“A very necessary book that all daughters should read.”
— Shannon Jackson, Associate Vice Chancellor for the Arts and Design, University of California, Berkeley
Now Shipping in Celebration of UIPress Centennial:
New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts. Also available via Amazon and Apple iBooks
Preview: NMF Sample
“New Media Futures is poised to become a valuable study tool for those interested in the intersection between art, women artists, and technology.”
— Angelica Frey, Hyperallergic
“This is a book that can be picked up and opened to any area to explore. If you do, you will come away a little bit wiser, certainly more informed and totally impressed with what these women have done.”
— Cinda Ackerman Klickna, Illinois Times
“New Media Futures will be a rewarding read and a prized possession for scholars interested in the experimental, creative spaces for art carved out by women working between the coasts.”
— Rebecca Perry, Platypus, The CASTAC Blog
October 26, 2018
HERSTORY: Digital Innovations Symposium & Book Signing at NCSA
From left to right: Copper Giloth, Brenda Laurel, Margaret Dolinsky, Barbara Sykes, Mary Rasmussen, Maxine Brown, Carolina Cruz-Neira, Ellen Sandor and Dana Plepys
“This book would be valuable reading for anyone interested in the influence of women and the Midwest on digital arts or simply the history of digital arts as a field. Anyone from a casual reader to an artist, scientist, or academic may learn from and appreciate this work.”
— Tristan M. K. Draper, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society
Selected Book Reviews
Uncovering Hidden HERstories of Women in the Digital Arts, Rebecca Perry, Platypus, The CASTAC Blog
Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Tristan M. K. Draper, • 112 : 1 (Spring 2019)
Illinois Storytellers: NMF Book Contributor Colleen Bushell recalls Mosaic at the Center of the Universe.
Congratulations to Barbara Sykes on Ethereal Abstractions, Evanston Art Center, November 7-December 20, 2020:
"Created through a meditative, intuitive practice; the unconscious becomes conscious as colors flow across the paper and forms emerge in silence. Ethereal Abstractions evokes the spontaneity, themes and underlying presence of the Divine Feminine - reoccurring threads that reflect and continue from Sykes’s previous body of time-based and digital artwork.”
Congratulations to Claudia Hart on The Ruins, bit forms gallery, New York, September 10-October 25, 2020.
Congratulations to Joan Truckenbrod on The Flow of Woven Light, Benton County Historical Museum Art Gallery, August 14-September 19, 2020:
"Inspired by visible and invisible traces of light waves, this exhibition pairs my early coded algorithmic drawings with my current digital weaving embodying the ephemeral trajectories of light. As particles of light move through nature, shadowing and reflecting off of surfaces, and distorting as they undulate through moving water."
Congratulations to Donna Cox on being a recipient of the International Planetarium Society’s 2020 Technology Innovation Award, September 2020:
This is the eighth time that this rare honor has been bestowed since IPS, the world’s largest planetarium society, was founded in 1958. She leads NCSA’s Advanced Visualization Laboratory (AVL) in creating stunning scientific data visualizations for documentaries and planetarium dome shows.
With special appreciation and kudos, we celebrate Maxine Brown, for her many significant contributions to the digital revolution during her tenure at the University of Illinois’ Electronic Visualization Laboratory, as described in New Media Futures.
Congratulations to Tiffany Holmes for becoming an elected CAA Board Member in February 2020.
Congratulations to Carolina Cruz-Neira on joining the University of Central Florida’s Computer Science Faculty in January 2020.
Symposia, Special Events & Book Signings
HERSTORY: Digital Innovations, CAA New Media Caucus, Wednesday, February 12, 2020 @10:30 am-noon, Wilford C, Chicago Hilton
Ellen Sandor, celebrated guest author for New Media Futures, Chicago Public Library Foundation and Chicago Public Library's Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner, October 10, 2019
EXPO CHICAGO BOOK SIGNING | NEW MEDIA FUTURES, Northern Trust VIP Lounge, Festival Hall, Navy Pier, Saturday, 9/21/19 @ 2-3:00 pm
SIGGRAPH Diversity and Inclusion Summit Panel: HERstories: Women Leaders in the Digital World, July 28, 2019
Book Signing for: PHSColograms, Ellen Sandor and (art)n, Galerie Olivier R. Bijon, Arles, France, July 1-21, 2019
Book Signing for: Chicago New Media 1973–1992, Gallery 400, University of Illinois at Chicago, November 1-December 13, 2018; Friday December 7, 2018
Book Signing for: Donna Cox’s Visualizing Women, Chicago Humanities Festival, November 4, 2018
HERSTORY: Digital Innovations Symposium & Book Signing at NCSA, October 26, 2018
EXPO Chicago Book Signing for New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts, September 26, 2018
Celebrating Women in New Media Arts, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, March 18, 2016
“This book and the artists and projects recounted here will prove a key text for future generations of intrepid women working across disciplines to ask the hard questions about our place in the universe and how to best “map” the conditions they encounter. Technology is a valuable handmaiden in the advances of culture, but only when wielded with a spirit of empathy, collaboration, and care, skills in which women, in my opinion, excel.”
— Dr. Lisa Wainwright Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
“This is a fascinating and important book. It will appeal to scientists, technologists, artists, and the general public. It tells wonderfully exciting stories of creative, risk-taking women (and men) that will inspire present and future generations. These stories demonstrate that the creative spark that drives scientists and artists knows no disciplinary boundaries. And it is simply a delightful read.”
— Walter E. Massey, Past Chancellor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
“This important anthology offers riveting testimonials to the tangible contributions of women during the dawn of the digital era. Concentrated in the Midwest, these scientists, inventors, designers, and artists faced down gender bias to shape the global future of technology and culture.”
— Sara Diamond, President, OCAD University
“It was one of the formative periods in my life to be associated with many of the creative women in this book. It was a magic period, when these women helped transform the world as we knew it. I am so happy to see their innovative work is finally getting the attention it deserves.”
— Larry Smarr, Founding Director, Calit2 and NCSA
Co-Editor, Donna Cox, Keynote Speaker : SIGGRAPH 2019 Asia/Brisbane, Australia
Congratulations to Donna Cox for her Distinguished Artist Lifetime Achievement Award : SIGGRAPH 2019, Los Angeles
Since the inception of this seminal oral history project, our goal has been to reveal infrequently told Herstories of women active in the arts during the digital revolution from the 1970s-1990s and beyond. Although cultural revolutions are rarely isolated, undeniable midwestern events gave rise to artistic innovations that played a major role in the birth of New Media Arts.
Social developments, including the emergence of civic leadership in education and the arts, aligned with the merits of Chicago’s women’s movement shaped the milieu from which the intersecting narratives presented in New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts unfold. Historic women figures who propelled the women’s movement from Chicago included Jane Addams, and later Jo Freeman and Betty Friedan, while influential women artists from the midwest include Georgia O’Keeffe, Lynn Hershman, Nancy Burson, and Laurie Anderson. The University of Illinois and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago provided a foundational framework for the Chicago arts community that supported synergistic cultural environments in which the creativity and careers of the women featured in this book and on our panel could flourish.
From 2008-2012, we recorded interviews of twenty-two women whose contributions focused on 1985 as a pivotal point for a set of questions. Our HERSTORY panels at the University Club of Chicago, CAA, SIGGRAPH, NCSA and SAIC represent a breadth of generations and approaches that serve as exemplars from influential years in the 20th Century’s digital revolution that catalyzed social media and the widespread use of the Internet.
Mixed media and video art began to intermingle with computer software, networking abilities, and digital interfaces that took on new forms of cultural expression. An evolution of 20th Century New Media Arts began to emerge with the innovation of computer graphics animation, scientific visualization, interactive media, electronic games, PHSColograms, the Internet, and virtual reality CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment), all produced with collaborative teams led by pioneering artists on the prairie. These types of artistic explorations continued to develop and evolve beyond the 1990s to become known as “New Media” or “digital media.”
As stakeholders in the future of art and technology and the positive impact it could have on humanity, the women we interviewed adopted a variety of innovative, collaborative strategies in order to navigate their career paths. These trailblazing women situated themselves within experimental settings that unlocked their imaginations with the garage-art tools of their time that led to the co-creation of new forms of artistic expression. Collaboration was a strategy with a variety of motivations to be part of a larger vision that required women to cultivate the new leadership role of being “artists as producers” or “artists as directors” as each project demanded.
The cultivation of this new domain encouraged people to learn new skills and work together across disciplines, cultures, and institutions, which created a different concept of and inclusive community. It was no longer unusual for teams to be comprised of artists, scientists, technologists, designers, scholars, and educators all working on the same project, pooling together their expertise and experience. Collaboration became an avenue to access technology as well as the specialized knowledge, language, and surroundings of a like-minded community of kindred spirits.
One of our goals for this project is to inspire future generations who may continue to grapple with obstacles and reveal little-known synergies and strategies of women artistically using technology to propel cultural change. We additionally hope to provide a message for future generations to understand some of the midwestern foundations and values that helped engender the now so familiar. It is important that we all work together, with men and women on equal footing, to raise human consciousness and make the world a better place. The synthesis of the arts in New Media is a metaphor for a harmonious society. Our book is truly about women supporting each other towards this end. Many of the active women in the book continue to forge ahead with new research initiatives, teaching, exhibiting, and cultivating their expression of consciously living in today’s world. Women have become authors of their own stories. Together, we are all co-creators of our cultural heritage and stewards of our world.
Working on New Media Futures has been an incredibly enriching journey for all of us involved in this encapsulating project. We feel blessed and honored to have met, interviewed, and gotten to know these incredible women over the years to whom all of us owe an everlasting debt for their tenacity and guiding inspiration.
Stay Tuned with More to Come . . .