On show at The Museum of Contemporary Art until 12 February Lozano-Hemmer is one of the world’s best-known electronic artists. A Mexican-Canadian, he first attracted global attention for his highly interactive and complex digital artworks shown in public spaces.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Recorders features 13 recent pieces by the artist, including two new works. Public engagement is critical to the work and to that end all visitors to the MCA exhibition will play the role of performer. Trained in physical chemistry, the artist uses robotics, projections, sound, internet and cellphone links, sensors and other devices to create critical and poetic platforms for public interaction. In this complicated process, the viewers become the viewed.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer explains: “In Recorders, artworks hear, see and feel the public, they exhibit awareness and record and replay memories entirely obtained during the show. Using advanced surveillance and biometric technologies, the pieces either depend on participation to exist or predatorily gather information on the public as they go through the exhibition. In all cases the artwork compiles a database of behaviours that then becomes the artwork itself. I am always delighted when a visitor takes over an artwork and personalises it, like they might take over a stage or a public square.”
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Recorders is part of the Sydney International Art Series, bringing the world’s most outstanding exhibitions to Australia.
MCA Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, says: “Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s work has captivated and fascinated audiences all over the world, especially young people. The exhibition is a world-class example of how digital technologies can be used to create innovative art which inspires, involves and stimulates. However, the exhibition is more than spectacle. As visitors move through the exhibition, they notice an ominous or predatory overtone. The work physically and emotionally engages people and raises questions about systems of surveillance that are part and parcel of 21st century life. The artist challenges the systems which track, predict and at times control our life.”
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer made headlines in the United Kingdom in 2008 for his large-scale installation which projected video images into the shadows of visitors in Trafalgar Square, London. He was also responsible for the world’s largest interactive artwork, for which hundreds of thousands of participants used the internet to shine searchlights over Mexico City.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Recorders
16 December 2011 – 12 February 2012