Max Dean

Susan Hobbs Gallery

Since the ’70s, Max Dean’s interactive installations have solicited the active participation of viewers, calling on them to perform (or refrain from performing) particular actions that will determine the outcome of a changing work. Those who take part assume a level of responsibility for how the piece plays out; for example, in As Yet Untitled, 1992–95, viewers could temporarily stop a robot from shredding old photographs. Dean’s recent installation, Sneeze, 2000, continued in this vein but thwarted the viewer’s control once it had been established.

Sneeze bears all of Dean’s trademarks: cutting-edge technology, interactivity, and elegant design. An aluminum lectern with two microphones stood near a large pane of glass; viewers could sit in chairs on one side of the “window” or stand at the lectern on the other side. Speaking into the microphones caused a series of six still images to appear

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