Janine Fron

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“We had to become experts in both cases about different facets of war—its challenges, horrors, and social outcomes. Being able to connect quickly and easily as a team helped us all to be in the heart space of these stories to create moving work. As the insightful poet Kahlil Gibran once said, “Work is love made visible.” I truly believe when we work out of love, we can transform ourselves and our humanity.”

Ludica Interventions, 2005-2007. Courtesy of Ludica.
From New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts.

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Janine Fron is a new media artist, educator and independent game designer. Fron is a member of the Chicago-based (art)n collective, whose works have been exhibited internationally and are in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, International Center of Photography, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Commissioned installations include the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, Smithsonian Institution, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

Fron is the managing director of the Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Collection and a visiting scholar of culture and society, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She also contributed to experimental, interactive media arts initiatives at Columbia College Chicago and the University of Southern California. Fron cofounded and contributed to the Ludica game art collective in Los Angeles with an inclusive message of “Play Belongs to Everyone” to encourage women to be part of the creative process of making games and to support alternative forms of play. She co-presented workshops and papers with Ludica at the Digital Arts Community, Digital Games Research Association, SIGGRAPH, and the International Society of Experimental Artists.  

 

Her co-authored publications that emphasize collaboration as a co-creative process include  The MIT Press, Feminist Media Studies, Games and Culture, and the University of Chicago Cultural Policy Center.  She is a contributor of ‘Janeite Games and Game Culture’ in the Jane Austen Special Issue, Texas Studies in Literature and Language (2019).  In 2017, she presented Quills! A Unique Cooperative Game Series of Feathering Transformations at the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) AGM

Right: Work and Hope, 1997. A sweatshop scene photographed by Jacob A. Riis is juxtaposed with an immigrant’s sewing machine. Commissioned by the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Courtesy of Ellen Sandor & (art)n.

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Marion Mahony was the second woman to graduate from MIT with a degree in architecture for her original conceptual design of an artist’s home/studio, which is considered an early example of a home studio/office for working remotely that influenced Frank Lloyd Wright’s landmarked, Oak Park home/studio residence. Mahony became the first licensed woman architect in the world to practice in the field and the first licensed architect in Illinois, who was hired by Wright.

In 1907, Ladies Home Journal published an article that reviewed one of Wright’s designs that was delineated by Mahony and quintessentially defined Prairie Style architecture; the article was titled “Fireproof Home for $5000” and described an L-shaped open floor plan that was centered on a fireplace. Wilhelm Tyler Miller further popularized the Prairie Style with his circular The Prairie Spirit of Landscape Gardening, which the University of Illinois published in 1915 for the Illinois Agricultural Experiment Station. Mahony’s much admired presentation style of immersing architectural renderings in a richly vegetative prairie landscape, which she often delineated on linen and silk, was imitated by the drafters who worked in Wright’s office and adopted by fellow architects of the Prairie School (Van Zanten 2011, 51). Mahony’s renderings comprised nearly half of Wright’s famed Wasmuth Portfolio (1910) that was published in Germany and put Chicago on the international map for its organic architecture innovations made during the Prairie School era (McGregor 2009).

Chicago’s international reputation attracted both Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and László Moholy-Nagy to IIT. An electronic edition of Mahony Griffin’s manuscript, The Magic of America, was first posthumously published online in 2007 by the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Portrait of Marion Mahony Griffin:
the first person and woman licensed architect in Illinois

Magic of America, Art Institute of Chicago portfolio images, Ryerson and Burnham Archives

KEYWORDS

PHSColograms/sculptures & installations, web design, digital photography, digital preservation, mixed media, game design, and game studies research