M. Casey Rehm is a designer, algorithmic consultant, and founder of Kinch Studio in Los Angeles. He currently teaches programming and robotics at SCI-Arc, where Control, his new exhibition, opens Friday, July 1 at the SCI-Arc Gallery. The LA Forum spoke to Rehm about algorithms and designing for and with automated processes.
Control is a conflation of several trajectories within my work that until now remained separate. This is the first time where I try to integrate image-based interactive design with material algorithms as space-defining methods. There are elements of surveillance, material algorithms, and space-planning algorithms. It’s also the first project I’ve done where the design was fully automated through a series of agent algorithms. In the past those techniques only inhabited about 30 percent of the design process. This installation is closer to 95 percent automated in the design process.
I’m looking to create a space where media doesn’t feel like ornament or appendage but contributes to how people occupy the space. There is also an attempt to focus on designing at an interfacial scale, meaning that coherence for visitors is more at a human scale rather than at the overall formal level.
I think that we need to rethink design to reflect the changes that are happening even at the cognitive level of the current population. The ubiquitous production of fictional narratives on social media has become integral to how we see ourselves, each other, and the world around us—phenomena that was shocking in the past is now banal in its integration. Compression distortions, superpositioning of stimuli, Instagram filters, etc. have had a very real impact on how we live and how we think.