Celebrating Contemporary: Mark Hansen & Ben Rubin's Listening Post

  • 22 September 2011

Our Celebrating Contemporary season looks at a digital installation by Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin...

Mark Hansen & Ben Rubin, Listening Post, 2001 © Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin, all rights reserved

Mark Hansen & Ben Rubin, Listening Post, 2001

Our Celebrating Contemporary season looks at Listening Post, a digital installation by artists Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin.

The work

Hansen & Rubins' installation uses 200 small LED screens to display fragments of conversation from internet chat-rooms. The texts are constantly updated, simultaneously displaying on the LED panels and read out by a synthesised voice.

Listening Post gives an extraordinary insight into the power of technology to help connect people and express the views of individuals. It is on display at the Science Museum in London, which bought the piece with help from the Art Fund in 2007.

The artist

Ben Rubin is a New York-based artist known for his multimedia installation art. His work is evocative of the minimalistic composers such as Philip Glass and Steve Reich – Rubin has collaborated with Reich in the past.

Rubin collaborates with Mark Hansen, a Professor of Statistics at the University of California, to create installation pieces which updated live form the internet, framing online interactions in an artistic context which allows the viewer to experience digital communities in new ways.

Did you know?

Mark Hansen sees art in the patterns and rhythms of the internet, from unintended combinations of words in 'Captcha' software to the "strangely poignant" poetry of the subject lines in spam emails ("the splash of waves/by blue night-lights. Out/Thoughts raced, short, incoherent").

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