CK: Watching you demo your in-progress Mac OS Application, Family Maker, really moved me. The juxtaposition of the too-familiar Apple UX patterns with such emotionally vulnerable content was jarring. Has building Family Maker been a therapeutic or anxiety-inducing experience? Have you learned anything new about family structures and relations by building and playing with Family Maker? Have you shared it with your family and if so, how did they react?

RK: Thank you. I have no conscious intention of moving anyone, but I'm glad that I did. I was trying to think about why, and realized that I indirectly revealed personal things to you without offering specifics. Maybe that is obvious to anyone who sees a screenshot of the program, but it wasn't clear to me until now. Family Maker is a Mac application about my family, but it's objectively just a working idea of a family, populated by windows, albeit with names like Ego and Trauma that can't help but prompt association-making. The names had to be big because the UI elements inside the windows are working on pixel scale. Maybe the work seems personal because I outlined the shapes, but didn't fill them with details. Maybe you reflexively filled in a vivid backstory, drawing on your own memory. That is what I would like this work to do for people.

The process of building the work is more therapeutic than the work itself. I have to triangulate these themes through a medium that is drained of affect, like Mac windows, because they are hard for me to look at directly. There is so much gray in the Mac interface. I also love wearing gray clothes, and I recently saw an article about how gray has been appearing in fashion as a reaction to uncertain times. I think I'm going for increasingly cold and technical formats in my recent work because I want to express deeper feelings than before, when the works were closer to resembling extended tantrums. It's by playing and unfolding against such unfeeling structures that the feelings begin to approach their real intensity.

Because the tool I'm using to build Family Maker is a runtime editor, meaning that I build the application as I use it, I've experienced it as a way of diagramming family dynamics while also tentatively playing them out. I have to be careful not to accidentally write an infinite loop or delete a line of code, because this breaks the application and there's no undo. It's not unlike how I approach my family, which can feel like a tightly coiled routine. Where it becomes meaningful for me is when the program feeds back an unexpected order of events. I script the behaviors as I go along, and don't think as much about the entire network. So when I name a window Love, I immediately think to connect it to Mother. But Mother becomes connected to Guilt, which Son can affect through Control. When Son exerts too much Control, Mother will go away, leaving Guilt behind, and Love has also changed. I keep layering these simple mechanics, and because they are so limited, I can only read the outcome in a poetic way. I don't learn anything from it, because the knowledge is emergent and not secure. It's always being made. Anyway, I doubt I can share this with my family.