Visit to Samek Gallery

Luke DuBois’ work exemplifies many of the issues we have been talking about over the last two weeks.  A digital artist who writes his own programs to scrape data, DuBois creates both playful and incisive critiques of the American landscape.  Deeply aware that data visualization can have a tendency to seduce the viewer into a non-critical stance towards the data, DuBois subverts the very ground of quantifiable data.

The exhibit covers an array of his work.  On one wall we see what look like word clouds from presidential State of the Union addresses. Printed on heavy stock paper using one of the last large font print shops in NYC, DuBois created this array fro the Democratic National Convention in 2012.

On the opposite wall DuBois has hand drawn state maps from the Rand McNally road atlas.  He joined approximately 80 dating sites under multiple profiles and geolocated the dominant terms of each town.  Those terms then were handwritten onto the maps to replace the geographical names.  Thus, NYC becomes “Now”.

On another wall, DuBois has created a force directed graph of all the emails he has received in his life.  Again, the nodes are handwritten onto the printed edge map.

Walk through the exhibition:

Bearing in mind both Lima’s and Sinclair’s arguments about the importance of and change in  knowledge representation what do you think is the intended effect of DuBois’ work?

How has he used both computer algorithms, digital visualization and conventional artistic media to achieve this effect?

What is your favorite visualization/installation?  Can you say why?

We will be spending time with the artist on October 7.  He is very much looking forward to expanding more on his artistic process and also on other pieces that are not on show here that underscore his critical perspective on the power of data visualization.

When you have gone through the exhibit, spend a few minutes composing some brief answers to the questions above and post them to the course site under the category “Samek”