R. Luke Dubois: Sunrise/Sunset
Mar 10–Dec 15, 2011
"So many journeys may the sun and moon" by R. Luke Dubois, the third project in the Sunrise/Sunset series, is a piece of software art based on the works of William Shakespeare. The artist-written software locates couplets in Shakespeare's works that contain the word “sun” and “moon,” respectively. It then chooses the next word based on a database of words that follow “sun” or “moon” in the original text—a technique called a Markov chain. This choice is repeated for each word in sequence: every two words can be found together somewhere in a Shakespeare text, but the project navigates through all of Shakespeare's plays. The result reads like a never-ending remix of Shakespeare's language and metaphor, with his use of “sun” and “moon” as starting points in each sunset and sunrise sequence that is overlaid onto the pages of whitney.org. The artwork's title—taken from a couplet spoken by the Player Queen in the play-within-a-play appearing in Act III of Hamlet—hints at the artist's intent to explore hyper- and intertextuality within canonical cultural texts.
Sunrise/Sunset is a series of Internet art projects that mark sunset and sunrise in New York City every day. All are commissioned by the Whitney specifically for whitney.org, each project unfolding over a timeframe of ten to thirty seconds.
Using whitney.org as their habitat, Sunrise/Sunset projects disrupt, replace, or engage with the museum website as an information environment. This form of engagement captures the core of artistic practice on the Internet, the intervention in existing online spaces. The series is organized by Christiane Paul, adjunct curator of digital art at the Whitney Museum.
To see the current project, be anywhere on this website during sunset or sunrise.