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Rafael Lozano-Hemmer - RECORDERS

07 June 2008, 14:00 - 17 August 2008, 17:00
RECORDERS, the first solo show in Germany of work by the Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, invites visitors to participate. These are works that only come alive through interaction with viewers. The Edith Russ Site for Media Art is presenting three very recently developed interactive installations which make it possible to experience physical, acoustic and visual traces left by visitors in the Exhibition by means of digital technologies. Experiential and recollection rooms are created that relate past and present to each other.

“My pieces do not exist unless someone dedicates some time to them.”
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

In Pulse Room, exhibition visitors’ heartbeats are transmitted to 100 lightbulbs suspended from the ceiling. The interface, a simple metal handle, transmits a visitor’s pulse to a lightbulb after ten seconds. If another visitor touches the handle, his pulse is transmitted to the first lightbulb and the rhythm of its predecessor is transmitted to the next lightbulb in the series – thus the digital traces left by 100 visitors are permanently present in the exhibition in this poetic installation.

In Microphone, Lozano-Hemmer uses a vintage 1930s microphone that has been equipped with a loudspeaker. If a visitor speaks into the microphone, it reacts by playing what it has recorded from previous visitors. The effect is disconcerting, as if the technical device itself were answering and staging a dialogue.

The interactive installation Close-up, on the other hand, confronts viewers with slow-motion shots of other visitors to the exhibition. The shadows cast by hundreds of visitors unite to form the silhouette of each viewer in turn. The viewer recognises himself in the collaged portrait of previous visitors.

In RECORDERS, it is the visitors to the exhibition themselves who generate the content of the interactive installations. Lozano-Hemmer invites the public to participate actively and provides new possibilities for sensory perception via his intuitively configured interfaces. Tracking systems and pattern-recognising software of the kind used in surveillance technology undergo rededication in his works. The social aspect of communication, man and machine as conniving accomplices, is formulated rather than the monitoring function. The interaction between man and machine is staged as an intimate exchange between the viewer and the work.

In his large-scale works for public spaces, Lozano-Hemmer succeeds in making the sensitive interaction between viewers and a technical system become collective experience. For this reason, documentataries on several large-scale urban projects from the series Relational Architectures will also be shown in the exhibition at the Edith Russ Site for Media Art. InVectorial ElevationUnder ScanFrequency and Volume or Body Movies, works are presented in which passers-by unexpectedly become actors by making pictures visible in shadow plays on the façades of public buildings or open spaces or radio frequencies audible or by being able to guide real actions in public spaces via the virtual space of the internet.

“Like most people, I like living vicariously through technology. I am seduced by amplification, simulation, telematics and things that crash. I work with technology because it is impossible not to. Technology is one of the inevitable languages of globalisation. I like calling it a language because this conveys two attributes that are significant. Firstly, that technology is inseparable from contemporary identity, - there is no such thing as "what we were like before technology"-, and secondly that it is not something that has been invented or engineered, but rather that it has evolved through constantly-changing social, economic, physical and political forces.”

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

More info: 

Funded by

Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art, Katharinenstraße 23, D-26121 Oldenburg, Tel.: +49(0)441/235-3208, Fax.: +49(0)441/235-2161
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Friday 14:00 -18:00, Saturday - Sunday 11:00 - 18:00, Monday closed
Ein Ausstellungshaus der
Stadt Oldenburg