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MLTalks: Greg Brandeau and Josh Sarantitis

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Joi Ito
Greg Brandeau
Josh Sarantitis

What new technologies will enable new art forms? Before 1995 there had never been a computer-generated animated film--and then there was Toy Story. Creating Toy Story was not a simple matter of using new technology to make cheaper hand animated films; it was actually defining a completely new art form which was not previously possible. Former Disney CTO Greg Brandeau and collaborative community artist Josh Sarantitis will talk with Joi Ito about the ways in which art challenges technology and technology inspires art.

Biographies

Greg Brandeau served as the chief technology officer for The Walt Disney Studios. In that role, he was responsible for developing and implementing the Studio’s technology strategies in areas diverse as film making, marketing, and distribution. Prior to that, Brandeau held the post of senior vice president of technology for Pixar and Disney Animation Studios. He joined Pixar in 1996 as the Studio’s director of technology. After five successful years, during which he was promoted to vice president, he left the studio to broaden his expertise within other areas of technology. He returned to Pixar in 2004 and was promoted to senior vice president in 2006. In that role, Brandeau was responsible for providing, maintaining, and continually adapting the systems and technology used in creating computer animated feature films that allowed Pixar to continually be on the cutting edge of filmmaking. Among his other career milestones, Brandeau served as chief information officer for the biotechnology startup company, Perlegen Sciences. His resume also includes a variety of senior level positions in Silicon Valley, including director of Operations at NeXT. Brandeau is co-authoring a book, Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation, to be published by Harvard Press. Brandeau earned BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from MIT. After serving in the US Air Force, he continued his education at The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, where he received an MBA. 

Josh Sarantitis is a leading artist in the field of community-driven public art. He has created murals, mosaics, and installation projects across the US, including in San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland, Tucson, Phoenix, Memphis, and the Twin Cities. He has completed permanent and temporary community art in Seville, Spain; Berlin, and Paris. Sarantitis recently completed a Philadelphia mural in collaboration with writers Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Sonia Sanchez, and the rapper Common. He’s at work on mixed media installation for the School for the Deaf in Santa Fe, as well as on an outdoor project in ceramic and metal for the City of Tucson. In 2011, he spearheaded an installation with glass and light projection in the lobby of the new Hi Lab building of Harvard Business School. Sarantitis works with traditional media including ceramics, glass, fiber, cast concrete, metal, and paint—but he often incorporates innovative technology including CNC plasma, water jet, and laser in addition to the semi-automated mosaic software called Tilepile (which he co-authored). In each of his projects, Sarantitis seeks to utilize current and emerging technologies in ways that further the creative process. His goal is to create lasting works that are grounded in solid design while thinking outside the box and using technology in new and integrated ways.

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