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And That’s The Way It Is


And That’s The Way It Is is a collaboration between the University of Texas’s public art program Landmarks and The Office for Creative Research from the spring of 2012. Drawing on transcripts from the Cronkite archives held by the Briscoe Center and live news feeds from around the country, Rubin has designed a digital interface that intertwines Cronkite’s legendary broadcasts with contemporary journalism projected into a choreographed basket weave across the CMA facade. In this, we see Cronkite’s transcripts represented by the Courier font while the live news is represented by Verdana. As a group of sixty students, faculty, and art enthusiasts gathered for the debut of the piece, the collective loud of the crowd carried throughout the newly appointed Walter Cronkite courtyard and struck the appropriate tonality for this unveiling: acknowledging communication.

The projection begins with the visual transcripts from the first 30 minute broadcast Walter Cronkite gave in 1963. This seminal broadcast includes an interview with then President John F Kennedy and marks a turning point in Cronkite’s relationship with CBS, a career that would span almost 20 years. It also ushers the viewer into an era rife with conflict, with Cronkite driving the dialogue to poignancy.


Photos of And That’s The Way It Is on Flickr


2013 CoD+A Award Winner, Public Spaces category
2013 Public Art Network year-in-review, selected project. “The Public Art Network Year in Review program recognizes exemplary and innovative, permanent or temporary public art works created or debuted in the previous calendar year.”



ARGUENDO opens at the Public Theater

Vin Knight and Mike Iveson in Arguendo at the Public Theater. September 2013. Photo: Joan Marcus.

Vin Knight and Mike Iveson in Arguendo at the Public Theater, New York. Sep 2013. Photo: Joan Marcus.


A new play by Elevator Repair Service Theater Company

Projection design by Ben Rubin and The Office for Creative Research
Sept 24 through Oct. 27 at the Public Theater, NYC
Click here for tickets and information

The New York Times Review

Arguendo re-enacts the 1991 Supreme Court Case Barnes v. Glen Theatre, initiated by a group of go-go dancers against an Indiana law banning public nudity. Electronically mediated with references to relevant court cases and the First Amendment, the play provides insight into the complex interactions between attorneys, judges, and citizens inside the courtroom. The entire oral argument is staged verbatim, interspersed with real interviews from the lawyers, justices, and an exotic dancer claiming her first amendment right to express herself nude. The play explores the moral boundaries & societal codes governing dance and self-expression. Arguendo was co-commissioned by The Public Theater, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, ArtsEmerson: The World on Stage and Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University. Arguendo was workshopped at The Public’s 2013 Under the Radar Festival and developed in part at The Bushwick Starr, New York Theatre Workshop and at Abrons Art Center, Vineyard Arts Project and LaMaMa E.T.C.
Ben Williams. Photo: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Ben Williams. Photo: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times


Susie Sokol, Ben Williams, Vin Knight and Mike Iveson. Photo: Joan Marcus.

Susie Sokol, Ben Williams, Vin Knight and Mike Iveson. Photo: Joan Marcus.


Mike Iveson. Photo: Paula Court.

Mike Iveson. Photo: Paula Court.


Susie Sokol, Vin Knight and Mike Iveson. Photo: Joan Marcus.

Susie Sokol, Vin Knight and Mike Iveson. Photo: Joan Marcus.


Created and Performed by Elevator Repair Service
Performers: Maggie Hoffman, Mike Iveson, Vin Knight, Susie Sokol, Ben Williams
Director: John Collins
Set Designer: David Zinn
Lighting Designer: Mark Barton
Costume Designer: Jacob A. Climer
Sound Designer: Matt Tierney
Projection Designer: Ben Rubin

Media software by The Office for Creative Research:
Ian Ardouin-Fumat, Ben Rubin, Jer Thorp, Noa Younse

Producer: Ariana Smart Truman
Production Stage Manager & Assistant Director: Sarah Hughes
Production Manager: Adam Shive
Movement Dramaturg: Katherine Profeta
Associate Projection Designer & Operator: Eva von Schweinitz
Associate Lighting Designer: Dans Maree Sheehan
Associate Producer: Lindsay Hockaday
Advisors to the Project: Emily Bazelon, Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz

ERS ensemble members Frank Boyd and Kate Scelsa contributed to the development of Arguendo. Frank Boyd played Mr. Ennis during workshop productions at The Guiding Lights Weekend (March 2012) and The Bushwick Starr (May 2012). Kate Scelsa developed the part of Rebecca Jackson for the workshop production at The Public’s Under the Radar Festival (January 2013).

Thanks to Floyd Abrams, Amy Adler, Bill Araiza, Kate Aufses, Nell Breyer, Douglas Curtis, Elizabeth Derbes, Mark Fleming, Linda Greenhouse, Mark Hansen, Katie Henderson, Bob Kerrey, Charles Platt, Robert C. Post, Lawrence Stierhoff, Pamela Talkin, Nelson Tebbe, Jeffrey Toobin, Ben Wizner, and Paul Wolfson.

Press: The New York Times Review

BEACON at the National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadelphia

Beacon (2010) is an light sculpture created by media artist Ben Rubin; its animated shapes are based on the unique visual structure of the pages of the Talmud. It was commissioned by the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, where it was permanently installed in November, 2010.

The Talmud is the central document of Jewish law, and it represents a vital conversation that has taken place over centuries. Each page of the Talmud is a unique graphic rendition of that conversation: a primary text is surrounded by layers of commentary, dissent, and counterargument, all arranged in concentric layers around the passage.   Beacon animates the Talmud by transforming each page into simple luminous shapes and then moving theses shapes through seven planes of LED light.  The result is an illuminated volume, brightest at its core, in a continual state of change.

From the museum’s press release:

Beacon is a permanent LED light installation created by media artist Ben Rubin. It glows from the top of the museum’s glass envelope facade on the fifth floor terrace at the southeast corner of Fifth and Market streets, where it  overlooks Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and the National Constitution Center.  The sculpture employs 2,688 LED nodes arranged on seven parallel mesh panels, each 64-inches wide by 96-inches tall, spaced 16-inches apart.

The sculpture’s luminous forms are drawn directly from more than 5,000 pages of the Talmud, one of the central texts of Judaism.  Rubin has transformed the layout of each Talmud page into a simplified graphic composition and programmed the pages to move in a fluid sequence through the installation’s seven planes of light, adding the glow from this essential Jewish text to Philadelphia’s nighttime skyline.

Its name, Beacon, suggests a light that leads the way to the Museum and also to the fundamental values of freedom, justice and the law, values embodied in both the Talmud and the U.S. Constitution.

National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadelphia, PA (Photo © Jeff Goldberg/Esto, courtesy of National Museum of American Jewish History)

Conceptual rendering, 2009 (image: Michele Gorman)

Serial study, 2009 (rendering: Michele Gorman)


Philadelphia Inquirer: National Museum of American Jewish History topped by a new light sculpture
By Tom Stoelker, July 22, 2010

High-resolution images can be downloaded here.
Please contact EAR Studio to request permission for publication.

Project credits:

Design & Modeling: Michele Gorman / EAR Studio Inc.
Fabrication & Engineering: Marty Chafkin / Perfection Electricks
LED Systems: RGB Lights, Chicago