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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:

Mary Rasmussen : Chicago Tomorrow Interview, 2000

In this premiere episode, Dr. Russ Pearl, co-developer of the Virtual Pelvic Floor, gives an interactive Virtual Reality networked anatomy lesson to both local and remote students.

"The kinds of things we did you could only do as a team. It took so much specialized expertise that you had to pull together a team. Early on, it became clear that if everybody had ownership of the project, that people were more motivated, happier, and worked together. The people who were the major players understood this was a project where the credit was split between all of us. Most of the time that worked really well. Occasionally there were people who did not like that setup, but that was rare.

This work led to further funding for new VR applications. We worked with colorectal surgeon Dr. Russell Pearl to develop the “Virtual Pelvic Floor,” a complex region of human anatomy that is underrepresented in medical school curricu- lums. We also worked with Professor Richard Fiscella to develop the “Virtual Eye.” 

Courtesy of Mary Rasmussen. Featured in 'New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts'.

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