Center For the Arts CFA

Wesleyan University's Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery presents "R. Luke DuBois: In Real Time" September 16 through December 13, 2015

Thursday, August 20, 2015 - Sunday, December 13, 2015

Wesleyan University's Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery presents "R. Luke DuBois: In Real Time" September 16 through December 13, 2015

Wesleyan University's Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery
presents
R. Luke Dubois: In Real Time
Wednesday, September 16 through Sunday, December 13, 2015
Main Gallery, Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery
First major gallery presentation by
genre-defying composer, artist, and performer
 
 
Middletown, Conn.—R. Luke DuBois: In Real Time, the first major gallery presentation by genre-defying composer, artist, and performer R. Luke DuBois, featuring maps, scores, and videos that use real-time data flows and media footage to raise questions of artistic agency, privacy, and fair use, will be on view in the Main Gallery at Wesleyan University’s Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, located at 283 Washington Terrace on the Wesleyan campus in Middletown, Connecticut, from Wednesday, September 16 through Sunday, December 13, 2015. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Sunday from Noon to 5pm. Gallery admission is free. The exhibition is curated by Guest Curator Lauren Rosati.
 
The public is invited to attend the opening reception on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 from 5:30pm to 6:30pm in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery. An artist talk by Mr. Dubois will take place before the opening reception, on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at 4:30pm in CFA Hall, located at 287 Washington Terrace on the Wesleyan campus in Middletown. The opening reception and artist talk are free.
 
The exhibition is co-sponsored by Wesleyan University’s Department of Art & Art History, Department of Government, Digital and Computational Knowledge Initiative, Information Technology Services, the Office of Academic Affairs, and the Quantitative Analysis Center. artscope is a media sponsor of this exhibition.
 
The gallery will be closed from Wednesday, November 25 through Monday, November 30, 2015 for the Thanksgiving holiday.
 
About the Exhibition
Today’s information culture is comprised largely of data that is networked and distributed, exchanged and erased, replicated and appropriated, downloaded and updated. Whether in the form of image streams, tags, numerical sequences, or computer code, data (generated by aggregators, algorithms, or the human hand) saturates—indeed, formats—our lives. And with a 24/7 news cycle, multiple social media accounts, and several mobile devices, we are quite literally tethered to real-time data flows.
 
In the work of composer, artist, and performer R. Luke DuBois, this information gains a body through which to speak. Manifested as lists, scores, maps, and samples, Mr. DuBois creates “information objects”—material manifestations of numerical or linguistic data—that harness and restructure real-time data, current statistics, and contemporary footage. Many of his projects, which explore subjects including the Iraq War, the U.S. Electoral College, presidential speeches, and the census, engage in what Tiziana Terranova calls a “network politics,” an active (and activist) engagement with dynamic flows of information. In his work "Acceptance," Barack Obama and Mitt Romney deliver nomination speeches at their respective party conventions in near synchronicity, highlighting the congruence of language, message, and gesture between the two men and, implicitly, the similar visions of the Democratic and Republican parties. Another work, "Hard Data," is an interactive website, video, six-movement composition for string quartet, and open-source score based on mined and sonified data from American military actions in Iraq. The number of notes in each measure of music correlates to the number of dead men, children, soldiers, refugees, and women, or to the number of people still missing, simultaneously catering to and critiquing our desire to “know the numbers” of war. "Hard Data" is one of many examples of Mr. DuBois’ work that is produced in a number of dispersed formats for diffuse exhibition contexts. His projects can take the form of a website, performance, score, video, print, or book; and are intended for galleries, public spaces, the internet, performance halls, and computer programs—sometimes simultaneously. In this sense, Mr. DuBois not only utilizes the 0s and 1s of data as source material for his work, but also thematizes their mobility and mutability in its presentation.
 
While much of Mr. DuBois’ work relies on publicly available information taken from news media, government websites, and published sources, some of his projects blatantly test the limits of copyright, privacy, and fair use. For "A More Perfect Union," Mr. DuBois downloaded more than 19 million online dating profiles posted by single Americans, harvested more than 20,000 unique words that people used to describe themselves or their ideal partner, and redrew maps of each state based on the most common descriptors. This one-time mass downloading of semi-private data for aesthetic ends raises ethical questions, but also dismantles a subscriber-based system designed for economic profit through continued use. Indeed, Mr. DuBois aims to liberate information and to redirect vertical, or privileged, access to data towards the horizontal, or open source.
 
Querying, gathering, and indexing information in order to explore its material and political potential, Mr. DuBois taps into the distributed authorship of online data, raising questions of originality and artistic agency. In his book "After Art" (2012),art historian David Joselit argues that this “epistemology of [the] search” is the most productive avenue for art-making in a globalized and technologized world. “What now matters most,” he writes, “is not the production of new content, but its retrieval in intelligible patterns through acts of reframing, capturing, reiterating, and documenting.” The acceleration and ease of cultural exchange made possible by digital networks and worldwide infrastructure offers real-time data at our fingertips, ripe for mining.
 
Projects to be shown as part of the "R. Luke DuBois: In Real Time" exhibition include "Hard Data" (2009);  "Acceptance"(2012);  "A More Perfect Union" (2010-2011); "Self-Portrait 1993-2014" (2014), a data visualization work on paper that pictures a force-directed graph of Mr. DuBois’ email since 1993; and "Hindsight is Always 20/20"(2008), a series of prints that visualize presidential State of the Union addresses as taxonomic eye charts. These works will be shown alongside a new project that resamples video from thousands of political advertisements made available through the Wesleyan Media Project. Like the artwork it contains, the exhibition will be organized as a constant flow of visual information rather than as a number of discrete projects—as a database, if you will, of Mr. DuBois’ projects and concerns. Throughout the exhibition, public programs and workshops (see "Related Events" below) will engage a larger community of artists, intellectuals, theorists, and makers both on the Wesleyan campus and beyond. A free PDF, downloadable from the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha gallery website later this fall, will feature an essay, source code for reproducing several of Mr. DuBois’ queries, and other information which will be updated throughout the course of the exhibition.
 
About R. Luke DuBois
R. Luke DuBois explores the temporal, verbal, and visual structures of cultural and personal ephemera. He holds a doctorate in music composition from Columbia University, and has lectured and taught worldwide on interactive sound and video performance. He has collaborated on interactive performance, installation, and music production work with many artists and organizations including Toni Dove, Todd Reynolds, Jamie Jewett, Bora Yoon, Michael Joaquin Grey, Matthew Ritchie, Elliott Sharp, Michael Gordon, Maya Lin, Bang on a Can, Engine 27, Harvestworks, and LEMUR, and was the director of the Princeton Laptop Orchestra for its 2007 season.
 
Stemming from his investigations of “time-lapse phonography,” his work is a sonic and encyclopedic relative to time-lapse photography. Just as a long camera exposure fuses motion into a single image, his projects reveal the average sonority, visual language, and vocabulary in music, film, text, or cultural information. Exhibitions of his work have included the Insitut Valencià d’Art Modern, Spain; 2008 Democratic National Convention, Denver; Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis; San Jose Museum of Art; National Constitution Center, Philadelphia; Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art; Daelim Contemporary Art Museum, Seoul; 2007 Sundance Film Festival; the Sydney Film Festival; the Smithsonian American Art Museum; PROSPECT.2 New Orleans; and the Aspen Institute. His work and writing has appeared in print and online in the New York Times, National Geographic, and Esquire Magazine. A major survey of his work, "NOW," received its premiere at the Ringling Museum of Art in 2014, with a catalogue published by Scala Art & Heritage Publishers.
 
An active visual and musical collaborator, Mr. DuBois is the co-author of Jitter, a software suite for the real-time manipulation of matrix data developed by San Francisco-based software company Cycling '74. He appears on nearly 25 albums, both individually and as part of the avant-garde electronic group The Freight Elevator Quartet. He currently performs as part of Bioluminescence, a duo with vocalist Lesley Flanigan that explores the modality of the human voice; and in Fair Use, a trio with Zach Layton and Matthew Ostrowski that looks at our accelerating culture through electronic performance and remixing of cinema.

Mr. DuBois has lived for the last 22 years in New York City. He is the director of the Brooklyn Experimental Media Center at the New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering, and is on the Board of Directors of the ISSUE Project Room. His records are available on Caipirinha/Sire, Liquid Sky, C74, and Cantaloupe Music. His artwork is represented by bitforms gallery in New York City.
 
For more information about R. Luke Dubois, please visit http://lukedubois.com/.
 
Related Events

In Conversation with Reid Farrington
Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 5pm
CFA Hall, 287 Washington Terrace, Middletown, Connecticut
FREE!

New media artist, theater director, and designer Reid Farrington will be inconversation with R. Luke DuBois. Each of Mr. Farrington’s projects is an exploration ofcontemporary ways of storytelling; combining mediated elements, live figures,and voices to tell stories. His signature style is the visual blending of live performances with projected characters and images.
 
"Hard Data Redux"
Friday, November 20, 2015 at 8pm
Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, 283 Washington Terrace, Middletown, Connecticut
FREE!
 
In collaboration with Wesleyan’s Music Department, R. Luke DuBois presents a generative composition for musicians that uses data sets and real-time information as the basis for its score, based on the same principles as his 2009 work "Hard Data," which used data from American military actions in Iraq as the source material for a series of audiovisual compositions.

Todd Reynolds: "Still Life with Microphone"
Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 8pm
CFA Hall, 287 Washington Terrace, Middletown, Connecticut
FREE!

Violinist, composer, educator, and technologist Todd Reynolds will perform music written for him by R. Luke DuBois, Assistant Professor of Music Paula Matthusen, and Pulitzer Prize winner David Lang, augmented and amplified by the live, performance-responsive video art of Mr. DuBois. Mr. Reynolds has performed with Steve Reich, Meredith Monk, and Bang on a Can, among other artists.

A World of Arts in the Heart of Connecticut