Lincoln Schatz's generative portraits of nineteen leading American innovators, known collectively as Esquire's Portrait of the Twenty-First Century, were created in 2008 on commission from the magazine. Each of these sitters-representing leadership in the realms of business, medicine, science, technology, and the arts-sat for his or her portrait for one hour in the artist's ten-by-ten-foot "Cube," during which time they participated in activities of personal interest. The Cube is embedded with twenty-four cameras, each of which recorded the sitter from a different angle. The ever-changing generative portrait that results consists of the footage from each camera played back for different durations and in different sequences, creating a representation that is analogous to a personal encounter with these individuals.
Lincoln Schatz (born 1963)
Generative portraits, 2008
Courtesy bitforms gallery and Catharine Clark Gallery
Each video segment lasts approximately ?? minutes .
Academy Award-winning actor and director George Clooney is one of the leading screen stars of his generation. He is depicted in his Cube portrait dancing with a series of women, including the artist's mother.
An expert in ethnic conflict and international relations, Meghan O'Sullivan is the Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of International Affairs at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School. Under President George W. Bush, O'Sullivan served as deputy national security advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan and was an advisor to Iraq's Coalition Provisional Authority. She appears in the Cube constructing a spherical puzzle of the globe.
J. Craig Venter
J. Craig Venter was one of a handful of scientists who mapped the human genome during the last decade of the twentieth century. In 1998, he founded the for-profit company Celera Genomics, with a goal of sequencing the human genome by 2001. In this portrait, the scientist who helped map the genome maps his next sailing trip.
An expert on geopolitics, Parag Khanna is the director of the Global Governance Initiative and senior research fellow in the American Strategy Program at the New American Foundation. Khanna has served as advisor on foreign affairs for Barack Obama's presidential campaign. While in Schatz's Cube, he chose to play the board game Diplomacy with students.
Danger Mouse (Brian Burton)
Known as "Danger Mouse," musician and music producer Brian Burton became internationally recognized in2004 with the release of The Grey Album, which integrated works of both the Beatles and Jay-Z. In the Cube, he chose to "animate" models by painting their blank bodysuits.
David Chang is the chef and founding proprietor of the Momofuku restaurants in New York City, which combine French and Asian cuisine. He opened his Momofuku Noodle Bar in 2003 and has expanded his string of restaurants to offer a variety of menus and styles. Chang is pictured unwinding on a Friday afternoon with a team of cooks.
Each video segment lasts approximately ?? minutes.
In 1994, Jeff Bezos founded the online retailer Amazon.com, which has transformed shopping in America from traditional "bricks and mortar" stores to an online process. His Cube activity involved experimenting with the Kindle, the revolutionary e-reader he introduced to promote the consumption and distribution of electronic books.
M.I.A. (Maya Arulparagasam)
Born in Sri Lanka, M.I.A. is a highly successful rapper, visual artist, designer, and political activist who seeks "to build some sort of bridge" between the developed world and the developing world. She chose to be depicted with friends retrieving $1,000 bills blown around the Cube.
A leader in the field of regenerative medicine, Anthony Atala has made important strides in using human stem cells for creating new human organs for transplantation. Atala began his efforts by focusing on the bladder and has had impressive success with implanting these lab-developed organs in children. While in the Cube, he pasted up images of cells, transforming the Cube itself into an organ being brought to life.
A cardiothoracic surgeon and vice chairman of cardiovascular services and professor of surgery at Columbia University. Mehmet Oz has famously combined surgery with such alternative therapies as energy healing and hypnotherapy. Oz chose to practice surgical procedures while being recorded in Schatz's Cube.
Internationally renowned architect Santiago Calatrava is among the elite designers in the world today, noted especially for his elegant bridges and skyscrapers. He is portrayed in the Cube painting watercolors.
Creative director of Louis Vuitton since 1997, Marc Jacobs is one of the nation's most influential fashion designers. He has overseen the development of a number of design lines under his name and is especially well known for collaborating with artists and musicians to advertise his clothing and accessories. Jacobs chose to do yoga while being portrayed by Schatz.
A native of South Africa, entrepreneur Elon Musk co-founded PayPal after selling his Internet software company to Compaq. Today, Musk is pursuing ambitions to develop space tourism, a low-emissions sports car, and enhanced solar panels. Musk is seen surrounded by images of the SpaceX rockets and Tesla cars he is developing.
Each video segment lasts approximately ?? minutes.
In May 2010, "King" James received his second consecutive NBA Most Valuable Player award, cementing his status as the league's next superstar. In 2003, the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted James as the number-one draft pick, and he has galvanized a previously mediocre franchise. James is seen here playing a video game in which he uses his own avatar, or character, to score points.
Winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for her book, "A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide, Samantha Power is an advocate for international human rights and has served as senior director of multilateral affairs at the National Security Council. During her time in the Cube, Power chose to speak with five genocide survivors in order to draw attention to the global effort to eliminate such atrocities.
Jay Keasling of the University of California, Berkeley, has pioneered the development of a synthetic version of artemisinin, the most effective treatment for malaria. His breakthrough promises to significantly reduce the cost of medication and thus make it more widely available. While in the Cube, Keasling demonstrated how a genetic circuit is created.
Feldman is a professor of law at Harvard who specializes in the intersection of law and religion, especially Islam. He helped draft the interim Iraqi constitution while serving as an advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority but was either fired or resigned (the circumstances remain unclear) from the authority. Feldman chose to be depicted reading to and playing with his son.
Kenneth C. Griffin
Founder and CEO of the hedge fund known as the Citadel Investment Group, Kenneth Griffin was an early and enthusiastic proponent of "derivatives" as a way of selling off debt, but he is now in favor of more financial industry regulation. While in the Cube, Griffin and his colleagues worked out investment strategies.
Director of the Rhode Island School of Design, John Maeda has proven himself a leader in the hybrid fields of computer science and art and design. Committed to "humanizing technology," he uses his understanding of visual art and aesthetics to render technology both more accessible and useful. Maeda is depicted developing design concepts.