Ben Rubin

A Shakespeare Accelerator: Experiments in Kinetic Language

Wednesday, May 2, 2012
March 5 – July 28, 2012

As Ben Rubin works out concepts and algorithms for Shakespeare Machine, a permanent installation that will open at the Public Theater in New York in fall 2012, he will transform our public interior into a laboratory of words and motion, projecting glowing white text from Shakespeare’s complete dramatic works onto walls, walkways, and other surfaces.

Shakespeare’s plays are structured around the powerful forces of love, death, family, trust, jealousy, fate, and desire. But in the universe of Shakespearian physics, the subatomic forces that hold words together encompass puns, rhymes, alliteration, rhythms, and unexpected constructions. “These subtle forces of language are essential to the transcendent power of Shakespeare’s work,” says Rubin. I want to create a kind of supercollider for Shakespeare’s texts, where the particles to be accelerated and smashed together are scenes, lines, and phrases. Which words, when hurled toward each other, will cause a reaction? Which collisions will most likely provide traces of the incandescent energy, wit, and emotion that existed at the moment of these plays’ creation?”

March 5-9 — Shakespeare Readings

Beginning Monday, March 5th and continuing through March 9th, we will celebrate the opening of A Shakespeare Accelerator with a week-long continuous reading (by groups of students from Rensselaer and the surrounding community) of Shakespeare’s 67 plays, used in the installation. FREE coffee, tea and hot chocolate will be served. The readings will take place from 2–5 PM in the Context Space and are FREE.

April 9 — Typography Class Exhibition Opening

Beginning Monday, April 9, EMAC Typography class projects, inspired by this work, will be on view in the Context Space. FREE.

May 2 — Typography Class Exhibition Closing Reception

Please join us for the closing of the typography exhibition from 2-5 PM. In addition to celebrating the projects curated into the Context Space for the three week exhibition, be ready to try your hand at magnetic advice; test a piece of interactive typography software; take part in a musical and emotional survey; and watch in awe as the Reverse Graffiti Calligraphy project is performed outside in the East campus entrance driveway. FREE.

Special viewing hours:

This installation is visible during regular building hours 12–6PM Monday–Saturday, but is best seen sunset–9PM this spring during evening public events. Please note the following exceptions:


Monday, March 19th–Thursday, March 22nd, until 6PM
Friday, March 23rd + Saturday, March 24th, CLOSED


Sunday, April 1st, 5–9 PM
Tuesday, April 10th, thru 6PM
Saturday, April 28th, until 8PM


Saturday, May 5th, until 6 PM
Sunday, May 13th, 4–8PM

Kathleen Forde

Ben Rubin is a New York City-based media artist. He has worked closely with major figures in contemporary culture, including composer Steve Reich, architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Renzo Piano, performers Laurie Anderson and Arto Lindsay, theorists Bruno Latour and Paul Virilio, and artists Ann Hamilton and Beryl Korot. He frequently collaborates with UCLA statistician Mark Hansen, and their joint projects include Moveable Type (2007), and Listening Post (2002). Rubin has created large-scale public artworks for the New York Times, the city of San José, and the Minneapolis Public Library. In 2011, Rubin and Mark Hansen joined forces with the Elevator Repair Service theater ensemble to present Shuffle, a new performance and installation that re-mixes text from three American novels of the 1920s. He has taught at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU, as well as the Bard MFA program and the Yale School of Art.

Ben Rubin
This installation includes special viewing hours. See above.
March 5July 28, 2012
Shakespeare Readings
Video Gallery
March 5March 9, 2012
Typography Class Exhibition
Video Gallery
April 9May 2, 2012
Typography Exhibition Reception
Video Gallery
May 2, 2012, 2PM5PM
Return to Quote Unquote

EMPAC 2011-2012 presentations, residencies, and commissions are supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts (with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; additional funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation, and the Boeing Company Charitable Trust), and the New York State Council for the Arts. Special thanks to the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts for support of artist commissions.

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
NEFA - New England Foundation for the Arts
State of the Arts - NYSCA