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Lunchtime seminar with Dexter Sinister: Welcome to tomorrow, today.*

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - 12:00pm to 2:00pm

104 Jaffe Building

J.G. Ballard once said: "Science fiction might be the best sort of realism. Maybe the only possible one." This is exactly the sort of insight that a writer of speculative stories can offer. And he probably has a point. Perhaps the future is a better guide to the present than the past.


Today's economy is overwhelmingly digital and algorithmic and this suggests we need to retool art accordingly. Art based on spectatorship, that is, subjects looking at objects is a hang over from the television age. Today's dominant media are software and this calls for a new approach. In place of passive looking, software suggests active participation. Not spectators, but users.


A spectators' art calls for representations -- images drawn from the world for thinking about how it works. Meanwhile, a users' art implies works that actually work. In place of pictures, it provides fully functioning interfaces. These are not mirrors of the world, but more a kind of hinge, or bonding agent. Like glue. These interfaces still suggest that the world might be different, only rather than statements, they offer working propositions. I am no exception.*


* This text is borrowed from another recent project where it's also delivered by an animated glyph (a speaking asterisk, with a distinct Scottish accent). During this two-day seminar workshop, we will read, discuss, and imagine works which might also be described as "interfaces." 






Paul Ford, "Code: An Essay"

Angie Keefer, "An Octopus in Plan View"

George Kubler, "The Shape Of Time"

Robert Smithson, "Hotel Palenque"


Stephen Wright, "Toward a Lexicon of Usership"


To participate, please email Ian Verstegen,, to obtain the readings.