The conceptual works of Casey Reas bridge the gap between the technical world of programming and the visual world of art and design. Reas writes software that derives from short text instructions or “rules” that are expressed in different media, including natural language, computer code, animated simulations, and static images. His dynamic, emergent software employs programming as his paintbrush, allowing a machine to create the unexpected, intricate visuals seen in Reas’ final rendered images.
Reas completed graduate studies and research in the Aesthetics and Computation Group at the MIT Media Lab, building on a bachelor’s degree earned from the School of Design at the University of Cincinnati. During his time at MIT, Reas and his colleague Ben Fry initiated Processing, an open-source programming language that gives designers tools to creatively express themselves through software. Today, hundreds of thousands of students, artists and designers use Processing for learning, prototyping and production.
Reas has exhibited his work in festivals and galleries all over the world. His work has been featured in more than one hundred solo and group exhibitions, including shows at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. Recent commissions include work for the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the New World Symphony in Miami.
Reas currently lives and works in Los Angeles, where he is as an associate professor in the Department of Design Media Arts at The University of California, Los Angeles.
The Installation: A Mathematical Theory of Communication
Located at the Gates Dell Complex, A Mathematical Theory of Communication is a large-scale, computer generated mural covering two walls near the main atrium of the complex. His installation is the third public art piece associated with the GDC, complementing two works by Sol LeWitt installed onsite in 2013. Inspired by LeWitt’s work, Reas’ installation explores the relationship between his process and LeWitt’s techniques; where Reas’ images are manifestations of programs by computers, LeWitt’s are manifestations of “programs” by people.
Taking its title from Claude Shannon’s The Mathematical Theory of Communication, Reas’ visuals, created by generating thousands of images with infinite variations, play with the idea that information is circling around us at all times—in radio waves, microwaves, satellites, etc. Reas’ work captures that information and transforms it into an algorithm that produces images.
Opening and Q&A
Landmarks and The University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Computer Science will unveil this installation on 10 October 2014.
5:30 p.m. – Public Q&A with artist Casey Reas and moderator Christiane Paul, Ph.D.
Gates Dell Complex 2.216
6:30 p.m. – Celebratory reception with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
Gates Dell Complex atrium