Niss studied Math at Columbia, gaining special recognition in her first year as a Schafer Prize award winner (1990). Her precocious talent for binary code appeared as early as “the age of eight,” she tells us, when she “rewrote a word processor for the Commodore 64 with my father. Later I studied mathematics at Columbia and took computer science courses. I also studied poetry. A systems administrator by 1995, I introduced users to the web when it first became popular.” Her insight into the artistic possibilites for electronic technology occurred by “accident” when she bought “a copy of Macromedia Flash in 1999 without knowing exactly what it was. I realized almost immediately that the software's multimedia capabilities allowed me to create an immersive experience of mental illness instead of a flat description.” (http://tracearchive.ntu.ac.uk/process/index.cfm?article=122)
Niss has written electronic poetry, “webworks,” and videos, including “I Am The Very Model of a Psychopharmacologist,” a music video illustrating the bizarre and frightening side effects of over-medicating psychological conditions.