Ben Rubin, the new media artist we last spoke to when his “Shakespeare Machine” whirred into action in the Public Theater’s lobby, has teamed with Mark Hansen and Jer Thorp to create a massive text projection for the façade of a University of Texas building in Austin’s Walter Cronkite Plaza that draws randomly from the top news stories of the day to create an abstraction of the daily media cycle.
Titled “And That’s the Way It Is” — a possible reference to the same-named Céline Dion song — the piece uses six projectors positioned on a nearby building rooftop to project a stream of words taken TV news’s closed captioning feeds onto UT’s CMA Building, which houses its College of Communications.
The permanent installation began streaming last year, and already students have begun to gather nightly to watch this abstracted, tag cloud-like version of the nightly news, according to Fast Company. It constitutes a monumental departure from Rubin’s previous treatment of the daily news stream in his permanent installation for the New York Times building in New York City, “Movable Type,” a deconstructed view of the Times’s daily content and web activity playing out on 560 screens simultaneously.
Watch “And That’s the Way It Is” in action below:
— Benjamin Sutton