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  • Open Sesame Gallery 220 King Street West Kitchener, ON, N2G 1A9 Canada (map)

REMIX discarded data into something altogether new.

 The lost pixels from compressed images of Tom's Diner.

The lost pixels from compressed images of Tom's Diner.


In The Ghost in the MP3, Ryan Maguire explores what is lost when we take sound waves and pack them into tiny digital containers, by lovingly reconstructing the sonic detritus of compression. It is a record of things considered expendable in this MP3 era.

"moDernisT" was created by salvaging the sounds and images lost to compression via the MP3 and MP4 codecs. The audio is comprised of lost mp3 compression material from the song "Tom's Diner" famously used as one of the main controls in the listening tests to develop the MP3 encoding algorithm. Here we find the form of the song intact, but the details are just remnants of the original. The video is the MP4 ghost of a corresponding video created in collaboration with Takahiro Suzuki. Thus, both audio and video are the "ghosts" of their respective compression codecs.

Check out this installation if you prefer vinyl to iTunes, love sifting through cardboard-covered music at record stores or want to strike a blow against Skynet.


Inspired by the infinity of the cosmos, the indeterminacy of the subatomic, and the complexity of life, Ryan Maguire explores the boundaries between the natural world, human experience, and the technologies that act as intermediaries between the two. His work is equal parts technical virtuosity and folk humanism, blurring lines between composition & improvisation, sound & video, acoustic & electric, deterministic & stochastic, fabricated & hand-crafted, analog & digital, lo-fi & high tech, and ultimately between poetry & science. He plays stringed instruments and programs computers, molds materials and builds circuits, writes essays and sings songs. Currently a Ph.D. student in Composition and Computer Technologies at the University of Virginia, Ryan earned his B.A. in Physics and taught math before completing postgraduate degrees at the New England Conservatory of Music and Dartmouth College in Composition and Digital Musics, respectively.