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Chicago New Media at Ars Electronica

September 5 - 9, 2019
Postcity, Linz, Austria

The exhibition Chicago New Media 1973–1992 was first held at University of Illinois at Chicago’s Gallery 400 in fall of 2018 and it illuminated the largely untold story of Chicago's role in the history of new media. Consisting of an exhibition, public program, and scholarly catalog, the project yielded a new art historical understanding of the artists and organizations that contributed to digital art and technology in the latter half of the twentieth century. It chronicled the under-recognized story of Chicago’s contributions to new media art by artists working at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Electronic Visualization Laboratory (UIC’s EVL), School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), and at Midway Games and Bally with video game artifacts, new media technologies, historical photographs, game stills, playable video game consoles, and virtual reality modules, highlighting the rich exchange between industry and academics during this heady time.

The project will now travel as a touring exhibition to the 2019 Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Ars Electronica Festival is a gathering of artists, scientists and technologists, that attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year since 1979.

The touring presentation of the exhibition is generously supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Austrian-American Partnership Fund of the U.S. Embassy in Austria.


The Chicago New Media exhibition, public program and catalog was organized in partnership with University of Illinois at Chicago's Gallery 400 with support from Electronic Visualization Laboratory. Chicago New Media 1973–1992 is part of Art Design Chicago, an exploration of Chicago's art and design legacy, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art with presenting partner, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. Additional generous support for this project is made possible by The Chicago Community Trust, the Goethe-Institut Chicago and the Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  It was curated by SAIC Associate Professor of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation, Jon Cates with assistance from VGA’s Director of Exhibitions and Programs Chaz Evans and Executive Director Jonathan Kinkley.


VGA Gallery is generously supported by The MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, individuals, and private and corporate foundations.