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8th International Symposium on Electronic Art [ISEA97]

Chicago, USA
September 22-27, 1997

Presented by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 


The ISEA97 conference and workshops took place at the Art Institute of Chicago. The main art exhibition was held in a 2000 square meter space at 847 W. Jackson Boulevard, other exhibits at the Electronic Visualization Lab, Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), the Betty Rymer Gallery, the Chicago Cultural Center and other venues. Concerts, Performances and Screenings were given at several locations, a.o. the MCA Auditorium.  An Opening Event was staged with a concert by Laurie Anderson.  A Reception took place in Celebration of 30 Years of the Journal Leonardo.


he symposium’s theme of “Content” endeavored to diminish the emphasis on new media tools themselves, in favor of the actual artistic product – what was significant and important about the work, how ideas formed by electronic means interacted and merged with those from traditional media and art making, and other issues related to why we use technology, rather than how. In the decades since McLuhan’s observations on media, a profound change has taken place in the arts. As computer technology has become increasingly widespread and affordable, many artists are asking “Now what?” For years, the challenges for electronic artists have often been the overcoming of technological barriers and the pioneering of new media. Today, we find ourselves wrestling with the more perplexing questions of meaning, content, and social context. Is the medium still the message? How are computers shaping the languages of expression for our age? What can we say now that we could not say before? Do these new media change our vision of ourselves and the world? How is physical experience being redefined by the virtual? Does advancing technological obsolescence preclude historical continuity?

Introductory & Closing Notes


Organising Committee

  • Shawn Decker, ISEA97 Chair
  • Michael Rodemer, Academic Program Committee Chair
  • Joelle Rabion, Conference Coordinator

Honorary Board

  • Laurie Anderson, artist, US
  • Kevin Consey, director, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, US
  • Richard Daley, Mayor, City of Chicago, US
  • and others

International Programme Committee

  • Joel Chadabe (USA), Electronic Music Foundation
  • Susan Alexis Collins (UK), University College London
  • Monika Fleiscmann (Germany), GMD Forschungszentrum Informationstechnik
  • Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (Mexico/Canada), Artist
  • Kathy Rae Huffman (USA), Curator
  • Shinsuke Ina (Japan), Kyoto Seika University
  • Peter Krapp (Germany), University of Konstanz
  • Richard Lerman (USA), Arizona State University
  • Geert Lovink (Netherlands), Theorist
  • Roger Malina (USA), ISAST/Leonardo
  • Denis Martineau (Canada)
  • Suzy Meszoly (Hungary)
  • Alain Mongeau (Canada), Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts
  • Graham Parker (UK), Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Marjorie Perloff (USA), Stanford University
  • Wim van der Plas (Netherlands), Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts
  • Philippe Queau (Canada), UNESCO
  • Joel Slayton (USA), San Jose State University
  • Rejane Spitz (Brasil), Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio de Janeiro
  • Linda Sproul (Australia), Museum of Victoria
  • Heidi Tikka (Finland), Museum of Art & Design Helsinki
  • Roman Verostko (USA), Minneapolis College of Art & Design

Sponsors & Supporters

  • MacLean-Fogg Company
  • Molex Incorporated
  • Neoglyphics Media Corporation
  • the Goethe-Institut Chicago
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts
  • CRCA – Computer Rental Corporation of America


  1. Proceedings (PDF)
  2. Programme-Book of Abstracts-Event Guide (PDF)
  3. Photos
  4. Chicago Tribune article on ISEA97
  5. Artefacts