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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:

Brenda Laurel : Placeholder, 1993

"I came to VR wanting to walk around in my dreams. Rachel Strickland and Rob Tow and I scouted many places around Banff, Alberta and learned their stories. We worked with the Precipice Theatre Company, an environmentalist improv group, to make characters and affordances for stories in the work. The work referenced the local landscape but with an overlay of fantasy and imagination."

Rachel Strickland [with whom Laurel collaborated at Interval Research] is best known as a cinematographer and has in recent years been most interested in using spontaneous cinema for design research. Brenda and Laurel co-created Placeholder together, coproduced by the Banff Centre.

Courtesy of Brenda Laurel.

Learn More:

Herstory Lightening Talks:


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Telepresence Research:



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