Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

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Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (born in 1967 in Mexico City) is a Mexican-Canadian electronic artist who works with ideas from architecture, technological theater and performance.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer was born in Mexico City in 1967. He emigrated to Canada in 1985 to study at the University of Victoria in British Columbia and then at Concordia University in Montreal. The son of Mexico City nightclub owners, Mr. Lozano-Hemmer was drawn to science but could not resist joining the creative activities that his friends did. Initially he worked in a molecular recognition lab in Montreal and published his research in Chemistry journals, a far cry from his now famous installation works that are featured around the world. Though he did not pursue the sciences as a direct career, it has influenced his work in many ways, providing conceptual inspiration and practical approaches to create his work. Mr. Lozano-Hemmer’s work can be considered a blend of interactive art and performance art, using both large and small scales, indoor and outdoor settings, and a wide variety of audiovisual technologies.

Lozano-Hemmer is best known for creating theatrical interactive installations in public spaces across Europe, Asia and America. Using robotics, real-time computer graphics, film projections, positional sound, internet links, cell phone interfaces, video and ultrasonic sensors, LED screens and other devices, his installations seek to interrupt the increasingly homogenized urban condition by providing critical platforms for participation. Lozano-Hemmer’s smaller-scaled sculptural and video installations explore themes of perception, deception and surveillance. As an outgrowth of these various large scale and performance-based projects Lozano-Hemmer documents the works in photography editions that are also exhibited.

In 1999, he created Alzado Vectorial (or Vectorial Elevation), where internet participants directed searchlights over the central square in Mexico City. The work was repeated in Vitoria-Gasteiz in 2002, in Lyon in 2003, in Dublin in 2004 and in Vancouver in 2010. He was the first artist to officially represent Mexico at the Venice Biennale, with a solo show at the Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel for the 52nd International Art Exhibition in 2007. In 2006, Lozano-Hemmer's 33 Questions Per Minute was acquired by The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Subtitled Public (2005) is held in the Tate Collection in the United Kingdom.