Five months from now, when R. Luke DuBois opens "NOW" at the Ringling Museum of Art, what "NOW" is should be substantially clearer.
Music? Dance? Visual art? Performance art? Digital art? Sculpture?
DuBois, director of the Integrated Digital Media program and the Brooklyn Experimental Media Center at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, first met Matthew McLendon, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Ringling, at a social gathering when one of DuBois' most frequent collaborators, musician and experimental composer Bora Yoon, was in town in February 2012 as a fellow at the Hermitage Artist Retreat in Englewood for a performance of her work ( (( PHONATION )) ).
"Luke started talking about his work 'A More Perfect Union,'" said McLendon, referring to a digital map DuBois created that color-codes the entire country by words most commonly used in online dating sites by ZIP code.
"Luke said a lot of fascinating things that night," said McLendon.
Much of what the two discussed had to do with what is at the heart of the museum's Art of Our Time initiative, which celebrates all manner of today's most up to the minute artistic expression.
"No one really has time to really get together and find out what everyone's been doing," lamented McLendon. "That's what I really want Art of Our Time to become... maybe we can all be together in Sarasota for a couple of weeks. Luke is kind of our first foray into that."
But its underpinning will be a one-man show of DuBois's work: sculpture, new media, print...
"It's a little bit messy," said DuBois, in Sarasota for some of an ongoing series of meetings to plan the exhibition.
"Up to this point it's been mostly conversation," said McLendon. "It's a proper survey of his work from the late '90s to his most recent piece."
DuBois's work typically is site-specific: in New Orleans for example, he synchronized five marching bands — marching bands being endemic to New Orleans culture — and merged videotape of all of them, Picasso-like, into a multiview presentation.
In Sarasota, DuBois will explore the region's unique circus history and the connections between the Ringling Museum and circus performance.
"I've been collaborating with Circus Sarasota," he said. "I don't totally know what it's going to look like yet...it's gonna be a 'something.'"