From Saturday 18th September 2010-Sunday 30th January 2011, Manchester City Art Gallery is showing an exhibition by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer called 'Recorders'.
Born in Mexico City 1967, Lozano-Hemmer studied chemistry before exploring the world of visual art. He now lives and works in Montreal, Canada and has won numerous awards in interactive and media arts.
Recorders is an interactive exhibition which solely depends on the interaction and participation of the general viewing public for a successful existence. Some of the installations records pulse, fingerprints, voice and images, all of the content is "crowdsourced". At first glance the work can be seen as open, an opportunity to get involved and play, yet on a deeper level it emits the predatory nature of modern society's surveillance technology.
'Pulse Index' built in 2010, records fingerprints and heart rates. A fingerprint sensor takes the fingerprint and pulsates it to the beat of their heart rate. In a HD plasma screen display, it shows the last 509 participants, the most recent being the largest image.
'Microphones' created in 2008 is made from several modified 1939-vintage microphones and loud speakers. The microphones records someones voice then playbacks the previous voice from a tiny loud speaker inside each of the microphones. The microphones combined with the loud speakers create an illusion of the microphones 'speaking back or replying' to the participant. The immediate previous voice may be played back or it could be one of 600,000 previous voices which Lozano-Hemmer intends to 'creates memories from these past echoes'.
'33 Questions Per Minute', originally created for the 2000 Havana Biennial, is made up of a computer, 21 LCD screens and a program which generates 55 billion questions at a rate of 33 per minute. This impressive installation avoids repetition of the same question resulting in a lengthy 3000 years to get through all possible questions. Lozano-Hemmer's reasoning behind this piece is a criticism of state censoring. The amount of questions generated makes it difficult for authorities to censor critical content because they have no idea of the source, it could be human or it could be computer-generated.
|'33 Questions Per Minute'|
'Pusle Room' 2006, is an entire room filled with rows of incandescent light bulbs, and heart rate sensors on a metal stand. Viewers of this work hold onto the heart rate sensors until their pulse has been read. The first light bulb flashes to the pulse of their heart rate, pushing the last pulse read down the queue of bulbs so each bulb represents one person's heart rate.
I found this electronic-based exhibition more enjoyable than other similar exhibitions I have seen. This is because of the viewers ability to 'change the works of art' through their involvement. This becomes more accessible to audiences, for example, science or sociology students may enjoy this exhibition as well as artists. I thought the written information about each piece of work was important, it provided facts and figures which made the work seem a lot stronger, it also gave the viewer contemporary themes to consider, such as questions about the relevance of technology in the 21st century.