Casey Reas

Casey Reas, Professor of Art and Digital Design at The European Graduate School / EGS.


Casey Reas (b. 1972), born Casey Edwin Barker Reas in Troy, Ohio, is a Los Angeles-based artist and programmer who, as he describes himself, “writes software to explore conditional systems as art. Through defining emergent networks and layered instructions, he has defined a unique area of visual experience that builds upon concrete art, conceptual art, experimental animation, and drawing. While dynamic, generative software remains his core medium, work in variable media including prints, objects, installations, and performances materialize from his visual systems.” [1]

Reas holds a Bachelor of Science in Design from the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati (1996), as well as a Master of Science in Media Arts and Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2001). An associate professor at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea between 2001–03, Casey was appointed professor at the Department of Design Media Arts at University of California, Los Angeles, in 2003.

Next to private and public collections (among them: the Centre Georges Pompidou), Reas’s work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions across Europe, the United States, and Asia. Recent solo exhibitions include “Yes No” (Pasadena City College, 2014); “ULTRACONCENTRATED” (bitforms gallery, New York, 2013); “CENTURY” (Gallery [DAM]Berlin, 2012); and “Process” (BCA Center, Burlington, 2012). Among his numerous group exhibitions are, more recently, “//the ART_of_DATA” (Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, 2014, curated by Steven Sacks); “ArchiLab” (FRAC Centre, Orléans, France, 2013/14); “A New Sculpturalism” (Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2013; collaboration with P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S and North Sails); “AI Plus” (National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, 2013; curated by Hui-Ching Hsieh HSIEH); and “Microwave International Media Art Festival” (Hong Kong, 2012).

Among his recent commissions are “Fragrant World” (in collaboration with Aranda\Lasch, Nick Gould, and Yoshi Sodeoka), live visual media and sculptures for the Yeasayer's 2012 tour, commissioned by The Creators Project; “Signals” (in collaboration with Ben Fry), a mural for building 76 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2011); “Chronograph” (in collaboration with Tal Rosner), a software mural for the Frank Gehry-designed home of the New World Symphony in Miami (2011); and “Whitney Museum Gala 2010,” a software installation for the Annual Gala by the Whitney Museum of American Art.

In 2001, together with data visualization expert and artist Ben Fry, Reas invented and launched “Processing,” which he describes as an “open source programming language and environment for the visual arts,” [2] and subsequently co-authored Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists (MIT Press, 2007/2014). With the second edition having been significantly updated and revised, both editions provide “a comprehensive reference and text for Processing (, an open-source programming language that can be used by students, artists, designers, architects, researchers, and anyone who wants to program images, animation, and interactivity.” [3]

In addition to several articles and book chapters, Reas also published 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10 (MIT Press, 2013), co-authored with Nick Montfort, Patsy Baudoin, John Bell, Ian Bogost, Jeremy Douglass, Mark C. Marino, Michael Mateas, Mark Sample, and Noah Vawter, a book that “takes a single line of code—the extremely concise BASIC program for the Commodore 64 inscribed in the title—and uses it as a lens through which to consider the phenomenon of creative computing and the way computer programs exist in culture. The authors of this collaboratively written book treat code not as merely functional but as a text—in the case of 10 PRINT, a text that appeared in many different printed sources—that yields a story about its making, its purpose, its assumptions, and more. They consider randomness and regularity in computing and art, the maze in culture, the popular BASIC programming language, and the highly influential Commodore 64 computer.” [4]

Other publications include Process Compendium 2004–2010 (REAS Studio, 2010), which “catalogs seven years of work created by Reas,” and which “was published in an edition of five hundred to accompany the fall 2010 exhibition Process Compendium 2004–2010 at DAM Gallery in Berlin,” [5] as well as Form+Code in Design, Art, and Architecture (Princeton Architectural Press, 2010). Co-authored with Chandler McWilliams and Jeroen Barendse, this publication offers “a non-technical introduction to the history, theory, and practice of software in the arts. Organized into themes linked to aspects of code--repetition, transformation, parameters, visualization, and simulation--each of the book's sections contains an essay, code samples, and numerous illustrations. An accompanying website ( features code samples in various programming languages for the examples in the book.” [6]