Conceiving Ada

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Conceiving Ada
Conceiving Ada (film).jpg
Directed by Lynn Hershman Leeson
Produced by Lynn Hershman Leeson, Henry S. Rosenthal
Written by Lynn Hershman Leeson
Eileen Jones
Sadie Plant
Betty A. Toole
Starring Tilda Swinton
Francesca Faridany
Timothy Leary
Karen Black
John O'Keefe
John Perry Barlow
J.D. Wolfe
Music by The Residents
Release dates
  • February 1999 (1999-02) (USA)[1]
Running time
85 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Conceiving Ada is a 1997 film produced, written, and directed by Lynn Hershman Leeson. Henry S. Rosenthal was co-producer of the film. The Cinematography by Hiro Narita and Bill Zarchy, the latter being the director of photography.


Emmy Coer is a computer scientist obsessed with Countess Ada Lovelace, author of the first computer algorithm, written for Charles Babbage's "Analytical Engine".[2] She finds a way of communicating with people in the past by way of "undying information waves". In the film, Ada's ideas are portrayed as limited by discrimination against women in technology, science and mathematics in her time. Much of the story revolves around Coer's attempts to use genetic engineering to bring Countess Lovelace into the present.



Upon its February 1999 premiere in New York City, Stephen Holden called its premise "intriguing" though the film is "much better at throwing out ideas than at telling a story or at creating compelling characters"; it has a "overall air of woodenness and shrill didacticism."[1]

That same month, Edward Guthmann of the San Francisco Chronicle called it a "film without category or precedent. A meditation on memory, feminism, immortality and the horizons of virtual reality, it's got enough ideas and intellectual fodder for a dozen films—which is its virtue and its defect at the same time. Directed by local video artist Lynn Hershman Leeson, Conceiving Ada is a fanciful, multilayered experiment about two women who connect through cyberspace across the divide of time and discover some remarkable parallels between their lives.[3]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b Holden, Stephen (February 26, 1999). "Conceiving Ada: Calling Byron's Daughter, Inventor of a Computer". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-06-14. 
  2. ^ O'Regan, Gerard (2013). Giants of Computing. Springer-Verlag. ISBN 978-1-4471-5340-5. 
  3. ^ Guthmann, Edward (February 19, 1999). "Complex Ada' Crosses Divides of Time, Cyberspace". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2015-06-14.