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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:

Janine Fron : DAC '05 Copenhagen [presentation excerpt]

“Play Belongs to Everyone” became Ludica’s mantra. Our first paper together was called “Sustainable Play: Toward a New Games Movement for the Digital Age,” which I presented at DAC [Digital Arts Community] 2005 in Copenhagen and was later published in 'Games and Culture' [vol. 2, no. 3, July 2007]. I was part of the morning session and bravely stood up for our work and said to an international audience of about a hundred people, “If you play war, you make war.” Tracy had custom t-shirts made for her students with a slogan from the movement, “Play Hard, Play Fair, Nobody Hurt.” In our paper, we cited George Leonard, who eloquently said, “How we play the game may be more important than we imagine, for it signifies nothing less than our way of being in the world.” We highlighted ways artists used games to be playful, like the Surrealists and Buckminster Fuller, and referenced Christo and Jeanne-Claude and Robert Smithson’s Earthworks in our visual presentation. We wanted to bring a combination of these values and ideals into digital play culture while we continued to experiment with and research the origins of outdoor play, role-playing games, and traditional card and board games that were cooperative. We were essentially a collaborative group who wanted to bring a collaborative spirit into all forms of play."

Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag and Tournament Earthball were played at USC with veteran New Games Referee, Bernie DeKoven, and Tracy Fullerton with her students in 2004. Images for timelapse video captured by Kurt MacDonald.

Courtesy of Janine Fron and Ludica. Featured in 'New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts'.

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