Since 2008, Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas, has brought great works of public art from artists from across the world to UT’s main campus. Their initiatives improve the shared public spaces across campus by creating a sense of place and community, and offering an opportunity for students, faculty and the general Austin population to engage with great works of art for free, on a daily basis.
Landmarks’ most recent project is a video installation by New York artist Ben Rubin that illuminates the façade of the Jesse H. Jones Communications Building every evening from dusk until midnight. The six-channel video installation projects an interwoven grid of moving text from televised news broadcasts onto the building that is choreographed into various scenes that alternate in a series of patterns. The artwork’s unveiling in April corresponded with the dedication of the Walter Cronkite Plaza which is adjacent to the Communications Building.
The work acquires its content from two sources: closed caption transcripts of six live network news broadcasts and archival transcripts of Walter Cronkite’s CBS Evening News broadcasts from the late 1970s and 1980s. Rubin’s own software scans the digitized transcripts for patterns in speech and grammatical constructions, and selects related sequences of text from each source to interweave and project onto the building in two- to three-minute scenes, each of which has its own compositional rhythms, visual presentation, and internal logic.
Other Landmarks art initiatives include David Ellis’ Animal video, Mark di Suvero’s Clock Knot sculpture located at the northeast corner of Dean Keaton and Speedway, and twenty-eight sculptures on long-term loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. They have a number of upcoming projects in the work as well, including Monika Bravo’s upcoming video installation and the upcoming installment of James Turrell’s Skyspace project, which can also be found at the Nasher Sculpture Museum in Dallas and at Rice University.
Landmarks’ public art initiatives are free and open to the public, and Landmarks offers a number of resources to educate the campus community and general public about the collection, including activity guides for three stages of youth, bibliographic resources and a free audio tour.
For more information about these pieces of art, or about Landmarks in general, visit their website.
(Photo credit: Landmarks)