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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:

Barbara Sykes : Song of the River, 1997

Song of the River, 1997, is the second film produced for the series In Celebration of Life . . . InCelebration of Death . . . . It was based on Sykes’s poem of Borneo’s indigenous cultures, which she shot while traveling up Sarawak’s Rajang River to various longhouses of different indigenous tribes. The film depicts an intimate portrayal of the harmonious relationship the people of Borneo have with one another and with the river, animals, birds, and rain forest. It is a devotional piece honoring their spirituality, wisdom, integrity, and essential qualities of respect and their appreciation for life. Audio by Richard Woodbury with vocals by Louise Coultier. 

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

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