Archives for : October2010

Moveable Type

Moveable Type by Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin


Moveable Type, by New York artist Ben Rubin and U.C.L.A. associate professor Mark Hansen, is an artwork commissioned for the ground-floor lobby of The New York Times Building in New York City. It is a dynamic portrait of The Times. Statistical methods and natural-language processing algorithms are used to parse the daily output of the paper (news, features, editorials) and the archives, as well as the activity of visitors to (browsing, searching, commenting). The resulting refracted view of The Times is displayed on 560 vacuum-fluorescent display screens installed in the lobby.

Moveable Type is located in the lobby of the New York Times Building on Eighth Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets in New York City. It is free and open to the public in the public Monday – Saturday, 8am – 7pm.

Moveable Type



Photos of Moveable Type on Flickr


The New York Times
Media Bistro

Terre Natale, or Native Land, Stop Eject


Terre Natale, or Native Land, Stop Eject, was an exhibition organized by Raymond Depardon & Paul Virilio and originally shown at the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art in Paris.

Part of Terre Natale, “Exits, Parts 1 & 2,” was created by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Laura Kurgan, Mark Hansen, and Ben Rubin. From the Cartier Foundation website:

EXIT, an innovative installation by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Laura Kurgan, Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin, in collaboration with Stewart Smith and Robert Gerard Pietrusko, gives form to Paul Virilio’s concepts on human trajectories across the globe. In a circular and immersive projection, it presents 6 animated maps generated by a database of information provided by international organizations, with a focus upon the following subjects: Population Shifts: Cities; Remittances: Sending Money Home; Political Refugees and Forced Migration; Natural Catastrophes; Rising Seas, Sinking Cities; Speechless and Deforestation. Virilio contextualizes these maps in an accompanying video, sharing his nostalgia about the magnitude of the world, about its scale when faced with the disappearance of geographic space, an idea that has been at the heart of his work for decades.


More photos on Flickr

You can check out the website for Terre Natale, with more information and many great images, here.

San Jose Semaphore


SEMAPHORE: a visual apparatus for communicating messages over distance.

San Jose Semaphore (2006), by artist Ben Rubin, is a permanent public artwork commissioned by Adobe Systems Incorporated in collaboration with the City of San Jose’s Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Program.

Located within the top floors of Adobe’s Almaden Tower headquarters in San Jose, California, San Jose Semaphore is a kinetic artwork that illuminates the San Jose skyline with the transmission of a coded message. Like the Semaphore Telegraphs of the 18th century, the San Jose Semaphore is a machine for communication. Each wheel of the San Jose Semaphore can assume four distinct positions: vertical, horizontal, and left and right-leaning diagonal; together, the four wheels have a vocabulary of 256 possible states. San Jose Semaphore transmits its message at a steady rate; its four wheels turn to new positions every 7.2 seconds.

Adobe’s Almaden Tower is situated directly beneath the flight path for aircraft landing at the Mineta San Jose International Airport, and the San Jose Semaphore is sensitive to the passage of aircraft above it. When a plane flies overhead, Semaphore reacts visibly to the disturbance, and its steady rhythm is broken. After the plane has passed, the disks resume their steady, purposeful transmission.

San Jose Semaphore is a slow-motion magnifier for data transmission that functions as a beacon in the San Jose skyline. Unlike digital signals that pass invisibly through the air and across microscopic circuitry, the San Jose Semaphore’s communication efforts are visible and clear.

Location: San Jose, CA

Photos of San Jose Semaphore on Flickr

And below is a slide show with a few images:


1.  Huffington Post

Four Stories

Built into the structure of the two glass elevator cabs in Library Hall, “Four Stories” displays the titles of recently checked-out books in large, illuminated text as the elevators move between floors. This text is visible from much of the Library Hall. “Four Stories” is a permanent public artwork commissioned by the city of Minneapolis.

Dimensions: two panels, each 48″ x 90″ (122 cm x 229 cm)

Media / Technology: Addressable LED tube fixtures, laser range finders, custom software
Custom software by Small Design Firm
Minneapolis Public Library designed by Pelli Clark Pelli Architects

Dark Source

Dark Source

Dark Source Installation


Dark Source shows the inner workings of a commercial electronic voting machine, the Diebold AccuVote-TS touch-screen voting terminal that has recently been adopted in many U.S. states. What you see here is a representation of the software program that runs inside this machines. To be specific, it is a printout of version 4.3.1 of the AccuVote-TS source code 49,609 lines of C++. 720 pages of the printout are suspended, and several hundred additional pages can be accessed on microfiche.

Calling its source code a trade secret, Diebold has asserted its proprietary interest in protecting its intellectual property. Therefore the code, which had been obtained over the internet following a 2002 security failure at Diebold, has been blacked out in its entirety in order to comply with trade secrecy laws.

What is on display, then, is not the forbidden source code, but rather the state of affairs in which we find ourselves today, one in which the critical infrastructure of democracy in the United States is becoming privately owned, and being private, is also being made secret.

Premiered at “Making Things Public. Atmospheres of Democracy” exhibition, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany.
March 19th – August 7th, 2005

Curated by Bruno LatourPeter Weibel and Steve Dietz.
Location: ZKM in 2005 and at The Kitchen in 2008

Photos of Dark Source on Flickr


Thanks are due to Cindy Cohen, Sarah Gifford, Mark Hansen, Dieter Jansen, Tom Keenan, Tom Levin, Luke Smith, Peter Zuspan, Dan Wallach, Hong-kai Wang and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, all of whom provided indispensable help and guidance in the conception and realization of this artwork.

Sign Language

Sign Language at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery
Featuring new light works
by Ben Rubin and Tatsuo Miyajima


In Ben Rubin’s new pieces, texts extracted from topical online sources emerge from tubes of moving light. For (in)stability (2003), created in response to the war in Iraq, Rubin (working with Mark Hansen) filtered 1,000 online news articles five days after the 2003 U.S. invasion and extracted the most commonly cited quote: “The situation is stable.” The show also included two new works created from reactions to the reelection of George W. Bush. Circumstances Have Changed (2004) references quotations pulled from 4000 news articles posted online in the hours following the election, and Untitled (2004) traces online chat rooms’ widespread conversations at the same moment.

Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery