DuBois Installation


DuBois is an artist, and therefore his work is aesthetically motivated; however, his work also has an intended audience, such as the installation of word clouds composed from presidential State of the Union addresses created for the 2012 Democratic National Convention.  He uses computer algorithms to make his art statistically significant and precise, and uses conventional artistic media to make his computer algorithms aesthetically significant.  For example, his Self Portrait is a force directed graph of every email he has ever received, labeled in DuBois’ own handwriting.  The computer-generated graph, created from DuBois’ “digital biography,” is infused with part of his humanistic identity.


Lima and Sinclair both emphasize the importance of the viewer being able to interpret the data in their own way and not be led to a specific conclusion by the creator of the visualization. This means that everyone should be able to draw their own conclusions and even find make a new discovery in the data. I believe the purpose of DuBois’ work is to take common and well-known datasets, display them in artistic form that allows the viewer to easily understand the data, and develop their own understanding based on what they see.

To achieve this, DuBois implements his own technological hardware and software. He enjoys writing his own scripts to scrape data from the Internet, and developing a beautiful physical rendition of the information that allows it to be intuitively understood. One example of this was a network graph that DuBois generated of all of his email communication. He used his own software to generate the visualization, and then took it one step further by hand drawing the connections and individually writing each name. His email self-portrait effectively demonstrates his ability to bridge the physical and digital worlds.

My favorite work of DuBois is “A More Perfect Union”, which he created by first scraping data from 21 dating sites and downloading 19 million online dating profiles of Americans. He then applied algorithms to the data that found the most unique word for each city, by analyzing the biographical data from each profile. He then used this data to generate very aesthetically pleasing maps that plotted this data on a road atlas of the United States. I enjoyed this piece because DuBois found a unique way of displaying differences between different cities in the US. Most people, including myself, would not have considered scraping all of this data and then filtering it the way he did.

Luke DuBois – JZ

I was impressed by the work of Luke Dubois. The American landscape, the graph of emails the speeded movie and the word clouds of U.S. presidents of american all left me deep memory.

I think DuBois’ work combines beauty of art and richness of data. The intended effect of DuBois’ work can be that motivating audiences’ interests of culture and connection between arts and history. For example, the word clouds of presidents encourages me to find the relationship between of each word and big events during that time period.

He well used the three elements to achieve the effect. The algorithms is essential when searching and gathering data; such as the most frequent words of presidents. The email connection net is really artistic.

My favorite one is the graph of emails. At the beginning, I thought it was based on geography, then it appears to be about relationships. I started thinking about how will my email connections be like and really want to create my own email connections in the same way. Also, the handwriting makes the digital map more human interest.