When Art Meets Online Dating

Artist R. Luke Dubois on his experiments with the intersection of data and humanity.

More
User's Guide to Energy Special Report bug
A series of interviews with leaders in media, tech, and the arts
See more

In 2008, Artist R. Luke Dubois joined online dating sites across the country to collect data about dating in America. He can tell you how many people in your zip code are "shy." He can tell you that online dating profiles made in New York City use “now” more frequently than any other city, and that Seattle’s profiles are full of “heartbreak.” He can show you America’s soft side in a way the census can’t; his art is “a way to explore the emotional impact of data,” he said during an interview for Atlantic Video’s Creative Breakthroughs series.

A professor at New York University, Dubois uses video, photography, music, and performance in his work, which has been shown at the Smithsonian, the Sundance Film Festival, the Democratic National Convention, and more. His projects have covered a wide range of topics, including the Iraq war, the American presidency, and, of course, online dating, all of which he discusses in the video above.

He sees this diversity as a central part of his art. “You should never wish for anything specific,” he explained. “It’s an artistically flawed, problematic way of thinking.”

For more information on R. Luke Dubois, please visit http://theartofdata.org/artists/.

This interview was filmed at the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival.

Jump to comments

Emma Green is the assistant managing editor of TheAtlantic.com, where she also oversees the National Channel and writes about religion and culture.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

This Short Film Skewers Hollywood, Probably Predicts Disney's Next Hit

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

How Will Climate Change Affect Cities?

Urban planners and environmentalists predict the future of city life.

Video

The Inner Life of a Drag Queen

A short documentary about cross-dressing, masculinity, identity, and performance

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Video

Just In