Self-portrait, 1993-2014

R. Luke DuBois
Self-portrait, 1993-2014, 2014

inkjet on paper
60 x 60″ / 152 x 152 cm

Self-portrait, 1993-2014 is a data visualization work on paper that pictures a force-directed graph of DuBois’ email since 1993. Presenting what is essentially a “big bang” within his universe of personal and professional emails sent and received over twenty years, the piece realizes the mass and gravity of his relationships with nearly half a million people, as represented by unique email addresses. Galaxies of attraction are caused to form, based on those in constant dialog with one another, or those with choices of language that are more familiar, relaxed or emotional. In this constellation, the central “solar systems” in this map are governed by the five primary addresses that DuBois has used over the years. Identified by handwritten names, each person fits a social cluster that is organized by the sentiments expressed, and their topical interconnectedness, such as that indicated by carbon copy messaging and similarities in vocabulary.

Specific names can be located using an index (available as a separate document) that details the placement of each using a grid, as indicated by the row and column markers at the drawing’s perimeter.

Production support for this piece was provided by the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University, through a residency made possible by an Art Works grant from the NEA.


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