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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:

Lyn Blumenthal & Kate Horsfield : Agnes Martin : 1974 An Interview

As featured in 'New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts'.  Courtesy of the artists and Video Data Bank, SAIC.

Originally from Canada, Agnes Martin (1912-2004) moved to the U.S. in 1931. Martin lived in Taos, New Mexico from 1954 to 1957, and then moved to New York, where she established her name as an important minimalist painter. Her work differed conceptually from the minimalist movement in that it was anti-intellectual and intensely spiritual, and her grids represented meditative reflections on Taoism. For years, Martin worked only in black, white, and (occasionally) brown. Her devotees consider her a visionary — an artist possessed of perceptive powers that have transformed her style into a heightened visual experience. Martin returned to New Mexico in 1967 where she lived and worked throughout her life.

"To be an artist, you look, you perceive, you recognize what is going through your mind, and that is not ideas. Everything you feel, everything you see, your whole life goes through your mind. You have to go with it and feel it and get in the right condition and get free of the mundane," the artist tells Kate Horsfield in this interview.

A historical interview originally recorded in 1974 in Cuba, New Mexico and re-edited in 2003 with support from the Lyn Blumenthal Memorial Fund.

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