Alain Paparone

Describe your field. Why are you interested in Computer Art/ Computer Graphics and what (event, need, idea, hope, obstacle) caused your involvement? Summarize your line of development (the essence of your input to the field) in relation to concurrent technology.

Although my background as an artist is that of a traditional canvas painter, I have always believed that computer technology could enhance expression. My first contact with a computer was in 1984 and I have been involved in computer graphics ever since, using mainly two-dimensional creation software for illustrations. I have also become involved in CD-ROM creation, animation and virtual images: a field open to artists now thanks to recent technology advances.

Does the computer allow you to think visually about some topic or process in new ways? How has this influenced your work? Describe your ultimate accomplishment.

Thanks to the flexibility afforded by digital tools, imagination can now be given its full expression free from traditional technical constraints. Digital imagery tools also enable the creation of multiple versions for any one theme. Computer technology offers a wide range of creative activities with the use of a compact environment. It is the artist’s studio made into one box! Digital imagery design on CD-ROM support, website creation, the design of an “animation organ” for public multimedia events, including a live performance in Kobe, Japan, with Group Acte Kobe in July 2001 are among my achievements.

Has the field of computer art and graphics progressed in the ways that you expected? What has surprised you? What do you like about its progress and what do you wish had happened differently? What do you think the future holds for visual computing in science/art? Please make some predictions or wish lists for the near- and long-term future.

While anticipating a fast evolution, I was surprised by the pace at which technology progressed and the fact that these resouces are now available to a greater number of people†makes them a major asset for me; the only remaining problem is that of the price of full equipment, which I view as excessive, given the short lifespan of both software and hardware. In the future, through the use of nano-technologies and bionics, information technologies could increasingly be embedded in the human dimension (body and mind), which could blurr existing partitions between the virtual and physical worlds.

Describe your dream environment for enhancing your project ideas. What are your preferred tools for creating and how do they work? What tools (hardware/software) you have used initially had the strongest impact on your work?

My dream environment: a more powerful Macintosh and some pieces of software which I have found so far unaffordable. Photoshop, Painter and Illustrator are unquestionably the most attractive tools for designing fixed images while Maya and Lightwave are the ideal tools for virtual images, whether fixed or animated.

Describe how you think specific advancements in technology, (such as wireframe, hidden line removal, scanner, laser, HTML, Java applets, or any other advancement), determined the way the approaches to creating art/graphics evolved?

The most obvious advance has been in the field of 3D digital image creation with software making it possible to model our physical environment. Thus the cinema can represent a universe less an less dependent on the laws of physics and more and more deeply rooted in the realm of dreams.

For me, art is about exploring the imaginary and oddly enough, the machine serves this purpose.

How would you characterize the milestones (every ten years) in the development of computer technology? Which ones were most influential in art/graphics?

Difficult to say, because the evolution has not been a succession of a few great jumps, but rather a multitude of tiny steps. I would say that the advent of the Macintosh in 1980 then the PowerPC in 1990 were major milestones.

Which persons would you indicate as the pioneers in the particular areas/stages in which decade?

Ben Laponsky who created patterns with a first-generation computing machine in the USA in the 50s, and Edward Zajec, and Charles Csuri, USA, in the 60s.