San José Semaphore – Artist’s Bio

San José Semaphore was created by media artist Ben Rubin

Ben Rubin (b. 1964, Boston, Massachusetts) is a media artist based in New York City. Rubin’s work is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the San Jose Museum of Art, and the Science Museum, London, and has been shown at the Whitney Museum in New York, the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris, and the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe. Rubin has created large-scale public artworks for the New York Times, the city of San José, and the Minneapolis Public Library. He is currently developing a site-specific sculpture called Shakespeare Machine for the Public Theater in New York, and just completed Beacon (2010), a luminous rooftop sculpture commissioned for National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.

Rubin has worked closely with major figures in contemporary culture, including composer Steve Reich, architects Diller+Scofidio/Renfro, Renzo Piano, James Polsheck, and James Sanders, performers Laurie Anderson and Arto Lindsay, theorists Bruno Latour and Paul Virilio, and artists Ann Hamilton and Beryl Korot. He frequently collaborates with Columbia University statistician Mark Hansen, and their joint projects include Moveable Type (2007), and Listening Post (2002), which won the 2004 Golden Nica Prize from Ars Electronica as well as a Webby award in 2003.

In 2011, Rubin and Mark Hansen joined forces with the Elevator Repair Service theater ensemble to create Shuffle, a new performance and installation that will remixes text from three American novels of the 1920s. In 2012, Rubin and Elevator Repair Service began work on Arguendo, a theatrical interpretation of U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments. Arguendo will debut at the Public Theater in New York in 2013.

Mr. Rubin received a B.A. from Brown University in 1987 and an M.S. from the MIT Media Lab in 1989. Mr. Rubin has taught at the Bard MFA program and the Yale School of Art, where he was appointed critic in graphic design in 2004.











“Words to Look at, Words to Listen to: Designing a ‘Proliphonic’ Display for the Lobby of the New York Times Building,” by Mark Hansen, Ben Rubin, Hans-Christoph Steiner, and Tyler Walker. Linux Audio Conference Proceedings. 2008.

“Mix House,” by Joel Sanders, Ben Rubin, and Karen van Lengen. Open House: Architecture and Technology For Intelligent Living. Eds. Alexander Von Vegesack and Jochen Eisenbrand. Weil am Rhein: Vitra-Design-Museum, 2006.

“Dark Source,” by Ben Rubin, in Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy. Eds. Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005.

“Listening Post: Giving Voice to Online Communication,” by Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin in Proceedings of the 2002 International Conference on Auditory Display, Kyoto, Japan, Jul. 2-5, 2002.

“Babble Online: Applying Statistics and Design to Sonify the Internet,” by Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin. Proceedings of the 2001 International Conference on Auditory Display. Helsinki, Jul. 29-Aug.1 2001, 10-15.

“Yahoo/Bounce,” by Ben Rubin and Mark Hansen, in State of the Union (CD) produced by Elliot Sharp, Electronic Music Foundation, Inc. 2001. (Invited contribution to a 3-disc set, with profits going to the National Coalition Against Censorship)

“The Audiences Would be the Artists and their Life Would Be the Arts,” by Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin. IEEE Multimedia 7.2 (2000): 6-9.

“Audible Information Design in the New York City Subway System: a Case Study,” by Ben Rubin. Proceedings of the 1998 International Conference on Auditory Display, Glasgow, 1998.

“Structured Content Modeling For Cinematic Information,” by Glorianna Davenport and Ben Rubin. SIGCHI Bulletin 21.2 (1989): 78-79.


“Media artist Ben Rubin explores the interaction between light, sound and symbol,” by Elizabeth Donoff. Architectural Lighting Magazine. Jan./Feb. 2007: 26-29.

“Human After All: Ben Rubin and the Art of Data,” by James Gaddy. Res Magazine Jul./Aug. 2006: 56-57.

“Lo in audible en lo corpóreo: Una entrevista con Ben Rubin/The Inaudible in The Corporeal: An Interview with Ben Rubin,” by Juan Sebastián Cárdenas. ArteContexto Spring 2005: 36-45.

“Orange and White,” by Adam Gopnik. The New Yorker. 3 Mar. 2003: 31

“Sound + Vision,” by Christopher Hawthorne. Metropolis Jul. 2002: 120-123, 144, 147,149.


Native Land, by Raymond Depardon and Paul Virilio. London: Thames & Hudson: 2009

Public Art New York, by Jean Parker Phifer. New York: 2009.

Art and Electronic Media, edited by Edward A. Shanken. London: 2009

Enter Action: Digital Art Now, edited by Pernile Taagaard Dinesen, Anne Sophie Warberg Løssing, Anne Sophie Spanner Witzke, and Gitte Ørskou. Aarhus, Denmark: ARoS: 2009.

“Ben Rubin + Mark Hansen: Listening Post,” by Nancy Durant, in Mácuinas y Almas / Souls and Machines, edited by Montxo Algora and José Luis de Vicente. Madrid: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia: 2008.

For Reasons of State, by Angelique Campens, Erica Cooke and Steven Lam. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art; New Haven: Distributed by Yale University Press, 2008.

Secrecy (film), by Peter Galison and Robb Moss, distributed by Argot Pictures, New York, 2008.

Responsive Environments: Architecture, Art and Design, by Lucy Bullivant. London: V&A Publications: 2006.

“The Listening Post: Ben Rubin and Mark Hansen,” in 4dspace: Interactive Architecture (Architectural Design), by Lucy Bullivant. London: Academy Press: 2005.

Blur: The Making of Nothing, by Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, New York: Abrams: 2002.


“Strange Sounds Afoot in Teardrop Park,” by Carl Glassman. The Tribeca Tribune. November 2009.

“Textual Landscapes,” by Robert Shuster. The Village Voice. October 6, 2009.

“’Four Stories’: une oeuvre d’art documentaire,” Bibliofrance. Jul. 20, 2008.

“Making Sense: The MIX House,” by Joel Sanders et al. Architectural Design. V.78 No. 3 (May/ Jun. 2008) p.16-19.

“Moveable Type,” by Brooke Gladstone. On the Media. National Public Radio, 30 May 2008.

“Erase You,” by Ed Halter. Rhizome. 22 May 2008.

Tim Cooper, review of Listening Post. The Sunday Times, London, 30 Mar. 2008.

Nancy Durrant, review of Listening Post. The Times, London, 18 Feb. 2008.

“News Flows, Consciousness Streams: The Headwaters of a River of Words,” by Randy Kennedy. The New York Times. 25 Oct. 2007: E5.

“‘Listening Post’ brings the Internet into view,” by Kenneth Baker. San Francisco Chronicle. 4 Aug. 2007: E1.

“A Portrait of 100,000 people logged on to a global chatroom,” by Ciar Byrne. The Independent. 19 Feb. 2008.

“Times’ Lobby Artwork ‘Explodes’ Daily News,” by Gillian Reagan. The New York Observer. 18 Dec. 2007.

“Code Breakers,” by Caitlin Jones. Rhizome. 12 Sept. 2007.

“A Push In the Dark,” by William Hanley. Rhizome. 5 Sept. 2007.

“The Year in Arts and Entertainment,” by Kenneth Baker. San Francisco Chronicle. 31 Dec. 2006: PK-20.

“Design Research on Responsive Display Prototypes: Integrating Sensing, Information and Computation Technologies,” by John Rothenberg and David Small. Architectural Design Sept./Oct. 2006: 46-49.

“Artists Mine Internet Forums to Catch Musical Essence of Chat,” by Kenneth Baker. San Francisco Chronicle. 8 Aug. 2006: E1.

“Capturing humanity’s conversations in the ether,” by Jack Fischer. San Jose Mercury News. 11 Jun. 2006.

“Living Skins: Architecture as Interface,” by Peter Hall. Think Tank. Feb. 2006

“Informational Landscapes in Art, Science, and Evolution,” by Irun R. Cohen. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology. 2006.

“Ars Electronica Asks What Will Be Next,” by Ed Ward. The New York Times. 8 Sept. 2004: E3.

“The Machine Speaks the World’s Thoughts,” by Margot Bouman. Parachute Oct.-Dec. 2003: 108-125.

“Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York,” by Peter Eleey. Frieze. May 2003: 88.

“Listening In,” by Kevin Fitchard. Telephony. 7 Apr. 2003.

“Listening Post: On-line Fora as Art,” by Jill Franklin. Linux Journal Mar. 2003: 14.

“Poised Between Old and New,” by Eric Gibson. The Wall Street Journal. 14 Feb. 2003: W4.

“Whitney’s ‘Listening Post’ a Fly on Chat-Room Walls,” by Jad Abumrad. Weekend Edition Saturday. NPR. 22 Feb. 2003.

“Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin; Édouard Vuillard; Donald Moffet,” by Roberta Smith. The New York Times. 21 Feb. 2003: E45.

“The Listening Post,” by Carey Gibbons. Museo. Vol.6: 2003.

“First Take: Philip Nobel on Ben Rubin,” by Philip Nobel. Artforum Jan. 2002: 126.

“Making an Opera From Cyberspace’s Tower of Babel,” by Mathew Mirapaul. The New York Times. 10 Dec. 2001: E2

“Listening Post.” Rhizome. 22 Nov. 2001.

Current Project