Learning Machine# 4: Language, using a machine from 1960. Photo: John Berens
A red velvet curtain in a corner of the gallery encircles a giant voting machine from the 1950 s a behemoth weighing over 600 pounds. This machine describes its values from the Myers-Briggs personality exam. An overwhelming sea of selections faces you, in alphabetical order compassionate, dutiful, ecstatic, fashionable on a massive steel panel. The choices feel like they were part of the original machine; DuBois had a collaborator, the designer Ksenya Samarskaya, design a special vintage typeface for the choices that recalls the 1950 s.
A computer connected to the machine then seems up your choices on Instagram and the New York Times. A screen next to the machine shows the results in real day, in a disorienting, endless scrolling collage. Looking up the choices on Instagram brings up lots of strange selfies. The New York Times database brings up lots of obituaries. We tend to only use these values when people are dead, DuBois says. We dont tend to use these values to describe living people.
In another corner of the gallery lurks the infamous voting device that produced the hanging chads seen in Florida in the 2000 general elections, complete with plenty of punched card votes so you can try your hand at producing a hanging chad yourself. A glass vitrine nearby houses pieces of the old voting machines, so you can see the intriguing backs of them along with gears, keys and other ephemera.
By drilling it down to playing with these machines, and doing these seemingly low-stakes actions with media, I wanted people to just meditate on what it means to have alternatives, and to not understand what these options entail, DuBois says. I dont think that we guess as much as we should about it. This show is more lyrical; Im not trying to reach you over the head with a specific point of view.
Its an admittedly modest contribution to the discourse, but rather than making a show thats simply bashing Donald Trump, I wanted to get people to focus more on what Tuesday is all about, which is select. We have to decide. There are 300 -something million people in this country and they have to decide what country they want.
The Choice is Yours is on view at Bitforms in New York City until 23 December 2016. Acceptance( 2016) is currently on view in San Francisco, at the Bitforms 15 th anniversary present at Minnesota Street Project