“I develop artworks that are incomplete and out of my control. It is the public who in the end completes them, through their interaction, their interpretation, their memories."
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer develops participatory installations at the intersection of architecture and performance art, with a particular interest in radical empiricism and critical social practice. Pushing public engagement to its limits, many Lozano-Hemmer works are activated with viewers’ biometric data such as their heart rate, breath, voice, and fingerprints, measured in real time through sensors, cameras, and microphones. Once captured, this data is instantly visualized as sequences of pulsating lights, reverberating soundscapes, and rippling waves, but never stored in a collective archive. His practice resonates deeply with today’s growing use of big data for identification and control and interrogates the boundary between anonymity and community.
Notable projects include Border Tuner (2019), which connected communities across the US/Mexico border with interactive light “bridges” that enabled conversations between participants on either side; Cloud Display (2019), a voice-recognition fountain that writes texts in midair using cold water vapour; and Solar Equation (2010), a faithful simulation of the turbulence at the surface of the sun projected on the world’s largest spherical aerostat, flying over Federation Square in Melbourne.
Lozano-Hemmer was the first artist to represent Mexico at the Venice Biennale in 2017. He received the title of Compagnon des arts et des lettres du Québec in 2016. He was awarded two BAFTA British Academy Awards for Interactive Art (2002 and 2003) and the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2015), among others. His work is featured in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, SFMOMA in San Francisco, MUAC in Mexico City, and the Tate in London.