Kites flying in night sky in the CAVE at the Image Institute, École National Supérieure d’Arts et Métiers, Chalon-sur-Saône, France, 2003. Courtesy the artist.

Jackie Matisse: Collaborations in Art + Science

New York- and Paris-based artist Jackie Matisse has been making and flying long-tailed, Asian-style kites for several decades. In 2002, through Ray Kass of the Mountain Lake Workshop of the Virginia Tech Foundation, she became involved in a radically new and technologically ground-breaking project, a collaboration with super-computer scientists to create simulated kites to fly in virtual space. The result, Kites Flying in and Out of Space, is the first virtual reality (VR) art piece to use big broadband “grid” computing full-immersion techniques. When it was shown in Amsterdam at the iGRID 2002 Conference sponsored by the science and technology center SARA (Stitchting Academisch Rekencentrum Amsterdam), Scott Bradner of Network World called it the “most emblematic demonstration of a real-time interactive, 3-D work of art” and “a beautiful personification of distributed computing.”