Compressed Cinema: A Collaboration by Casey Reas and Jan St. Werner
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Compressed Cinema: A Collaboration by Casey Reas and Jan St. Werner

Providing an unexpected and delightful pairing of audio and visuals, these five new digital works by Casey Reas and Jan St. Werner were initially inspired by Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills series and the 35mm camera-less films of Stan Brakhage. Collectively called Compressed Cinema, they were created with contemporary machine learning algorithms, specifically generative adversarial networks (GANs) trained by Reas. Accompanied by St. Werner’s perfectly timed soundtracks, each quick flash frame of recognizable images burns a memory onto your retina, making the viewer wonder, seconds later, was that what I thought it was? All five works are haunting and beautiful, with the images and audio playing gratifying tricks on your senses.

“Like a camera, a GAN is an apparatus that can be used by an artist to make pictures. The quality of the image that is created with the apparatus has everything to do with how the artist uses it and little to do with the machine itself,” states Reas.

Compressed Cinema screens here beginning at 10 am (CDT) November 10 through November 17.

Untitled 4 (Two dead!), 6 min.
Untitled 5 (Not now. No, no.), 4 min.
Untitled 2 (Kiss me.), 5 min.
Untitled 3 (I withdraw.), 10 min.
Untitled 1 (No. Nothing.), 8 min.

All works 2020, US and Germany, HD and 4K video.

Casey Reas’s work includes software, prints, and installations, and he balances solo work in the studio with collaborations. He has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions at museums and galleries in the United States, Europe, and Asia, and his work is in a range of private and public collections, including the Centre Georges Pompidou and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Reas is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2001, he and Ben Fry initiated Processing, an open-source programming language and environment for the visual arts.

Jan St. Werner is a Berlin-based artist and composer best known as one half of the electronic duo Mouse on Mars. As part of Cologne’s A-Musik collective, St. Werner released recordings both as a solo artist and with collaborators, including Markus Popp and Rosa Barba. He released Blaze Colour Burn for the Fiepblatter Catalogue on Chicago’s Thrill Jockey Records. He was artistic director for Dutch Institute for Electronic Music STEIM. He is now professor for Interactive Art and Dynamic Acoustic Research at the Academy of Fine Arts Nuremberg.