Zachary Kaiser


Hello. My name is Zach, and I am an artist, teacher, theorist, music producer, and DJ. I am currently Assistant Professor of Graphic Design and Experience Architecture at Michigan State University.

In my work, which critically engages with my background as a designer working in the tech industry, I take up the mantle of the artist-as-experimenter[1]—questioning “the limits of preconstituted fields… along with the accepted criteria of judgment by which they would be held to account”[2]—in order to critique Graphic Design’s participation in the distribution of the sensible[3]—the delimiting of sensory experience that determines how we participate as political subjects.

Graphic Design and User Experience Design guide us as we experience the world, allowing us to perceive some things while concealing others, and, therefore, shaping our modes of participation. In my creative work, I render the invisible visible, illuminating the politics of design in technology, as well as the ideas about the future embedded within our technologies themselves. I seek to contextualize, critique, and, maybe optimistically, modify the way that Design distributes the sensible, the way it shapes our understanding of ourselves as political subjects through our technologies, and how this circumscribes the way we imagine the future. To do so, I carve an intellectual space that utilizes a constellation of theories and methods from the fine arts, Science and Technology Studies (STS), Cultural Studies, Media Studies, and Philosophy.

In 2006, I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BS in Studio Art, and, in 2013, I earned my MFA from the Dynamic Media Institute at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. My graduate thesis advocated for a methodology of learning based on the process of DJing as a way to illuminate relationships in order to surface hidden ideologies and power structures in students’ lives, which are increasingly mediated by complex computational systems.

Prior to joining the faculty at Michigan State, I co-founded Skeptic, a Boston-based research and design collective, and served as a visiting lecturer in various design programs in Boston.

I regularly exhibit and lecture in the US and internationally.

Please feel free to check out my research and creative practice as well as my work as an educator.

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Notes:
[1] Lyotard, Jean-François. 2003. “The tomb of the intellectual,” in Jean-François Lyotard: Political Writings. London: UCL Press, 3.
[2] Hall, Gary. 2016. The Uberfication of the University. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 49.
[3] Rancière, Jacques. The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible. New York: Continuum.