Vibeke Sorensen is an artist working in experimental new media, including computer graphics and animation. From her early work with hybrid video synthesizers in the 1970s, through her long engagement with three-dimensional computer graphics, to her internet based pieces and architectural installations, she has created a series of prints, films, videotapes, 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. In 2001 she received a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in Film/Video/Multimedia for Sanctuary, an interactive architectural installation that explores multicultural interpretations of "safe haven."
Sorensen's works primarily focus on the exploration of consciousness through subjective multimodal forms. They explore personal and cultural identity (Solstice, 1986), memory (Morocco Memory II, 1999; Morroco Journal, 1997), perception (Maya, 1993), light and space (Sanctuary). She has had a long engagement in visual/musical works including Lemma 1 and Lemma 2, collaborations with composer Rand Steiger and mathematician Miller Puckette. Supported by a multi-year grant from Intel, they developed the Global Visual Music project (GVM), which includes a system for networked, real-time computer animation and music, experimenting with the effects of distance and latency on improvisational performance. In 1995 she produced a video work Panini Stickers (1995), with the performance art and music duo "The" (Edwin Harkins and Philip Larson).
Her 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 on 'Order, Complexity, and Beauty' at the MindShip, an
art-science research center in
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. 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 for Communication. 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, x-ray crystallographer, for research in Interactive Stereoscopic Animation and Virtual Reality at the San Diego Supercomputer Center. Together with computer scientist Phil Mercurio, they created a real-time interactive 3-D animation system (ISA) on which she created her work Maya, and which was used by groups of scientists for collective visualization of complex data. An 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. She was a juror in 2004 Emerging Technologies Exhibit.
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 collaborated 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 was Professor and Founding Chair of the Division of Animation and Digital Arts in the School of Cinema-Television at the University of Southern California from 1994-2005.
Currently she is Professor of Film and Media Studies and Fellow in the Center for Film and Media Research at Arizona State University.