Rhythmus 21st Century is a remake of Hans Richter’s seminal film from 1921 Rhythmus 21. Comprised of four versions (Straight, Gradient, Color/Film, Color/Gradient), each video was (re)made with fame–accurate precision using sophisticated animation software. Through these multiple (re)iterations of Rhythums 21, a cultural artifact is not simply preserved or even recycled, but reinvented. Instead of the clarity and directness of citation, Rhythmus 21st Century draws attention to the unreliability of the archive where even the exact trace of an original can accrue meaning and be transformed through newly created associations. This process raises important questions about the role of materiality in the digital age, the various ways art history’s archive might be used, and the complicated roles they play shaping a collective cultural memory.

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