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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:

Annette Barbier : Beach Ball Boogie, 1978

"The coming of digital to the Chicago community began with minicomputers at EVL [Electronic Visualization Laboratory] in the mid-1970s. The PDP11 and the IP was a powerful combination used in several EVE [Electronic Visualization Events] events, annual evening-long performances. The group that formed around these instruments was an exclusive group.

So some friends and I who were women artists—Catherine De Jong (UIC undergraduate, SAIC graduate), Paula Garrett-Ellis (UIC undergraduate)—got together to produce a response to the EVE events called Beach Ball Boogie, in which we used crude analog tools like cardboard patterns placed on a revolving record player that looked like feedback patterns from some of the EVE pieces. It was a collective response and critique of what we perceived as the gendered power structure."

Beach Ball Boogie was created with collaborators Catherine DeJong Artman and Paula Garrett Ellis, and with technical assistance from Drew Browning. Courtesy of Annette Barbier. Featured in 'New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts'.

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