Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is an artist that who “has been exploring the potential of working with electronic devices in visual arts” since the 1990s. Although he has a degree in physical chemistry, be chose to follow the artistic path that the rest of his family did. By experimenting with
“visual or sound trackers and recorders, internet databases and networks, robotics and computer-generative systems,” his work is interactive and has created a new relationship between technology and artistic practice.
Surface Tension is one of Lozano-Hemmer’s earliest creations. A large digital screen shows a human eye that actually follows the viewer as they walk within the field of vision of the display. It uses the same technology as most typical surveillance cameras to be able to pinpoint specific people. It was completed in 1992 and has been exhibited all over the world.
Solar Equation is a smaller-scaled version of the sun that was made in Melbourne in 2010. It is a large, spherical balloon that is animated by eight projectors that show e1uations that generate the turbulence and flares of sun spots. Lozano-Hemmer collaborated with NASA to recreate the exact mathematical equations that are needed to accurately reflect how the sun and its spots change in real time. I tend to gravitate towards Lozano-Hemmer’s space projects. No pun intended!
This installation was made up of twenty-four searchlights that created light beams in the sky that reacted to voice messages sent by participants using a mobile app. The public was invited to record and submit messages of up to 30 seconds in length. The lights reacted in brightness and position to the frequency and amplitude of the voice recordings, which could be heard through the mobile app, the website, and public speakers where the project took place. It reminds me of how sometimes people have Christmas lights on and/or around their house that react similarly to songs.
The final installation that I will be talking about is called Vanishing Points, completed in 2018. As an artist, I know and understand vanishing points as lines that converge to create the fundamental concept of composition and perspective drawing. Lozono-Hemmer describes this piece by saying it “[tracks] the heads of visitors and deforms grids in real time to create vanishing points that look coherent from their perspective; from all other angles, they appear skewed.” It is another piece that is powered by surveillance and will show previous visitors’ interactions. Super rad!
I really appreciate the thought that goes into Lozano-Hemmer’s installations and how large-scale they are. Having it be interactive makes it a fun experience for the viewer. Whereas most other art is just looked at as the viewer contemplates on the possible meaning of that piece. He successfully brings fine art and technology together to create a new generation and definition of digital artists.
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