Dara Birnbaum, still from “Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman” (1978) (courtesy Video Data Bank, represented by Marian Goodman Gallery)

Making/Breaking the Binary: Women, Art & Technology (1968–85) is a multi-venue project in Philadelphia surveying a generation of pioneering artists in new media, reconsidering their role as technology innovators who helped shape the information age.

Women have continually reasserted their role as seminal figures in the history of technology. In 1842–43, Ada Lovelace wrote an algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine, unknowingly creating the world’s first computer program. A century later, a group of women at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia were recruited during World War II to be “human computers” and learned to use the first American digital computer, ENIAC. They are now known as the ENIAC 6, America’s first computer programmers.

As media saturated the domestic sphere and NASA sparked the American imagination, the digital revolution brought a proliferation of more capable computers, Xerox machines, electronic music instruments, and new recording devices and formats. The artists surveyed in this project from 1968–85 employed or interrogated these tools in innovative ways and paved the way for new media art as we know it.

The core exhibition is on view at Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery from October 8 to December 8, with an opening reception on Sunday, October 8 from 4–7pm, accompanied by programs at Lightbox Film Center on October 5, and 12, and screening loops at Icebox Gray Area in conjunction with Vox Populi through October 31.

Supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Making/Breaking the Binary: Women, Art & Technology (1968–85) continues at the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery (333 S Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) through December 8, 2017.

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