WEDNESDAY PICK | Algorithmic sci-fi noir at the Walker Art Center


Several years ago I experimented with making short films—recording video and setting it to different soundtracks, varying the speed of the video to match the length of the audio tracks. In the process I made a fascinating discovery: no matter how I synced a video to a soundtrack, there would be moments of uncanny synchrony, moments I would never have believed could be coincidental if I hadn’t just created the coincidence.

It’s surprising that there haven’t been more experiments with chance in filmmaking, since by its nature the medium lends itself much more to a sense of inspired randomness than do music or writing. In the spirit of John Cage and other avant-garde pioneers, Eve Sussman and the Rufus Corporation have created what may be the world’s first randomly generated art film. Whiteonwhite: algorithmicnoir (rolling your eyes at the title is very permissible) incorporates fragments of narration, music, and video into a neverending film experience generated by an algorithm—the processes of which are displayed at the side of the screen.

Like The NeverEnding Story and the Endless Bridge, though, this film will come to an end—on July 8, when its tenure at the Walker Art Center ends. If the premise intrigues, there’s no time like the present.