Ben Rubin (artist)

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Ben Rubin
Background information
Birth nameBenjamin Rubin
BornBoston, Massachusetts, U.S.
GenresMedia Art, Data Art, Sound Design
Occupation(s)Media Artist, Designer
Years active1993–present

Ben Rubin (born 1964) is a media artist and designer based in New York City. He is best known for his data-driven media installations and public artworks, including Listening Post and Moveable Type, both created in collaboration with statistician and journalism professor Mark Hansen. Since 2015, Rubin has served as the director of the Center for Data Arts at The New School, where he is an associate professor of design.[1][2]

Life and education[edit]

Rubin was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1964. He graduated from Brown University in 1987 with an AB degree in Computer Science and Semiotics.[3] He went on to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he studied with Ricky Leacock and Glorianna Davenport, earning an MS in Visual Studies at the MIT Media Lab in 1989.[4] Rubin moved to New York in 1993. In 1998, he founded Electronic Arts Research (EAR), a multimedia art and design studio.[5] He co-founded The Office for Creative Research in 2013, along with data artist Jer Thorp and, statistician Mark Hansen.[6] Rubin joined the faculty of The New School in 2015, becoming the director of the Center for Data Arts.

Art career[edit]

Rubin's work uses computational methods, including Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning, to engage with cultural source material (art collections, literary works, public documents, news, and social media). His work takes a variety of forms, including sculpture, projections, sound installations, immersive environments, and live performance.

His works have been exhibited at Whitney Museum of American Art,[7] Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, Art Institute of Chicago,[8] Fondation Cartier in Paris,[9] Aarhus Art Museum in Denmark,[10] MIT List Visual Arts Center,[11] Vancouver Art Gallery,[12] Skirball Center in Los Angeles (in a show organized by the Getty Museum),[13] Brooklyn Academy of Music[14] and San Jose Museum of Art.[15]

In addition to his own work, Rubin has collaborated with a wide range of people, including musicians and composers (Arto Lindsey, Steve Reich, Laurie Anderson, George Lewis, Richard Teitlebaum, Zeena Parkins), architects (Diller+Scofidio / Renfro, James Polshek, Rafael Pelli, Renzo Piano, SOM), artists (Anne Hamilton, Lorna Simpson), and philosophers (Bruno Latour, Paul Virilio). Many of Rubin's most important works were created in the course of his longtime collaboration with statistician Mark Hansen.[16]

Rubin has been resident artist at the Steim Foundation Amsterdam, Banff Centre For The Arts Alberta,[17] On the Boards Seattle,[18] and Brooklyn Academy of Music[19] and Bell Laboratories. In 2014, The Office of Creative Research was part of MoMA's Artists Experiment initiative.[20]

Public art[edit]

Rubin's commissioned work is permanently installed at the New York Times building and the Public Theater in New York, as well as at the headquarters of Adobe Systems in San Jose, California, and Brookfield Place, Calgary.

His public art installation And That’s The Way It Is (2012) at the University of Texas campus in Austin, a text based video inspired by broadcast television news from Walter Cronkite's newscasts and other contemporary news feeds won the CoD+A Award in 2013.[citation needed]


Between 1997 and 2002, Rubin taught at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program.[21] In 2004, he joined as Critic in Yale School of Art's MFA in Graphic Design program where he remained until 2006.[22]


In 1988, while still in graduate school at MIT, Rubin was hired as a consultant by Beryl Korot and music composer Steve Reich to develop technology for their multimedia opera, The Cave, which premiered in Vienna in 1993.[23] In 1994, Rubin began the first of several collaborations with Laurie Anderson, creating software and technical solutions for her performance tours, including Nerve Bible (1994), Songs and Stories from Moby Dick (1999), Dal Vivo (1998), and numerous installation projects.

Rubin was a founding member of The Builders Association theater company.[citation needed]

Starting in 2007, Rubin began an ongoing series of collaborations with the New York-based theater ensemble Elevator Repair Service (ERS), developing a performance installation called Shuffle (2009-2014) that remixed text from three 1920s American novels.[24][25] In 2013, Rubin won an Obie Award for his projection design for Elevator Repair Service's Arguendo, a theatrical piece based on U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments that debuted at the Public Theater in New York.


Solo exhibitions[edit]

Group exhibitions[edit]


  • Wired Rave Award nomination for Listening Post (with Mark Hansen) 2003
  • Webby Award, NetArt category, for Listening Post (with Mark Hansen) 2003
  • Third Coast International Audio Festival Documentary Award for Open Outcry 2003
  • Prix Ars Electronica, Golden Nica Award for Listening Post (with Mark Hansen) 2004[37]
  • Public Art Dialog PAD Award for achievement in the field of public art 2012 [38]
  • CoD+A Awards top 100 projects, Public Spaces Category for Shakespeare Machine 2013
  • Public Art Network year-in-review, selection for And That’s the Way it Is 2013
  • NYC Public Design Commission Excellence in Design Award for Shakespeare Machine 2013[39]
  • CoD+A Award Winner, Public Spaces category for And That’s the Way it Is 2013
  • Drama Desk nomination for Projection Design for Arguendo 2014 [40]
  • Obie Award for Projection Design for Arguendo 2014[41]


  1. ^ "Center for Data Arts". Center for Data Arts. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  2. ^ "XR Center". Retrieved 2019-07-26. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Alumni | Modern Culture and Media". Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  4. ^ "Alumni". MIT Media Lab. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  5. ^ Duncan, David (2011-04-25). "Ben Rubin". Art in America. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  6. ^ contributor, Tyler Woods / (2017-06-02). "This Brooklyn data and design studio is calling it quits". Brooklyn. Retrieved 2019-07-26. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  7. ^ "Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin at Whitney". Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  8. ^ "Interview with Ben Rubin". Retrieved 2019-07-26.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Fondation Cartier". Retrieved 2019-07-26.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Ben.rubin | REFF Romaeuropa FakeFactory". Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  11. ^ "Digital Media RISD". Retrieved 2019-07-26.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "[Video] ReForm | Data Becomes Art in Immersive Visualizations". 2015-06-25. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  13. ^ Rubin, Ben (2011-12-11), Amplify, retrieved 2019-07-26
  14. ^ "Opinion | A Marriage of Technology and Art". The New York Times. 2007-11-03. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  15. ^ "Press". San José Museum of Art. 2019-07-08. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  16. ^ Eleey, Peter (6 May 2003). "Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin". Frieze (75).
  17. ^ "BEN RUBIN - ADA | Archive of Digital Art". Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  18. ^ "Look and Listen, The Stranger". Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  19. ^ "Opinion | A Marriage of Technology and Art". The New York Times. 2007-11-03. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  20. ^ "Artists Experiment MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  21. ^ "ITP People Directory". Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  22. ^ "Yale University School of Art: Ben Rubin". Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  23. ^ Reich, Steve (2002-04-11). Writings on Music, 1965-2000. ISBN 9780199880485.
  24. ^ McCracken, Grant David (2012). Culturematic: How Reality TV, John Cheever, a Pie Lab, Julia Child, Fantasy Football, Burning Man, the Ford Fiesta Movement, Rube Goldberg, NFL Films, Wordle, Two and a Half Men, a 10,000-year Symphony, and ROFLcon Memes Will Help You Create and Execute Breakthrough Ideas. ISBN 9781422143292.
  25. ^ Fischer-Lichte, Erika (2014-04-03). The Routledge Introduction to Theatre and Performance Studies. ISBN 9781135083885.
  26. ^ Smith, Roberta (2003-02-21). "ART IN REVIEW; Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin -- 'Listening Post'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  27. ^ "The Listening Post". 21st Century Digital Art. Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  28. ^ Smith, Roberta (2003-02-21). "ART IN REVIEW; Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin -- 'Listening Post'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  29. ^ Glynn, Ruairi. "Listening Post – Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin". Interactive Architecture Lab. Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  30. ^ Smith, Roberta (2003-02-21). "ART IN REVIEW; Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin -- 'Listening Post'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  31. ^ Glynn, Ruairi. "Listening Post – Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin". Interactive Architecture Lab. Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  32. ^ Duncan, David (2011-04-25). "Ben Rubin". Art in America. Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  33. ^ "artnet". Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  34. ^ "Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery". Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  35. ^ "Grand Hotel - Amelia Black". Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  36. ^ "GLOBALE: Infosphere | 05.09.2015 (All day) to 31.01.2016 (All day) | ZKM". Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  37. ^ "Ars Electronica Archive". Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  38. ^ "Annual Award | Public Art Dialogue". Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  39. ^ "Design Commission - Thirty-First Annual Design Awards". Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  40. ^ Gans, Andrew (2014-04-25). "2014 Annual Drama Desk Awards Nominations Announced; Gentleman's Guide Earns 12 Nominations". Playbill. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  41. ^ "Here are Your 2014 Obie Awards Winners". Obie Awards. 2014-05-21. Retrieved 2019-07-26.