Ideas to ponder

What happens when the abstract world of computing meets the material world?

Led by Greg J. Smith with Sarah Brin and James Hayes

The world inside the computer is one built on rules that we have written. The world outside is more complicated and largely out of our control. How do the rules of making inside the abstract world of computing push up against the complicated material one around us? What kind of errors and opportunities arise when the two worlds meet? Is a new aesthetic always bound up in formal exploration of algorithms or is there something else that can happen? Is it important for there to be a new aesthetic or is it inevitable?

Sarah Brin

Sarah Brin is a new media curator. Her research interests include digital fabrication, participation, artist-made games, and public spaces. Some of her prior projects include working as the Public Programs Manager for Autodesk’s Pier 9 Workshop, where she commissioned digital fabrication projects from creatives working with architecture, design, fine art, and other disciplines. At Autodesk, she founded the Experimental Research Lab, an interdisciplinary research group focused on creating accessible public discourse surrounding meaningful applications of technology. She also curated the largest art exhibition currently orbiting Earth’s atmosphere.

Sarah holds an M.A. in Art and Curatorial Practice in the Public Sphere from the University of Southern California, and a B.A. in European Cultural Studies from Brandeis University. You may have seen her projects in SFMOMA, MOCA, Babycastles, The Armand Hammer Museum, UCLA, LACE, Vice and elsewhere. She doesn’t live anywhere in particular at the moment. More info:

James Hayes

James is a PhD candidate at the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism and a researcher at the Carleton immersive Media Studio. His research focuses on coupling digitization technologies such as laser scanning and photogrammetry with digital fabrication technologies like 3D printing, CNC routing and robotic milling. Most recently he became a founding partner of If Then Architecture Inc., a firm that aims to leverage the power of digital technologies in the realization of architecture.

James is also a sessional lecturer at Carleton University and has worked in architectural practice in Ottawa and Dublin, Ireland. He holds a B.Sc. in Architecture from Lawrence Technological University, and an M.Arch. from Carleton University.

Greg J Smith

Greg J. Smith is a Toronto-based writer and editor that is interested in media art and its broader cultural implications. He is the Editor-in-Chief of HOLO magazine and a Contributing Editor at Creative Applications Network. Greg’s writing has appeared in Rhizome, ICON, Musicworks, the V2_ Institute for the Unstable Media’s Blowup Reader eBook series, and numerous catalogue essays.

Greg has presented work internationally at festivals and institutions including Sónar+D (Barcelona),Resonate (Belgrade), MUTEK (Montréal), the Western Front (Vancouver), and he serves on the Board of Directors at InterAccess. Over the last decade, he developed and taught numerous media and communications related courses within the CCIT program (U of T Mississauga/Sheridan College), OCAD, and McMaster University. More info: