britannica ("Art of the 1980's") and on the cover of the book Digital Visions, by Cynthia Goodman. Since the founding of the ACM SIGGRAPH Conference (the primary annual gathering of computer graphics artists and researchers) she has had an unprecedented presence for an independent artist, having works selected for the art and film shows 14 times, serving as a panelist, juror, and participating in a seminar in 1994 to discuss the future of the conference. Sorensen created programs and developed facilities for computer art at Virginia Commonwealth University (Assistant Prof. 1980-83), Art Center College of Design (Director of Computer Graphics Program 1983-85), and California Institute of the Arts (Director of the Computer Animation Laboratory , School of Film and Video, 1984-94). She also worked with Prof. David Dobkin of the Princeton University Computer Science Department to create an interdisciplinary laboratory, and a course for art and computer science students which they team-taught in 1990, 91, and 93. She is currently Professor and Chair of the Division of Animation and Digital Arts in the School of Cinema-Television at the University of Southern California.