Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: Feminist Art Base: Lynn Hershman Leeson

Conceiving Ada

Conceiving Ada

Lynn Hershman Leeson. Conceiving Ada, 1997.

Film still from "Conceiving Ada" 35mm film 82 minutes Themes of love, sex, artificial life, computers, DNA transference, history, and memory intertwine in "Conceiving Ada," the first film to use virtual sets. Tilda Swinton plays the brilliant mathematician Ada, Countess of Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron, who is credited with writing the first computer program. Named the "Enchantress of Numbers" by Charles Babbage, Ada predicted not only the possibilities of artificial life, but also the digital revolution that occurred 144 years after her death. Karen Black plays a dual role as Ada's mother, the mathematical Lady Millbank, and the mother of Emmy, the young American genetic-memory expert who tries to communicate directly with Ada via a computer DNA memory extension given to her by her mentor, Sims (Timothy Leary). Ada lived a double life that included a fervor for gambling and numerous lovers, especially John Cross (John Perry Barlow). Ada's luck betrayed her when she lost the family fortune and died of uterine cancer at the age of thirty-five. Distributed by Winstar Winner, Outstanding Drama, Festival of Electronic Cinema, Chiba, Japan 1999


early computer science, virtual film sets, artificial life, DNA, sex, memory

Roberta Construction Chart #2SeductionReachMonroe/FreudDigital Venus After BotticelliStrange CultureConceiving Ada


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