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New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts captures the spirit of women working in digital media arts and education in the Midwest. These pioneers made essential contributions to the international technological revolution, helping to catalyze what we now think of as the age of digital and social media.

Our Herstory Screening Room features works that emerged from seminal events that took place at the University of Illinois and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the 1980s-2000s, in a fertile environment combining social feminist change, artistic energy, and technological innovation. While women artists in Chicago, marginalized in traditional venues, built a network of independent galleries and exhibit spaces to house and highlight their work, interdisciplinary Renaissance Teams at the University of Illinois developed advanced academic computing communities that created a bridge to the humanities and forged new partnerships between the artist and the scientific environment. Behind this revolution lay a history of social change, artistic innovation, women’s civic leadership, and breakthroughs in science and technology.

Please enjoy a curated video art selection of featured works that were included in New Media Futures:

Ellen Sandor & (art)n : A Burst of Hope: Editing the BRCA Gene, 2021

An immersive collage of paintings are interwoven with scientific renderings and a provocative, intergenerational narrative that explores one family’s challenges with overcoming their genetic disposition for the BRCA-Gene. Drawing inspiration from Ellen Sandor and (art)n’s recent collaboration with Jennifer Doudna, who along with Emmanuelle Carpenter was awarded the Nobel Prize for their discovery of CRISPR, this short film confounds viewers through a journey of strength, hope and beauty.

As heroines of STEM, Doudna and Carpenter became the sixth and seventh women to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their breakthrough genetics research. As described by Doudna, CRISPR is used as a gene editing tool to cut DNA at precise places within a cell to replace/repair sequences that may be causing a disease, including autism and cancer. It is hopeful that it can be used to heal patients diagnosed with the BRCA-Gene, increasing mortality rates and potentially reversing women’s family DNA inheritance to break women free from the cycle of this threatening disease.

As visual artist and curator, Caren Helene Rudman underwent life-saving surgeries as a result of her inherited affliction with the BRCA-Gene. She created an ethereal portfolio capturing her process of grieving, releasing her experience of living under the cloud of hereditary cancers, to inspire other women’s healing journeys through artistic expression. The juxtaposition of her paintings with the scientific sculptural renderings of CRISPR create a pathway towards recovery that merges art with science.

PHSCologram sculpture, 2D game, and virtual reality.

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