The Office for Creative Research is a multidisciplinary research group exploring new modes of engagement with data, through unique practices that borrow from both the arts and sciences. OCR clients are research partners, helping to pose, refine and ultimately solve difficult problems with data.

We are reshaping the relationship between client and designer, client and technologist, client and data scientist.

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Technology is an uncomfortable partner in research practices, driving discussions to questions of existing capabilities. OCR is creating a new approach to solving problems with technology – asking not just what could be but what should be.

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OCR’s data-driven work has been exhibited/featured at:

  • MoMA
  • The Guardian
  • The New York Times
  • Scientific American
  • Fast Company

Ben Rubin's portrait

Ben Rubin

Ben Rubin is an internationally renowned media artist based in New York City. Ben has worked closely with major figures in contemporary culture, including composer Steve Reich, architects Pelli Clarke Pelli, Diller+Scofidio/Renfro, and Renzo Piano, performer Laurie Anderson, and others.

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He frequently collaborates with UCLA statistician Mark Hansen, and their joint projects include Moveable Type (2007), a commission for the lobby of the New York Times Building, and Listening Post (2002). In 2012 he received the Public Art Dialog Annual Award for achievement in the field of public art. Ben recently developed a site-specific sculpture called “Shakespeare Machine” for the Public Theater in New York. Other recent commissions include “Beacon,” a rooftop light sculpture for the new National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia (2010), “San Jose Semaphore,” a permanent light installation for the skyline of San Jose, California (2006), and “Four Stories” for the Minneapolis Public Library (2006). Rubin’s installation, “Listening Post” (2002, with Mark Hansen), won the 2004 Golden Nica Prize from Ars Electronica as well as a Webby award in 2003. Mr. Rubin’s work has been shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA, the Chicago Art Institute, the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, the Fondation Cartier in Paris, and the San Jose Museum of Art.

Mr. Rubin holds a B.A. from Brown University (1987) and an M.S. in visual studies from the MIT Media Lab (1989). Mr. Rubin has taught at the Bard College MFA program, NYU, and the Yale School of Art, where he was appointed critic in graphic design in 2004.

Jer Thorp's portrait

Jer Thorp

Jer Thorp is an artist and educator from Vancouver, Canada, currently living in New York. Coming from a background in genetics, his digital art practice explores the many- folded boundaries between science and art. Recently, his work has been featured by The Guardian, Scientific American, The New Yorker, Popular Science, and the CBC. Thorp’s award-winning software-based work has been exhibited in Europe, Asia, North America, South America, and Australia and all over the web, including at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.

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Jer has over a decade of teaching experience, in Langara College’s Electronic Media Design Program, at the Vancouver Film school, and as an artist-in-residence at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Most recently, he has presented at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Art, at The National Academies in Washington, and at IBM’s Center for Social Software in Cambridge.

He is currently Data Artist in Residence at the New York Times, and is an adjunct Professor in New York University’s ITP program. He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for Design & Innovation.

Mark Hansen's portrait

Mark Hansen

Mark Hansen is a Professor of Journalism and Director of the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation. He joined Columbia Journalism School in July of 2012, after a decade of shuttling between the west and east coasts.

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In Los Angeles, he held appointments in the Department of Statistics, the Department of Design Media Arts and the Department of Electrical Engineering at UCLA – literally forming a triangulation of data, art and technology – and was a Co-PI for the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing, an NSF Science and Technology Center devoted to the study of sensor networks. While in New York, Hansen was a long-standing visiting researcher at the New York Times R&D Lab and a consultant with HBO Sports. Hansen works with data in an essentially journalistic practice, crafting stories through algorithm, computation and visualization.

In addition to his technical work, Hansen also has an active art practice involving the presentation of data for the public. His work with Ben Rubin at EAR Studio has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, the London Science Museum, the Cartier Foundation in Paris, and the lobby of the New York Times building (permanent display) in Manhattan.

Hansen holds a PhD and MA in Statistics from the University of California, Berkeley and a BS in Applied Math from the University of California, Davis.