There have been a few changes happening that we’re excited to share. Parsons Institute for Information Mapping is now known as the Center for Data Arts. With this new name comes a revitalized mission that is focused, more than ever, on our commitment to pioneering radical new techniques for transforming data into meaningful narrative experiences. Part of this change comes from the appointment of our new director, artist and designer Ben Rubin, who we were thrilled to welcome aboard in January of this year. Ben will be building on our history of innovation, developing a new world-class laboratory for information design, visualization, critical thinking, and experimental data art practice.
From the Provost’s Office announcement:
This appointment, the result of an extensive international search, will revitalize the center’s mission, emphasizing public programs and new research collaborations with faculty and students across the university. “We are increasingly digitizing our actions and ourselves, and that data is changing our lives,” says Ben. “The Center for Data Arts will be a laboratory for inventing new ways to perceive and engage with data, as well as an intellectual hub for discussions about the new roles information plays in society.”
Ben is an internationally renowned artist whose work centers on critical encounters with data. His pieces incorporate information from literary works, legal documents, news, financial data, and other traces of human communication, recasting these data streams into immersive installations. His commissioned work includes the Public Theater’s site-specific sculpture Shakespeare Machine; And That’s the Way It Is for the University of Texas, Austin; and (with Mark Hansen) Moveable Type, for the lobby of the New York Times Building, and two editions of Listening Post, which were acquired by the London Science Museum and the San Jose Museum of Art. Ben’s artwork was recognized with a Webby Award in 2003, the 2004 Golden Nica Prize from Ars Electronica, the 2012 PAD Award for achievement in the field of public art, a Design Excellence Award from the New York City Design Commission in 2013, and an Obie Award in 2014.
With this new direction comes a few other changes; under a grant awarded by PressForward, an open-source software initiative housed at George Mason University, CDA is part of an 11-partner pilot program aimed at expanding the reach of scholarly work. Under this award, we launched our blog, and will revamp our quarterly publication, the Journal for Data Arts (formally Parsons Journal for Information Mapping).
We’re excited about our new direction and all of the possibilities ahead. Please check out our new website to learn more about our future plans.