D.K. Rehn

D.K. Rehn is an artist-researcher whose interest extends across both historical aspects and visions of the future for interactive art and networked culture.

They run Soft Detours (est. 2010), a computing culture studio that re-traces the origins of creative computing and user culture. Most notably through WWWTXT which revisits the conversations of early online communities (1980–94) and reveal paths not taken while also foreshadowing contemporary issues.

Rehn along with Jeremy Douglass and Lev Manovich pioneered “cultural analytics”—the visualization and algorithmic understanding of pop culture and the humanities. That work continues in current endeavors such as Z/Z/Z/.

And long before any of this, in 1986, they dialed the “Future Link.” That led to operating his very own digi-arts BBS and creating art, code, and music for the ANSi and demo scenes of the early '90s. Ultimately, it set in motion a life-long journey.

“We are generalists. You can't draw neat lines around planet-wide problems.” —Frank Herbert

Sponsored by GSA and UCSD Vis Arts