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Artists Team Up
for the Future

Visualizing the Invisible

Artists as Stakeholders

Herstory & Beyond

1980s : Artists Team Up for the Future

In the early 1980s, Sandor explored the relationship between photography, sculpture, and video art, while being inspired by the spiritual nature of Outsider Art.  Her unique vision to integrate more traditional with nascent art forms including computer graphics, resulted in a new medium she called PHSColograms–3D barrier-screen computer-generated photographs and sculptures.  In 1983, she formed the (art)n collective with SAIC peers, James Zanzi, Gina Uhlmann, Gary Justis and Randy Johnson, whose debut installation of PHSCologram ’83 made the cover of the New Art Examiner.  

PHSCologram ’83 attracted the attention of Dan Sandin, Tom DeFanti and Phil Morton, followed by Larry Smarr and Donna Cox.  New innovations emerged from their exploration of PHSColograms, and were produced through a collaborative methodology called Renaissance Teams, a term coined by Donna J. Cox, in which artists became producers and directors of these initiatives.


1990s : visualizing the invisible

“Scientists are the Rockstars of the Future.” 

–Ellen Sandor

As more scientists began commissioning PHSColograms to show their research, Ellen Sandor was successful in having them shown as works of art by Hudson at Feature Inc. and other museum venues, including the ICI’s traveling exhibition, From Media to Metaphor: Art About AIDS, Art Futura ’91 and the Science in Depth Traveling show, sponsored by the ACM.  Collaborations with the late great Chicago Imagist, Ed Paschke, Miroslaw Rogala and Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation began alongside important commissions for the Museum of Jewish Heritage, The Smithsonian Institution, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the National Institutes of Health.  


The potential of PHSColograms for medical applications was also explored with Picker International and 3M to create EpiView, a real-time app (before the term was invented) in which physicians could print PHSColograms as 3D X-Rays to prevent invasive procedures and was used in hospitals.  A similar app was created to print iGrams, real-time PHSColograms from EVL’s VR CAVE.  Commercial projects included pieces for Nintendo of America and other video game companies as well.  (art)n’s website was launched in 1993 while at IIT, and won many awards after moving to Northwestern University’s research park in ‘94 and later, above the School of the Art Institute’s Gallery 2 location in Greek Town.