Reception: Thur, Sep 6, 6:00 – 8:30 PM
Gallery Hours: Tue – Sat, 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
bitforms gallery is pleased to announce its fourth solo exhibition with Mexican-Canadian artist
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. The exhibition features the United States premiere of two projects: Voice
Array, a participatory environment that debuted last Fall in Sydney, Australia, at the Museum of
Contemporary Art; and Last Breath, which was part of the 11th Bienal de la Habana. Concurrent
with the New York exhibition, on September 20, Lozano-Hemmer will also unveil Open Air, a new
commission by the Association for Public Art in Philadelphia.
Since his emergence in the 1990s, Lozano-Hemmer has mixed the disparate fields of digital
media, robotics, medical science, performance art, and lived experience into interactive artworks.
Probably best known for his large-scale “Antimonuments”, which challenge traditional notions of
site-specificity, he focuses on the idea of creating relationship-specific work through connective
interfaces. Often employing vanguard technologies, many of his projects utilize robotics, custom
software, projections, internet links, cell phones, sensors, LEDs, cameras, and tracking systems.
The communal spaces that Lozano-Hemmer creates are an experiment in public authorship.
Technology in his work activates seamless “encounters of art, self and the kinetic force of
collective memory,” writes Claudia Arozqueta (Artforum.com, Jan 2012). As a conductor of this
experience, he seduces the audience into participation, using tactile sensation, repetition and the
simulated presence of an individual.
Filling the gallery’s far wall, Voice Array is a construction for vocal improvisation that uses blinking
LEDs and a customized intercom system of audio playback and recording. Capturing hundreds of
voices and translating each one into a series of light flashes, the piece stores a unique pattern as a
loop in the first light of the array, until the next participant speaks into the intercom. Each new
recording is pushed along its long horizontal band of LEDs, as sounds of the voices gradually
accumulate. When the first voice reaches the other side of the piece, the participant’s phrase is
once again released as sound, punctuated by the staggering pulsation of all the lights in tandem.
The ever-changing voices stored by the piece play back through a directional speaker, during
moments of less activity.
At the gallery entrance, Last Breath is a robotic installation that stores and circulates the breath of
a person forever, between a bellows and a brown paper bag. The apparatus is automatically
activated 10,000 times per day, the typical respiratory frequency for an adult at rest. With each
breath the piece generates quiet sounds from the bellows, the motor and the crackling of the
paper bag. The piece also sighs 158 times a day. For the exhibition in New York, the piece is a
biometric portrait of Cuban singer Omara Portuondo. A short video of her recording her breath into
the device is shown on a small screen mounted to the wall.
SELECTED CONCURRENT EXHIBITIONS
Open Air: Sep 20 – Oct 14, 2012; Association for Public Art; Philadelphia, PA
Open Air is a large, interactive public art installation that activates 24 robotic searchlights placed along a halfmile
section of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway – creating enormous three-dimensional light formations in the
night sky. Using a free custom-made mobile app designed by the artist, the voices and GPS positions of
participants generate its content, in a ‘crowdsourced’ experience of public space and urban connection. The
project will activated each evening from 8 PM to 11 PM.
Homographies: Sep 1, 2012 – Jan 1, 2013; SF MoMA, San Francisco, CA
Homographies is an interactive installation that employs an overhead grid of fluorescent tubes programmed
to rotate in response to visitors’ movements. It is part of a group exhibition organized by Joseph Becker,
Field Conditions, which address relationships between conceptual art and theoretical architecture,
specifically concerning the subject of fields.
Frequency and Volume: Nov 3, 2012 - Feb 3, 2013; SF MoMA, San Francisco, CA
In a solo exhibition that is part of the ZERO1 Biennale, Frequency and Volume (2003) uses radio equipment
to allow participants to tune in and listen to different radio frequencies by using their own bodies.
Cardinal Directions: Aug 31 – Sept 30, 2012; Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno; Valencia, Spain
Part of a group exhibition at IVAM, Transverso: Instalaciones y nuevos medios en Iberoamérica, the
installation Cardinal Directions uses a rotating surveillance monitor to display a geo-localized version of
Vicente Huidobro's epic poem "Altazor".
Pulse Park: Aug 16 – Sep 30, 2012; Ruhr Triennial; Bochum, Germany
Premiered in 2008 at Madison Square Park in New York, Pulse Park is a matrix of light beams whose
intensity is entirely modulated by a sensor that measures the heart rate of participants. The resulting effect
is the visualization of vital signs, arguably our most symbolic biometric, in an urban scale.
Trackers: Oct 18 – Dec 23, 2012; Fundación Telefónica, Buenos Aires, Argentina
The solo exhibition Trackers was conceived as an environment that mixes detection technologies and
audiovisual explorations in real time. Featuring more than ten works by Lozano-Hemmer, it aims to create
critical and complicit experiences using ambiguity, alterity, repetition and performance.
Smoke: Oct 5-6, 2012; DLectricity, Detroit MI (in the evenings only)
DLectricity is a free outdoor contemporary art festival that transforms Woodward corridor of Detroit into an
illuminated urban spectacle using site-specific installations of light, sound, performance and projection.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (b. 1967, Mexico) is an electronic media artist whose recent projects include largescale
public installations for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada; the Madison Square Park
Conservancy in New York, the 50th Anniversary of the Guggenheim Museum in New York; and the
millennium celebrations at Zócalo Square in Mexico City. Recently the subject of a solo exhibition at the
Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art, he was the first artist to officially represent Mexico at the Venice
Biennale with an exhibition at Palazzo Van Axel in 2007. Collections holding his work include the Museum of
Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London, UK; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Art Gallery of
Ontario, Toronto, Canada; Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami, FL; Colección Jumex, Mexico City,
Mexico; Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC), Mexico City, Mexico; DAROS Latinamerica
Collection, Zurich, Switzerland; Borusan Contemporary Art Collection, Istanbul, Turkey; Museo Nacional
Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; and the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Canada, among
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Nearest subway is the C/E to 23rd St in Chelsea
bitforms gallery is devoted to emerging and established artists who embrace new media and
contemporary art practice.