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Warren Sack

Professor, Film & Digital Media
Warren Sack is a media theorist, software designer, and artist whose work explores theories and designs for online public space and public discussion. He is Professor of the Software Arts in the Film + Digital Media Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz where he teaches digital arts and digital studies. He has been a visiting professor in France at Sciences Po, the Fondation Maison des sciences de l'homme, and Télécom ParisTech. His artwork has been exhibited by SFMoMA (San Francisco), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), the New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York), the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), and the ZKM (Karlsruhe, Germany). His scholarship and research has been supported by the Paris Institute for Advanced Study, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Sunlight Foundation, and the National Science Foundation. Warren received his PhD from the MIT Media Lab and was an undergraduate at Yale College.  More about his 2019 book, The Software Arts (MIT Press) can be found here:
Research Interests: 

Media theory; history and philosophy of science and technology; history of the humanities and the liberal arts; science and technology studies; software studies; software design; digital studies

Phone: 831-459-1497
Office: 147 DARC
Selected Publications: 
  • 2024 Chapter: "Interrogative Design and Cultural Prosthetics: A Seminar," in Interrogative Design, Krzysztof Wodiczko and Ian Wojtowicz (MIT Press, forthcoming)
  • 2024 Chapter: "Interrogative Software Design," in Interrogative Design, Krzysztof Wodiczko and Ian Wojtowicz (MIT Press, forthcoming)
  • 2023 Review: "A Matter of Interpretation: A review of ‘Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (JavaScript Edition)’," Computational Culture: a journal of software studies,Issue 9 (Jul 2023)
  • 2023 Review: "Object Lessons: A Review of Jacob Gaboury’s ‘Image Objects: An Archaeology of Computer Graphics’," Computational Culture: a journal of software studies, Issue 9(Jul 2023)
  • 2022 Chapter: "AI: Ein andere Intelligenz: Artificial Institutions and Narrative Intelligence," in Expanding Spatial Narratives, edited by German A. Duarte, Giulia Cordin, David T. Ferrando (Milan, Italy: Mousse Publishing, 2022)
  • 2022 Paper: "Interactive Storytelling and the Paradox of Democracy," in Mirjam Vossmer and Lissa Holloway-Attaway (eds.), 15th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling (ICIDS), University of California, Santa Cruz, Springer, December 4-7,2022: 405-413 (Dec 10 2022)
  • 2022 Paper: "Miniatures, Demos and Artworks: Three Kinds of Computer Program, Their Uses and Abuses," HaPoP 2022 Fifth Symposium on the History and Philosophy of Programming, Lille, France, Maison Européenne des Sciences de l'Homme et de laSociété (Jun 13 2022)
  • 2020 Interview: with Megan Boler, Wendy Chun, Elizabeth Davis, Warren Sack and Sarah Sharma, “Beyond Behaviorism and Black Boxes: the Future of Media Theory Interview,” in Affective Politics of Digital Media: Propaganda by Other Means, Megan Boler and Elizabeth Davis, editors (New York: Routledge, 2020)
  • 2020 Interview: "Conditions: Warren Sack in conversation with Jenny Reardon and Bonnie Honig," special issue on Hannah Arendt (Nick Gamso, editor), World Records, vol 4, article 10.(Fall 2020)
  • 2018 Book Chapter: “Langages de travail et langages machine,” in La vérité du numérique: Recherche et enseignement supérieur à l’ère des technologies numériques, Bernard Stiegler, editor (Paris, France: FYP editions, 2018), 173-188.
  • 2017 Article: “Out of Bounds: Language limits, language planning, and the definition of distance in the new spaces of linguistic capitalism,” Computational Culture: a journal of software studies, Issue 6, November 2017 (Nov 2017)

Selected Exhibitions:

  • "Things the Mind Already Knows" in Impakt Online: On Group Formation, Impakt Festival 2013: Capitalism Catch 22, Utrecht, The Netherlands, 30 October - 3 November 2013 (Sabine Niederer and Raymond Taudin Chabot, curators)
  • "Conversation Map" in Process is Paradigm, LABoral Art and Industrial Creation Center, Asturias, Spain, April 23 – September 27, 2010 (Susanne Jaschko and Lucas Evers, curators)
  • Conversation Map in The Art of Participation: 1950 to Now, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), November 8, 2008 – February 7, 2009 (Rudolf Frieling, curator)
  • "Agonistics: A Language Game" in Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy, ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany, March 19, 2005 – October 3, 2005 (Bruno Latour, Peter Weibel and Steve Dietz, curators)
  • Artport Gate Page, Whitney Museum of American Art, 11 – 30 April, 2005 (Christiane Paul, curator)
  • "Translation Map" with Sawad Brooks in How Latitudes Become Forms/Translocations, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, from February 6 - May, 2003 (Steve Dietz, curator)
Selected Presentations: 
>>>>>>>>>>Oct 13 2023 "Minatures, Demos and Artworks: Three Kinds of Software, Their Uses and Abuses," Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), invited by Henry Lieberman >>>>>>>>>>Sep 1 2021 "The Software Arts," Leonardo Art and Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER), Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, 1 September 2021, invited by Piero Scaruffi >>>>>>>>>>Jun 3 2020 “A History of the Demo and a Future for the Essay,” presented at the Data Thenand Now Seminar, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 3 June 2020, invited by Anissa Tanweer and David Ribes >>>>>>>>>>Dec 19 2017 “Artificial Stupidity,” presented at Les Entretiens du Nouveau Monde Industriel 2017: Bêtise et intelligence artificielles, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France, 19-20 December 2017, invited by Bernard Stiegler
Education and Training: 
Ph.D., Media Arts and Sciences, MIT, Cambridge, MA
S.M., Media Arts and Sciences, MIT, Cambridge, MA
B.A., Computer Science and Psychology, Yale U., New Haven, CT
Teaching Interests: 

history, theory and criticism of media and technology; design, production, and critique of media art