Virtual Spaces

Virtual Spaces is an exhibition of interactive virtual reality and electronic art created by the Electronic Visualization Laboratory in conjunction with the eighth International Symposium for Electronic Arts, organized by the Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts. The work on view utilizes state-of-the-art computer technology, including the CAVE virtual reality system and the ImmersaDesk virtual reality drafting table. The artists used these virtual reality display systems to form a variety of imaginary worlds, ranging from a medieval labyrinth to contemporary spaces. Using this technology, gallery visitors can explore and manipulate real-time computer-generated environments. Photography and interactive video and performance are also exhibited.

More than one thousand artists, critics, educators, scientists, and public policy planners from around the world are gathering in Chicago for the eighth International Symposium for Electronic Arts (ISEA97), a week-long symposium and celebration of the electronic arts hosted by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Subjects considered during conference sessions and by internationally renowned keynote speakers include ethical issues involving the use of electronic media and freedom of speech on the internet, as well as a broad range of topics related to new electronic media. Speakers include Sherry Turkle, author of Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet; Nolan A. Bowie, an advocate for under-represented populations; Mexican-born performance artist and writer Guillermo Gómez-Peña; and internationally acclaimed performer, author, and recording artist Laurie Anderson, who served as honorary chair. Past ISEA conferences have been presented in Rotterdam, Montreal, Helsinki, Minneapolis, Sydney, Groningen, and Utrecht.

In conjunction with the conference, ISEA97 presents a citywide festival of electronic arts with more than two hundred artists from twenty countries represented in exhibitions and events at over a dozen sites throughout Chicago, including, among others, the Electronic Visualization Lab at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Local galleries and alternative exhibition spaces are also hosting collaborative programs, exhibitions, and events.