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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:

Donna Cox & NCSA : Selected Highlights, 2019

"During graduate school, a vision emerged that art and science would converge through computer graphics technology and interdisciplinary teams. Inspired by Renaissance artists who worked with scientists to create the foundations of botany and anatomy, I coined the term “RenaissanceTeams” during the summer before moving to the University of Illinois as an assistant professor.  

I officially joined the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in August 1985. Before I left Wisconsin, my MFA advisor, Professor Cavalliere Ketchum, highlighted a new supercomputing center in Urbana and recommended that I look up the director by the name of “Larry Star” who was leading the effort. Ketchum’s misnomer fit the persona of Larry Smarr, the founding director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) in 1985. Smarr invited me to show some of my compulages at one of the opening events, where I met many scientists—including astrophysicist Michael Norman, with whom I have collaborated for over thirty years."

Courtesy of Donna J. Cox, NCSA, University of Illinois. Featured in 'New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts'.

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