R. Luke DuBois, A More Perfect Union Exhibition Installation view, photo Eric Swanson
R. Luke DuBois, A More Perfect Union Exhibition Installation View, photo by Eric Swanson
SITE Santa Fe presents a solo exhibition of New York-based artist R. Luke DuBois. This exhibition features a range of new and recent works that explore democracy, elections, politics, and demographics. Central to the exhibition is Hindsight is Always 20/20 (2008), a work that synthesizes the State of the Union addresses by 41 US presidents, organizing their most frequently used words into the familiar descending format of the Snellen eye chart. Showing the top 66 words of each American presidents’ State of the Union addresses from George Washington through George W. Bush, these word charts reflect the themes, ideals, language, and topics of their age, allowing viewers to experience American history through political rhetoric. Combining the format of the eye chart with the rhetoric of the American President, Hindsight is Always 20/20 echoes and explores the metaphorical vision the electorate must hope for in each successive leader.
While Hindsight offers a particular kind of linguistic portrait of 41 presidents, this exhibition will also feature two more recent works profiling our current and most recent president. These works include: fascist.republican (2016), a Twitter-based portrait of Donald Trump, and Obama (2017), a portrait of our 44th president through fragments of his public addresses over eight years in office.
Exploring the mechanics and structures of the electoral process are Dubois’s Learning Machines, repurposed mid-twentieth century voting machines that DuBois has hacked to create an interactive “voting” experience that highlights the lack of choice we can feel when presented with reductive choices in the voting booth.
Stepping up to one of DuBois’s Learning Machines (originally made by the Automatic Voting Machine Corporation in the 1940s and 50s), participants use them to vote on a series of choices posed as dichotomies that range from the poignant to the absurd. Upon voting, the participant receives a unique video response as real-time results from voting are displayed in the gallery.
R. Luke DuBois: A More Perfect Union is generously supported by Elizabeth Sackler and by the patrons of SITE Forum. Additional support for the presentation of Hindsight is Always 20/20 provided by the Carl and Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation.
About R. Luke DuBois
R. Luke DuBois is a composer, performer, conceptual new media artist, programmer, and teacher based in New York.
DuBois holds a doctorate in music composition from Columbia University, and has lectured and taught worldwide on interactive sound and video performance. His works have been exhibited in institutions around the world including: the Insitut Valencià d’Art Modern, Spain; Haus der elektronischen Künste, Switzerland; the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Denver; Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis; San Jose Museum of Art; National Constitution Center, Philadelphia; Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art; Daelim Contemporary Art Museum, Seoul; 2007 Sundance Film Festival; the Sydney Film Festival; the Smithsonian American Art Museum; PROSPECT.2 New Orleans; and the Aspen Institute.
DuBois has collaborated on interactive performance, installation, and music production work with many artists and organizations including Toni Dove, Todd Reynolds, Jamie Jewett, Bora Yoon, Michael Joaquin Grey, Matthew Ritchie, Elliott Sharp, Michael Gordon, Maya Lin, Bang on a Can, Engine 27, Harvestworks, and LEMUR, and was the director of the Princeton Laptop Orchestra for its 2007 season.
SITElab is an experimental exhibition series presented in a newly configured gallery space located off the lobby of SITE’s building. SITElab showcases new directions in the work of established and emerging artists and features new works out of artists’ studios, as well as experimental, interdisciplinary, and community-based projects. R. Luke DuBois: A More Perfect Union is the ninth exhibition in the SITElab series.