On the ground floor lobby of the New York Times building, artist Ben Rubin and statistician Mark Hansen have installed a massive grid of small screens that through complicated algorithms, spit out poetic phrases from the newspapers massive data base.

The screens, 560 simple fluorescent displays like those in alarm clocks, stream carefully curated phrases drawn from previous articles the paper has published as well as real time search terms and web commentary from the publications website.

The algorithm for the permanent installation is incredibly selective. For instance, instead of just flashing random lines from the paper, it only selects sentences that begin with “I” and then juxtapose them with sentences that start with “you.” Or pick out single lines from obituaries. Or only sentences that begin with numbers.

This content is available for Basic Members.
Already a member, log in