ICE Summit

The ICE Summit was held in Athens, Georgia on April 25-27, 2001. The intent was to gather a group of national and international artists interested in issues of collaboration and new forms of art, often involving multiple disciplines. The event included three days of public discussions, performances and think-tank meetings about the potential of collaborations often involving new technologies in the arts. Panels focused on the nature of collaboration, technology and culture.

The ICE Summit was sponsored by the University of Georgia and coordinated by members of the UGA arts faculty including: Carmon Colangelo, Director and Professor of the Lamar Dodd School of Art; David Saltz, Professor of Drama; Bala Sarasvati, Head and Professor of Dance. Leonard “Chic” Ball professor of Music and Julie Checkoway, Professor of Creative Writing.

Participants included: Colin Fallows, Liverpool John Moores University; Steve Murakishi, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan; Mark Coniglio and Dawn Stoppiello, Troika Ranch, New York; Molissa Fenley, Visiting Professor of Dance; Scott Shamp: UGA New Media Institute; Christina Yang, The Kitchen, New York; Philip Auslander , Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, and Jim Kerkhoff, The University of Texas Austin.

The ICE Summit opened at the University Chapel on the UGA campus with a provocative keynote lecture by Jaron Lanier. Mr. Lanier’s lecture was entitled “Will Digital Art Ever Be As Good As Non-Digital Art.” Jaron Lanier is a computer scientist, composer, visual artist, and author. In the early 1980s he co-developed the first glove device for virtual world interaction and was the first to study full hand interactions with virtual objects. He coined the term “Virtual Reality.”

In addition to his computer work, Lanier has also been active in the world of new “classical” music since the late seventies. He is a pianist and a specialist in unusual musical instruments, especially the wind and string instruments of Asia. Lanier also writes on numerous topics, including high-technology business, the social impact of technological practices, the philosophy of consciousness and information, Internet politics, and the future of humanism.

His talk in the University Chapel attracted an audience of more than 250 people from the university and city. The historical antebellum chapel seemed a fitting contrast to the discussions of technologically created art. Lanier immediately cautioned artists about art created with commercial software. He also posed interesting ideas about the rapid obsolescence of technological art and the problems of digital archiving to preserve these forms as well as our culture; a hallmark of object based art. Lanier urged artists to destroy their computers (even if it was their older models) in order to focus on social humanistic issue as well as other virtuous aspects of art. His lecture was lucid and complexly layered. It provoked many positive responses from the audience.

The ICE Summit unfolded over two more beautiful spring days in Athens. The days were filled with interesting conversations, brainstorming sessions and business meetings with UGA faculty, students and professionals from partner programs. Tours of the art, drama, dance and music facilities provided a perspective of the scope and range of creative activities at UGA. Energetic evening performances by Molissa Fenley, Troika Ranch and a dance collaboration organized Bala Sarasvati in the New Dance Theatre topped of the first day. Friday morning began at the Lyndon House Art Center in downtown Athens with a business meeting. This session helped provide some very valuable insight into both the potential fruits of ICE and the potential pitfalls as well.

In the afternoon, two separate round table discussions were held. The first one was titled “Collaborations: Arts, Technologies, Cultures.” The roundtable included: Colin Fallows, Christina Yang, Steve Murakishi, Jim Kerkhoff, and Carmon Colangelo as the roundtable chair. The second panel was “Live Performance and New Media,” with Mark Coniglio, Dawn Stoppiello, Philip Auslander, David Saltz, Chic Ball, and Julie Checkaway as the roundtable chair. A special highlight included a 30-year video chronology presented by Christina Yang, documenting the history of performance art at the Kitchen in New York.

Live Performance and New Media panel discussion