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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:

Mary Rasmussen : Beauty and the Beast, Maxine Ltd, Chicago, 1989

"I thought I could take what I had learned about the human face and apply it to my MFA thesis show. I took anatomical landmarks on the human face and mapped them to homologous points on a variety of animal faces—dogs, cats, tigers, chimps, mice, and even bats. The computer then automatically aligned the homologous, or structurally equivalent points of the player and the selected animal, and morphed the human face to fit accordingly. Mouths on cats became small and delicate; noses on horses became long and flat. The software was also smart enough to retain facial information so that different players could be morphed into the same animal and still look different."

"Ellen Sandor, a pioneering 3D graphics artist, was a mentor on this project who helped me figure out where I could install this [MFA] show. She suggested Maxine Kroll’s fabulously upscale salon on Michigan Avenue. Ellen taught me the power of presentation and mentored this project to its glamorous conclusion. A hair salon seemed a good choice as not only would we be guaranteed a reliable electrical system but there was something fun about taking a sleek salon where people usually came to improve their appearance, and for one evening map their faces into the faces of animals instead."

Courtesy of Mary Rasmussen. Featured in 'New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts'.

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