Casey Reas - An Empty Room

Date Posted

In conjunction with Coded: Art Enters the Computer Age, 1952- 1982, LACMA's Art + Technology Lab presents a two-part digital work by Casey Reas: a simulation of and an homage to Victor Vasarely's unrealized proposal for LACMA's Art and Technology Program (1967-71). Vasarely was interested in cybernetics and permutation during this period, and he envisioned a machine composed of lights arranged in a grid that would generate millions of different visual patterns related to his paintings (such as the one on view in Coded). Estimated at the time to cost two million dollars to fabricate, the project was deemed prohibitively expensive and was left unrealized.

Reas's response, commissioned by LACMA, is presented in two parts. The first component, METAVASARELY, simulates Vasarely's proposed machine; examples of the patterns generated, as well as an interactive version, can be accessed by using the QR code below. For the second component, An Empty Room on view here), Reas created software inspired by Vasarely's ideas of a "binary plastic language" as the basis for this series of perpetually generative digital imagery.