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R. Luke DuBois: Love in the Time of Data

March 7, 2018 - August 15, 2018

NAS Building, 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W.

“Just as data visualization helps us to make sense of the ‘facts’ of our world, art made with data lets us look critically at those ‘facts,’” notes the critically acclaimed artist, composer, and engineer R. Luke DuBois.

Like many contemporary artists, DuBois’ work resists easy categorization, encompassing filmmaking, printmaking, collaborative performance, computer programming, and data mining as well. Keenly aware of our relationship to the numerous streams of data that surround us, DuBois seeks to explore how we make sense of it, and how, in the process, we make sense of ourselves. The elegant pair of works brought together in this exhibition seek to explore strategies for connecting with one another in a world that asks us to tailor our behaviors to accommodate new technologies, and in which personal subjectivity defies and escapes the regimented categories we may seek to impose upon it.

A More Perfect Union is a map that provides an alternate version of the 2010 census, and reveals how the inhabitants of particular cities understand themselves, based upon personally-descriptive data provided through dating websites. Fashionably Late for the Relationship is a 63-minute video that provides a dreamscape of sorts exploring the contrasting syncopation between the life of an individual and that of the city at large. Developing a poetics of the personal in a technologically saturated society, DuBois, through his playful artistic interventions, strives to capture an authentic expression of the self, even as it fends off a dissolution into bits.  

R. Luke DuBois (b. 1975, New Jersey) is a multidisciplinary artist who explores the temporal, verbal, and visual structures of cultural ephemera. His series Hindsight is Always 20/20 was featured at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, CO. In February 2016, he participated in TED, presenting a talk on his “Insightful human portraits made from data.” Recently the subject of the solo exhibition Now, DuBois’ work has been exhibited at Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, ME; the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; and the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art, OH, among other venues. He holds a Doctorate in Music Composition from Columbia University and was a member of the musical performance group the Freight Elevator Quartet (FEQ).

This exhibition was curated by Anne Collins Goodyear. It was organized by Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences in collaboration with bitforms gallery, New York. This exhibition coincides with the NAS' March 2018 colloquium Creativity and Collaboration: Revisiting Cybernetic Serendipity.

R. Luke DuBois engages in conversation with Curator Anne Collins Goodyear on Sunday, March 18, 3pm-5pm. Learn more.  Watch the event on Livestream. Join the conversation on social media with #DuBoisData.

Pictured at left: R. Luke DuBois, A More Perfect Union: USA, No. 4 (detail), 2011/2017, 4 inkjet prints on canvas, 57.5 x 120 inches each. Courtesy bitforms gallery, New York.

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