Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Interactivity and feedback.


Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s work interacts. Sometimes with the viewers in the space, and sometimes with data. For example, Sway (2016), seen below, is a pendulum in the shape of a noose. It’s movements respond to data, with its default metronomic speed at one ‘sway’ every 40-60 seconds, the rate of homicides in the world. I love the idea of representing data in a more visible, tangible way.

The fact that all of his works interact with the real world in some way is so intriguing to me. I like the idea of using the viewers as participants in the artwork. For example, the comment on surveillance seen in Zoom Pavilion (2015) uses footage from cameras trained on the visitors to the show. Face recognition software tracks them and surrounds them with images of the faces in the crowd that is present in the space.

His works often speak of surveillance, including some referencing George Orwell’s 1984. One work shows the numbers 1 9 8 4, sourced from google earth surveillance footage.

Others pick up on the participant and record them, then show them distorted by the process of recording and being watched, from other perspectives. An example of this is First Surface (2012).

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, “Apocatoptron”, 2012. Montreal, Antimodular Studio, 2012. Photo by: Antimodular Research

Surface Tension (1992) reacts to the viewer as they react to the piece.

Other ways it interacts with the audience is by using their voices, heart rates, and even their breath in several artworks. Some are known as ‘bio feedback sculptures’. An example is Last Breath (2012), which circulates a participant’s breath forever, perhaps a comment on life and death.

My work has often been about putting the viewer in someone else’s shoes. With this current project in which I am making an ‘interactive’ film, I am able to have ‘participants’ in my work. This stops artwork from becoming simply part of the spectacle.


Assessment Piece: Filming and Editing

After finding a couple of willing actresses, we took a day trip to London, a setting I thought was appropriate in discussing a political issue, and for representing a idealistic, futuristic city, due to its recognisable skyline.


The star of the film is Gianna Gréaume, and Fiona Jones was able to come and assist and play a working woman. I signed out a panasonic hand held camera and a counterweight from the equipment store, to use in the filming. No other equipment was needed, as I have found most of the creative side of shooting the film was in the editing, which is still in progress.

Aside from slight issues in smoothness, I would like to figure out how to make the flashback sections look like more antique films. Perhaps I will try to sit down with Angus when I don’t have so many Psychology deadlines.

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I would also like to take another look at the timing with the soundtrack, and deal with a couple of men who  have made it into the final cut. I may have to remove a shot that I liked in order to remove them. Fiona Jones also suggested that I could censor each man with a banana. However I am not sure that this fits in with the purpose of the film completely. I will consider this.

During our most recent crit, we determined that the ambiguous nature of the film is a quality, and it was suggested that I think about how best to show the film for the exhibition. Perhaps I will make banana or apple chairs, or project the film onto a banana, or multiple screens.

BANANA CHAIR DESIGNS, see notes and redraw.

We recently had an artists talk from Rehana Zeman, a moving images artist who made a lot of work that interested me, cutting together dramatisations, documentaries, and animation. She also showed many examples of how her work is displayed in galleries; more often than not, on multiple screens.

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Pipilotti Rist also presented her film around a corner so two images were seen simultaneously. I am therefore considering making three windows in the film, with the central image playing the proper film, and the other two maybe just Gianna walking away/toward, or doing various everyday activities on a loop.