Mark Hansen

Mark is currently Professor of Statistics at UCLA, where he also has an appointment in the Design|Media Art Department. Previously he was a member of the Technical Staff in the Statistics and Data Mining Research Department of Bell Laboratories.

In addition to his formal statistical work, Hansen also has an active art practice involving the presentation of large or complex data streams for the public. In 2004, Hansen and his collaborator Ben Rubin, (EAR Studio), were awarded the 2004 Ars Electronica Golden Nica for Interactive Art; and his work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum in New York City, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, the London Science Museum, the Aarhus Kunstmuseum, the San Jose Museum of Art, The List Visual Arts Center at MIT, and the Cartier Foundation in Paris. In 2005 Hansen and Rubin were named Media Arts Fellows (a program funded by the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations).

His 2007 collaboration with Rubin, Moveable Type, is an artwork commissioned for the ground-floor lobby of The New York Times Building in New York City. It is a dynamic portrait of The Times. Statistical methods and natural-language processing algorithms are used to parse the daily output of the paper (news, features, editorials) and the archives, as well as the activity of visitors to NYTimes.com (browsing, searching, commenting). The resulting refracted view of The Times is displayed on 560 vacuum-fluorescent display screens installed in the lobby.

Workshop: Archive, Text, and Character(s)



What is the reading of the text, in fact, except the recording of certain thematic reoccurrences, certain insistences of forms and meanings?

In a novel of fifty to a hundred thousand words... I advise you to observe immediately the words that are repeated about twenty times. Look here...


blood, cartridge belt, commander, do, have, immediately, it, life, seen, sentry, shots, spider, teeth, together, you...

Don't you already have a clear idea what it's about?

-- If on a winter's night a traveler, Calvino


In this 3-hour workshop, we'll see how text can operate as a unique substrate for creative exploration. Using selected corners of the NewYork Times' extensive archive as examples, we'll explore techniques to parse, analyze, and visualize huge bodies of text. Attendees will learn how simple (and even some not-so-simple) statistical methods can be combined with exploratory visualization strategies to find patterns of language within and between separate texts. More than that, participants will learn how computational methods can reveal the unique character of text.

Attendees will need their own laptop, with Processing 2.0 and Python installed.  Participants will receive small thought-provoking assignments, along with instructions for preparation, in the weeks leading up to the workshop.

Panel: Performance and Data

Performance and Data - Embodied, Rehearsed, Theatrical practices of Data Representation

When we think about data representation, we often think inside the boundaries of print and screen-based communication. But, what about performance? Panelists will discuss their experiences with incorporating data into performative acts, both musical and theatrical.