Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)
16 Dec 2011 to 12 Feb 2012
On 1 July 2011 the MCA closed for refurbishment. This exhibition opened in the new Level 3 galleries while the rest of the MCA was still under construction, offering visitors a special preview of the redevelopment. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer was born in Mexico City in 1967. He studied chemistry before moving into the realm of visual art and now lives and works in Montréal, Canada. Lozano-Hemmer creates artworks that depend on participation to exist. This exhibition recorded the audience’s pulse, fingerprints, voice and image and these recordings formed the actual content of the works on display. The content was entirely ‘crowd-sourced’, to use internet terminology. In this sense the works were playful, open and inclusive.
However, there was also a more ominous or predatory nature at play. The works used biometric and surveillance technology employed by governments and corporations to profile, control and predict behaviours in the name of efficiency or safety. These tools have built-in prejudices, as when they are used for ethnic profiling.
In an age of reality TV, mobile computing, virtual economies, Google street view and credit databases, Lozano-Hemmer sees technology as an inevitable part of our culture. His approach is to ‘misuse’ the technology to create experiences of connection and complicity by using ambiguity, irony, repetition, performance and self-representation.
In creating poetic, critical forms of interaction, the works in this exhibition encouraged the public to be an integral part of the art and reflect on our inescapable, playful and ominous technological experience.
‘In Recorders artworks hear, see or feel the public; they exhibit awareness and record and replay memories entirely obtained during the show. These works emphasize that absence and presence are not opposites and that several realities co-exist at any given time.’ Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, 2011.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Recorders was presented as part of the International Art Series, with support from Destination NSW and in conjunction with the Art Gallery of NSW’s Picasso exhibition.
A dedicated website was created and designed by MCA Manager, Digital Media, Keir Winesmith and Picket Studio, Sydney, featuring video and audio interviews with the artist, photos of the works in situ at the MCA and further information on the works in the exhibition.
In 'Recorders' artworks hear, see or feel the public; they exhibit awareness and record and replay memories entirely obtained during the show. These works emphasize that absence and presence are not opposites, and that several realities co-exist at any given time.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, 2011