Opening Reception: 13 January 2011,
New York, NY, December 14, 2010- Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition
of new work by multi-media artist Ben Rubin.
In his first solo show at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, Ben Rubin uses mid-20th-century
technological artifacts, miniature image projection, sound, and electronic text displays to
reveal vectors of movement, language, politics, and information.
The show will feature all new work, including The Language of Diplomacy (2010-2011), a 24-foot
text wall that mines the newest Wikileaks collection of diplomatic cables, searching for lexical
patterns and linguistic constructions that may point to new layers of meaning. This work is the
next in Rubin’s ongoing series of large-scale language visualizations that began with his
groundbreaking installation Listening Post (2002), and has continued with Moveable Type (2007,
commissioned by The New York Times for its lobby), and Shakespeare Machine (2012, for the lobby
of the Public Theater, both in New York).
In 2010, Rubin began An Anecdotal History, a new series of sculptural work based around predigital
media and communication artifacts (oscilloscopes, typewriters, cameras, loudspeakers),
and these works will be shown here for the first time.
Other works in the show include Optical Semaphore (2011), a mechanical semaphore transmitter,
Afghanistan Stability/Counterintelligence Dynamics (2011), a diagrammatic abstraction of the
coalition forces’ war strategy, and Boundary Conditions (2011), a new series of miniature video
projections that focuses on the dynamics of borders (political and otherwise).
“The Boundary Conditions series is a direct outgrowth of the work I did for Paul Virilio’s Stop-
Eject exhibition in 2008,” says Rubin. “That show centered around the collapse of geographic and
political space in the mobile, connected world, and Virilio wanted the artists to show how people, goods, animals, money, and information flow across borders of all kinds. This got me
thinking about vectors as a way to characterize these flows, and from there I started to see how
vectors actually connect much of the work that I do.”
“A moving train is a vector; the wind blowing from the northeast at seven miles per hour is a
vector; the change in the price of Google’s stock is a vector. When you look at it
statistically, any collection of language – a novel, a newspaper, an archive – is packed with
vectors. A vector is an indicator, a hint, a single clue about where we’re headed. If we could
somehow understand the mix of vectors that influence our trajectory at a given instant, we would
be able to briefly glimpse the future.”
Ben Rubin (b. 1964, Boston, Massachusetts) is a media artist based in New York City.
Rubin’s work is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the San Jose Museum of
Art, and the Science Museum, London, and has been shown at the Whitney Museum in New York,
the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris,
and the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe. Rubin has created large-scale public
artworks for the New York Times, the city of San José, and the Minneapolis Public
Library. He is currently developing a site-specific sculpture called Shakespeare Machine
for the Public Theater in New York, and just completed Beacon (2010), a luminous rooftop
sculpture commissioned for National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.
Rubin has worked closely with major figures in contemporary culture, including composer
Steve Reich, architects Diller+Scofidio/Renfro, Renzo Piano, James Polsheck, and James
Sanders, performers Laurie Anderson and Arto Lindsay, theorists Bruno Latour and Paul
Virilio, and artists Ann Hamilton and Beryl Korot. He frequently collaborates with UCLA
statistician Mark Hansen, and their joint projects include Moveable Type (2007), and
Listening Post (2002), which won the 2004 Golden Nica Prize from Ars Electronica as well as
a Webby award in 2003. In 2011, Rubin and Mark Hansen will join forces with the Elevator
Repair Service theater ensemble to present “Shuffle”, a new performance and installation
that will re-mix text from three American novels of the 1920s.
Rubin received a B.A. from Brown University in 1987 and an M.S. from the MIT Media Lab in
1989. He is on the faculty of the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU and has
previously taught at the Bard MFA program and the Yale School of Art, where he was
appointed critic in graphic design in 2004. During the Fall of 2010, he taught a new
graduate seminar, “An Anecdotal History of Sound,” at NYU/ITP.
For further information, please contact Amanda Bhalla Wilkes at (212) 243 8830 or by email at