The subject of Warren Sack’s talk will be The Software Arts, a book recently published in the MIT Press “Software Studies” series. Sack offers an alternative history of software that traces its roots to the step-by-step descriptions of how things were made in the workshops of eighteenth-century artists and artisans. He illustrates how software was born of a coupling of the liberal arts and the mechanical arts and argues that the arts are at the heart of computing. The Software Arts is an invitation to artists and humanists to see how their ideas are already at the very center of software; and an invitation to computer scientists to envision how they are artists and humanists too.
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 Chair and Professor of Film + Digital Media 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.