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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 Giloth, Jane Veeder & EVL : Real Time Design, Inc. Zgrass Demo, 1982

"I taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago [in 1983–84] and worked as a software designer for the start-up Real Time Design, Inc., which was established with funding by Bally and Midway Games. We were working to make ZGrass, a commercial product. I actually pio- neered the work of making a paint program with modules that you could configure. ZGrass was an extension of the language BASIC. It had a lot of visual commands in it. It was much easier to program compared to the kinds of programming courses I had taken at the university—it was rel- atively simple. But you could combine sound and image together. You could also do things in parallel, which was really important in terms of having simultaneous things happen when you were making something. I wrote my first drawing program on a Bally Arcade that had some extra memory and a keyboard added to make it possi- ble to write programs."

Copper Giloth in 'New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts'

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

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