Archives for : September2010

Listening Post

Listening Post

Listening Post is an art installation by Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin that culls text fragments in real time from thousands of unrestricted Internet chat rooms, bulletin boards and other public forums. The texts are read (or sung) by a voice synthesizer, and simultaneously displayed across a suspended grid of more than two hundred small electronic screens.

Listening Post cycles through a series of six movements, each a different arrangement of visual, aural, and musical elements, each with it’s own data processing logic.

Dissociating the communication from its conventional on-screen presence, Listening Post is a visual and sonic response to the content, magnitude, and immediacy of virtual communication.

Listening Post can be seen at The London Science Musuem and The San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, Calif.


Photos of Listening Post on Flickr








Sound is produced as if each disc were a phonograph record. As each disc spins fast or slow, backwards or forwards, speeding up or slowing down, its sound follows accordingly.

Presented at the Bumbershoot Visual Arts Exhibition, Seattle. August 26th – September 1st, 2003



Look and Listen: Ben Rubin gives shape to sound The Stranger, week of August 28th, 2003, by Emily Hall

Open Outcry

Sonic Garden artists:
Ben Rubin, Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, and Marina Rosenfeld
Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders


Commissioned by Creative Time for Sonic Garden

World Financial Center, New York
October 17th, 2002 – November 30th, 2002

Winner of Best Documentary: Honorable Mention at the 2003 Third Coast International Audio Festival / Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition.

Featured on Chicago Public Radio’s Third Coast Festival under “What We’re Listening To:”. Includes an interview with Ben Rubin.
April 29 – May 12, 2003

A few months after 9/11, I was asked to create a sound that would commemorate the reopening of the Winter Garden, a huge atrium space in the World Financial Center that was destroyed when the towers came down. The place was still in shambles then, and the World Financial Center complex was mostly empty, but one building on the far end of the complex was already filled with people. And those people were doing something curious. They were standing around in huge circles, hundreds of them, and shouting at each other, for hours, every day. It turns out that this shouting has a name; it’s called open outcry trading, and through it these people, almost all of them men, set the price that the world will pay each day for a barrel of oil, a gallon of gas, an ounce of gold, and a few other things. Although their building was surrounded by wreckage and accessible at first only by boat, the traders of the New York Mercantile Exchange had come back to work only a few weeks after 9/11. When I thought about what sound represented that place, it was this: the sound of these men shouting, each doing his best to buy low and sell high, a music of call and response that had been produced in lower Manhattan by generations of traders since the 19th century. More recently, it’s here that the traders have been reacting to rumblings of war, and then to actual war, the prices of energy and precious metals lurching and trembling as events unfolded in Washington, at the U.N., and in Iraq. This piece was made before the war; it was first played last fall in the Winter Garden.

Credits Featuring the voices of Madeline Boyd, J. Robert Collins, Jr., David Greenberg, John Hanneman, Vincent Viola, Elisa Zuritsky, and others.

Special thanks to Mark Hansen, Nachamah Jacobovits, John Kilgore, Andrew G. Milmoe, Charlie Richmond, Julie Rottenberg, Richard Schaeffer, Guy Taylor, Marc Wise, Jamie York, New York Mercantile Exchange, and the New York Board of Trade.

Weeks of April 25th and October 24, 2003, The Next Big Thing included Open Outcry as a feature on their weekly program.

Story Pipeline


In the BPEC community center in Anchorage, Alaska, stories told by Alaskans appear on a plasma video screen and simultaneously emerge as real-time text transcriptions on a 150 long LED display. The text zig-zags indoors down a glass corridor, then veers out through the plate glass, dancing between the trees until it disappears out of sight.

Original design by Ben Rubin/EAR Studio in collaboration with Robin Sylvestri, Cecile Bouchier, Bill Ballou, Alexis Kraft, Bruce Williams, Ron Bateman and the architects of Koonce, Pfeffer, Bettis, Anchroage, Alaska. Installation fabrication and video production by Batwin+Robin productions. LED sign by Sunrise Systems. Audiovisual installation and programming by Scharff Weisberg.



Ear Studio collaborated with Diller+Scofidio on the media and interactive aspects of Blur, the centerpiece pavilion of Swiss Expo 2002. A football field-sized suspended platform shrouded in a perpetual cloud of man-made fog, the Blur Pavilion was to host an interactive media project featuring wearable, wireless technology embedded into “Brain Coats,” technologically-enhanced raincoats. Visitors’ Brain Coats were to react to each other, indicating either positive or negative affinity between visitors through color changes and sound.


The project was open from May to October of 2002 in Yverdon, Switzerland.




Brasserie Video Beam Installation Created in collaboration with Diller+Scofidio


Customers entering through the revolving door are photographed by a video camera. An ephemeral record of the clientele emerges as the images shift to the right each time a new arrival appears on the leftmost screen. Together with the architecture, the video installation plays on the notion of a “grand entrance.” The Brasserie won the 2000 James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Restaurant Design, and was selected for Design Distinction by the 2000 I.D. Magazine Design Review Jury. Together with the architecture, the video installation plays on the notion of a “grand entrance.”

“Diller and Scofidio’s renovation of the beloved restaurant, in the basement of the Seagram’s building, designed by Mies Van der Rohe, was hailed for its restrained use of technology, particularly the installations by sound and video artist Ben Rubin, of EAR Studio.” – I.D. Magazine, July/August 2000