Past Member

Warren Sack

  • Alumnus, Machine Understanding

PhD 2000
Chair + Professor, Film + Digital Media, University of California, Santa Cruz

Warren Sack is a media theorist, software designer, and artist whose work explores theories and designs for online public space and public discussion.  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 has just completed a draft of _The Software Arts_, a book manuscript for the MIT Press "Software Studies" series; the book will hopefully be published in 2018.  Currently, Warren is Chair and Professor of Film + Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz where he teaches digit… View full description

PhD 2000
Chair + Professor, Film + Digital Media, University of California, Santa Cruz

Warren Sack is a media theorist, software designer, and artist whose work explores theories and designs for online public space and public discussion.  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 has just completed a draft of _The Software Arts_, a book manuscript for the MIT Press "Software Studies" series; the book will hopefully be published in 2018.  Currently, Warren is Chair and Professor of Film + Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz where he teaches digital arts and digital studies.

How did your experience at the Lab influence your next step?

When I started at the Lab I was certain that, after my PhD, I wanted to go to an industry research lab.  And, when I finished, I did lots of interviews at research labs and got offers from, among other places, Xerox PARC.  But, I also interviewed for academic jobs and it came down to the Xerox PARC offer versus an assistant professorship at UC Berkeley's School of Information.  I took the latter because I realized that, at the Lab, I had gotten used to unscheduled summers, no bosses, and being able to work on whatever I felt like. The Lab gave me a vision of what university life could be like.

 The MIT Media Lab is the best place in the world to invent and to make stuff.  And, learning how to create and perform a good demo is invaluable.  Hone your skills at the Lab so that, after you leave, you can invent, make, and demo on your own or as the lead of a group.  But, the Lab can be a hard place to do the scholarship necessary to write well about inventing, making, and demoing.  So, if you want to go the academic path, also read and write as much as you can and take classes that support your reading & writing.