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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:

Copper Frances Giloth : Modeling the Female Body – A Survey of Computer Generated Women 1980-1993

Modeling the Female Body: A Survey of Computer Generated Women 1980-1993, color, sound, 3:00, 1994

I entered the field of computer graphics in 1978; over the next 16 years I had the opportunity to observe how women’s bodies were imaged and constructed in computer graphics in the areas of science, engineering, visualization, advertising, entertainment, and art. I was always bothered by the stereotypical images of women and how these scientists and researchers used computer generated women’s bodies to sell products or demonstrate a new feature in computer graphics. So, I re-watched about 200 hours of SIGGRAPH Video Reviews with works dating from 1977 to 1993. I collected samples of all the images of women. I wrote and asked permission to use a short excerpt from each video. This was quite complicated because it was hard to find the producers of the works from the late 70’s and early 80’s. Only Pixar rejected my request to use their larger breasted “Miami Girl” and “Mermaid Girl” in Knick Knack. Ironically, in 2003 they made a revised version of Knick Knack with flat chested females…hmmmmm

Now in 2021, I could do a new collection from the last 28 years, but I won’t because I don’t think the content would be much different.

Premiere: ACM SIGGRAPH’94 Electronic Theater, Orlando, FL, 1994.

Courtesy of Copper Giloth.

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