Featured Presenter: Luke Dubois

Luke Dubois presented at the LISA salon on Monday, January 11th.  Luke is an unassuming guy who comes across as incredibly humble.  When you finally get him to spill the beans it turns out he’s an unbelievably talented and prolific artist who has shown his work in some incredible venues like the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art, the Daelin Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul, the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis, the Insitut Valencià d’Art Modern in Spain, and more.  And I’m just talking about his visual art; he didn’t even go into his main theme which is composing and performing electronic and interactive music.

Luke showed us some of his accomplishments, including one of his latest visual pieces, which shows analysis of what must be millions of downloaded profiles from every conceivable dating website.  Luke can now tell us how many online daters in any given town describe themselves as “arrogant” or “shy” and he’s created composite “portraits” of your average male and female dater  (see image above).  He’s done similar work in the past collecting and parsing hit songs through the ages and the most-used words from presidential State of the Union speeches.  Hindsight is Always 20/20, his series of State of the Union “tag clouds” – for lack of a better word – was featured at the Democratic National Convention in 2008.

About Billboard, his analysis of #1 singles from 1858 through the 00’s, he writes: “The 857 songs used to make the piece are analyzed digitally and a spectral average is then derived from the entire song…The spectral average of each song used in Billboard plays for one second for each week it stayed at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Thus we run about 52 seconds per year, for a grand total of a 37 minute sound work. The video image tells you what song was used to generate the current spectral average.”

That description gives you a taste of the kind of art that Luke is creating (listen to and watch an excerpt here).  The result is a haunting medley with no particular rhythm.  Some of the different tones last so long they feel like an aural stain, like the lingering-too-long tone of Elton John’s Candle in the Wind released to commemorate Princess Diana’s death in 1997.  It was amazing to have him present at LISA and we’re hoping he’ll come back again soon to give us a taste of his original interactive music and composition.  Luke is represented by the Bitforms Gallery in NYC.