Like most (art) projects, ghosts of data past was not the work of a single person but relied on the collaboration with and the support of a large number of people. Some of the people receiving credit and thanks here actively participated in this project. Others provided knowledge and inspiration, knowingly or unknowingly.

the Ghosts of

A big part of the basis for this project were the emails Hendrik Kempt 1

1Henrik Kempt has a practice as a philosopher, working in applied ethics, also in the field of AI. He writes books, too: You can find out more about him on his Twitterclose
and I wrote over the winter of 21/22. These emails make up half of the dataset for the text-generating AI.

The other half of the dataset was created by Sarah Lucey and Lola Wittstamm, who worked on the project as performers, improvising a messenger chat over three days.

All participants provided their faces for filming and image dataset creation.

Material and Software

The fonts used in this project are ABC Favorit by ABC Dynamo and PW Smokey.

The AI used in this project are GPT Neo by Eleuther AI for text generation and StyleGAN3 2

2The source code of StyleGAN3 was modified slightly by me, adding features that make dataset preparation from videos easier. You can find my fork here.close
3I would have preferred not to have used AIs by large corporations. Unfortunately, it is hard to avoid at this time, especially when quality in image generation is required.close
for selfie generation. Additionally, NSynth was used for generating and abstracting the notification sounds. For all AIs pre-trained models were used that were provided by the creators of the respective AIs. For GPT Neo and StyleGAN3, these were finetuned with my datasets.


The look of these documentation pages, especially the sidenotes, is inspired by by Gwern Branwen. Additionally, this site taught me a lot about working with styleGAN.

Ben Clarke inspired me to use styleGAN in the first place, when I saw his experiments.


I would like to thank all participants of the Graduate School for Moving Images at the Kunsthochschule Kassel, to whom I presented the current state of this project multiple times and who gave feedback and encouragement. These lovely people are: Alicia Carotta, Laura Därr, Katrin Esser, Juliane Henrich, Geeske Janßen, Steph Joyce, Young Kyun Kim, Silke Körber, Benedict Reinhold, Tobias Sauer, Christoph Schnerr, Andara Shastika and N.B. Spiders. I am also grateful for the work of Lisa Dreykluft and Holger Jenss, which creates this wonderful environment, and lets projects like this happen.

Additionally, I would like to thank the teachers and professors at the Kunsthochschule Kassel, who supported ghosts of data past through help and feedback: Joel Baumann, Björn Melhus, Rosa Menkmann, Jan Peters, and Johanna Schaffer.

Before a shared studio with Nikolai Huckle, I knew very little about how AI worked or what it might mean to work with it. Thanks to him that changed very quickly.

Conversations with Lukas Fuchs and Rebekka Wiese were instrumental in shaping the outcome of this experiment, thank you for that.

Thank you, Jonas Deuter and Julia Perkuhn for helping me with picking a font.

I would like to give special thanks to my parents, Gero Gries and Ivana Jokl, for their support in this project, but of course also for all their support in general.

And last but not at all least I would like to thank Res Sigusch, without whose intelligent input, emotional support and love this certainly would have been a much less joyful affair.


The project was funded by the KdFS, which allowed me to pay the performers and license the fonts used. Hendrik Kempt refused to be paid for his collaboration.

During my time working on this project, I was supported by the HAB scholarship from the HfMA.

Gefördert durch die Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen. Diese Maßnahme wird mitfinanziert durch Steuermittel auf der Grundlage des vom Sächsischen Landtag beschlossenen Haushaltes.