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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 Committees

Honorary Board

  • Laurie Anderson, Honorary Chair
  • Bruno Bellotto, Director Italian Cultural Institute
  • Thomas P. Blackman, President, Thomas Blackman Associates
  • Jeanne A. Braun, Academic and Cultural Affairs Officer Canadian Consulate General
  • Danielle Bruguera, Cultural Attache, Consulate General of France
  • Kevin E. Consey, Director, Museum of Contemporary Art
  • The Honorable Richard M. Daley Mayor, City of Chicago
  • Gao Di, Cultural Consul Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago
  • Marzena Falkiewia, Advertising and Promotion Manager LOT Polish Airlines
  • Ronne Hartfield, Executive Director Museum Education Department, The Art Institute of Chicago
  • Dr. Manfred Heid, Director, Goethe-lnstitut Chicago
  • Fred Krehbiel, Chairman and CEO, Molex Incorporated
  • J. Ingrid Lesley, Chief Special Collections and Preservation Division,Chicago Public library’s Harold Washington Library Center
  • Miguel Martin, Director, Instituto Cervantes, Chicago
  • Henk Revis, Consul General of the Netherlands
  • Alene Valkanas, Executive Director, Illinois Arts Alliance
  • Lois Weisberg, Commissioner, City of Chicago, Dept. of Cultural Affairs

ISEA97 Executive Planning Committee

  • Nancy Crouch, Host Committee Chair, Executive Assistant to the President and Board of Governors
  • Shawn Decker, ISEA Chair, Associate Professor, Department of Art & Technology Sound
  • Vicki Engonopoulos, Production and Technical Committee Chair Director, Cooperative Education
  • Peter Gena, Exhibitions Program Committee Chair Professor, Chair, Department of Art & Technology Sound, Liberal Arts and Art History
  • Anders Nereim, Information and Publications Committee Chair, Chair, Department of Interior Architecture
  • Joelle Rabion, ISEA97 Conference Coordinator
  • Michael Rodemer, Academic Program Committee Chair Assistant Professor, Department of New Genres, University of Michigan School of Art & Design
  • Katharine Schutta, Fundraising and Marketing Committee Chair Assistant Dean, Student Affairs

Local Program Committee

  • Ingrid Bachmann, Visiting Artist, Fiber (School of the Art Institute of Chicago Faculty)
  • Annette Barbier, Associate Professor Department of Radio and Television, Northwestern University, USA
  • Christopher Bratton, Associate Professor, Video (School of the Art Institute of Chicago Faculty)
  • Valerie Cassel, Director Visiting Artists Program (School of the Art Institute of Chicago Faculty)
  • Shawn Decker, Associate Professor Department of Art & Technology Sound (School of the Art Institute of Chicago Faculty)
  • Kelly Dennis, Assistant Professor Art History and Criticism (School of the Art Institute of Chicago Faculty)
  • Jim Elkins, Associate Professor, Art History and Criticism (School of the Art Institute of Chicago Faculty)
  • Peter Gena, Professor, Department of Art & Technology Sound; Liberal Arts and Art History (School of the Art Institute of Chicago Faculty)
  • Douglas Grew, Director Gallery 2 (School of the Art Institute of Chicago Faculty)
  • Kate Horsfield, Director Video Data Bank (School of the Art Institute of Chicago Faculty)
  • John Kurtich, William Bronson Mitchell and Grayce Slovet Mitchell Professor of Interior Architecture (School of the Art Institute of Chicago Faculty)
  • John Manning, Associate Professor Art & Technology (School of the Art Institute of Chicago Faculty)
  • Rose Parisi, Director, Artist Services, Illinois Arts Council
  • Frank Piatek, Professor Painting & Drawing (School of the Art Institute of Chicago Faculty)
  • Michael Rodemer, Assistant Professor, Department of New Genres, University of Michigan School of Art & Design
  • Dan Sandin, Professor School of Art and Design, University of Illinois-Chicago
  • Katharine Schutta, Assistant Dean, Student Affairs (School of the Art Institute of Chicago Faculty)
  • Lanny Silverman, Associate Curator Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs
  • Bob Snyder, Professor, Sound Department (School of the Art Institute of Chicago Faculty)
  • Peter Taub, Director of Performancel Programs, Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Joan Truckenbrod, Associate Professor Art & Technology (School of the Art Institute of Chicago Faculty)
  • Steve Waldeck, Professor, Art & Technology (School of the Art Institute of Chicago Faculty)
  • Amnon Wolman, Associate Professor, School of Music, Northwestern University

Fundraising and Marketing Committee

  • Katharine Schutta, Chair
  • Peg Blasage, Marketing
  • Alice George, Marketing Consultant
  • Robyn Guest & Joyce Rowe, Public Affairs
  • Sarai Hoffman Development
  • Ellen Ushioka, Fundraising and Public Relations
  • Judith Weber, Media Coordinator

Production and Technical Committee

  • Rick Becker, Data Resource Management
  • Ed Bennett & Michael Deutscher, Art and Technology
  • Todd Berreth, Operations
  • Tom Buechele & Craig Downs, Media Center
  • Shawn Decker & Rob Drinkwater, Sound
  • Vicki Engonopolous, Choir
  • Douglas Grew, Gallery 1
  • Tony Wight, Gallery 2
  • Larry Kravitz, Data Resource Management
  • Jeanne Long, Special Exhibitons
  • Joelle Rabion, I5EA97 Conference Coordinator

Information and Publications Committee

  • Anders Nereim, Chair
  • Julia Allen & Kathi Beste, Publications
  • Kelly Becerra & Mike Meiser, CD-ROM Proceedings
  • Heather Elliott, WWW Design
  • Coco Sallee & Syndy Zeignefuss, WWW Design, Cover and Poster Images
  • Melanie Feerst & Sally Levine, Interior Architecture
  • John G. Rabias, Program Guide Design

Host Committee

  • Nancy Crouch, Chair
  • Heather Elliott, Liaison
  • Vicki Gates, Registration Coordinator
  • Susan Greenwald, Ballroom Coordinator

Chicago Office of Tourism Exhibitions & Events Staff

  • Claire Broadfoot & Trevor Martin, Betty Rymer Gallery
  • Anders Nereim & Sally Levine, CD-ROM Kiosk Design at Betty Rymer Gallery
  • Tony Wight, Gallery 1
  • Douglas Grew, Gallery 2
  • Ingrid Lesley, Harold Washington Library Center
  • Jeanne Long, Special Exhibitions
  • Peter Taub, Museum of Contemporary Art

Assistants to ISEA97 Coordinator

  • Heather Elliott, Assistant Coordinator
  • Heather Burkhart, Clarissa Jayakumara, Hillary Jensen, Mike Myers, Elizabeth Ratnasari & Pauline Lumban Toruan

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

Special Recognition for Generous Contributions:

  • Nina Berkowitz, Sylvia Fergus, Joan Gunsberg, Janet Carl-Smith, Alene Valkanis, Kevin Vanbuskirk

Thanks to:

  • Robb Drinkwater, John Guzik, Jenny Hall, Bob Koverman, Tony Nelson,Katie O’Reilly, Kym Olsen, Dick Pallota, David Stark


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