Singapore conventions don’t mix

Asia TV Festival, SIGGRAPH held at same venue

Though Singapore’s Suntec Convention Center last week played host to both the Asia TV Festival and the first Asian edition of the venerable computer graphics tradeshow SIGGRAPH, it looked as if folks at either confab had little interest in crossover.

SIGGRAPH delegates wore Google T-shirts, sported facial hair and carried laptops; the folks at ATF were kitted out in business suits and ran out to lunch at 1 p.m. sharp. SIGGRAPH accents tended more to be Korean, German and Chinese; the ATF crowd was full of languid expat British and Australian tones.

The two confabs largely seemed to ape each other’s moves and envy each other’s ground while failing to actually connect.

Aside from a stream of technical papers with baffling names (“mesh parameterization” and “discrete differential geometry” anyone?) and a job fair, much of SIGGRAPH Asia was about entertainment, mostly movies, and it included an animation film fest. Over at ATF, the talk was about content protection, digital delivery and widgets that make traditional TV look, feel and behave more like the stuff on a PC or mobile phone.

Both confabs seemed well organized, though the public relations effort was stronger for ATF, where local dignitaries actually announced policy moves rather than platitudes. And in one bafflingly, self-defeating piece of PR, SIGGRAPH handlers told journalists that they were not entitled to the goody bags that the graphics geeks were queuing to collect. That’s not how to get ahead in showbiz.

One Singapore civil servant who did sport badges to both events mused matter-of-factly on why few others had hopped between confabs:

“I suppose TV is TV and games are games,” was her illuminating response.

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