Thinking about R. Luke Dubois

Both Artspace and the NY Times ran interviews recently with R. Luke DuBois. His work is really interesting and he’s exploring a lot of the issues and ideas I’m digging into here. Hopefully I’ll have an opportunity to connect with him.

Here are some good quotes from the ArtSpace interview:

On musicians as artists, and misconceptions about “technology” and “new media”:

I guess my background as a musician gives me an aptitude, or a predisposition, for working with (groan) “technology” and “data.” But let me explain why I put those words in quotes. It’s another pet peeve of mine. Somebody at some point decreed that artists starting using “technology” and “data” recently—in the 1970s, say. So to call bullshit on this, let’s talk about music, which, last I checked, was made by people our society would recognize as artists.

The history of music is the history of technology. Instruments are technology; notation is technology; architectural acoustics are technology; amplification and phonography are (a bit more recent) technology. So unless you’re improvising (or reciting from memory) vocal music and performing it, a capella, outdoors, you’re using technology.

On performance as an art practice, specifically in relation to time – which is what I’m interested in mapping:

I’m a musician, so performance has always been part of what I do. A lot of what I’m interested in exploring relates to the gesture, physicality, and temporality of performance. So I like collaborating with performing artists to develop scenarios that use time (a dimension that performance has as a defining feature) in an unusual way to illustrate something I find interesting about performance. It’s revealing to accelerate something done slowly, or slow down gestures we normally experience at a more fleeting speed, or look at a mass action from a macro perspective by showing multiple points of view simultaneously.

On the grace and agility of circus performers and power of unmediatized performance:

The beautiful thing about the classic American circus is the fact that it is largely unmediatized when experienced live. The performers have only their bodies and their physical props, and they use them effortlessly. Circus performers are truly incredible when they’re working: they’re strong as athletes, graceful as ballet dancers, and have the magnetism of stage actors.