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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:

Margaret Dolinsky : Dream Grrrls, 1998

"The first major VR piece I did was Dream Grrrls with Grit Sehmisch, a programmer who visited the lab for one year. It was great to work with another woman. Grit built tools to help me design the world so I was able to use my imagery to trigger events to occur.

Dream Grrrls, for example, allowed you to navigate inside one head, where the world became very dark as if inside a nightmare. Suddenly the navigation wand became a flashlight. The light allowed you to focus and explore parts of the walls where faces appeared. On the speaker system, there were whispers warning you to “Watch out, over there, not there. . . .” It was pretty trippy. I liked the idea that someone could literally get inside my head, my imagina- tion, and feel what it was like to be with the char- acters and have some of the emotions that I have when I am drawing them."

Margaret Dolinsky in 'New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts'

Courtesy of Margaret Dolinsky and the Electronic Visualization Laboratory, University of Illinois at Chicago.

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