Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is one of the most important media artists working anywhere in the world today. He develops large-scale interactive installations in public space, usually deploying new technologies and custom-made physical interfaces such as robotics, projections, sound, internet, and cell-phone links. His work has been commissioned for events such as the Cultural Capital of Europe in Rotterdam (2001), the United Nations' World Summit of Cities in Lyon (2003), the opening of the Yamaguchi Centre for Art and Media in Japan (2003), the Expansion of the European Union in Dublin (2004), and Sydney Biennale (2006). His works have been shown in many renowned international festivals and museums.


At the Prix Ars Electronica in Austria, Lozano-Hemmer has received a Golden Nica, a distinction and two honourable mentions. He also won two BAFTA British Academy Awards for Interactive Art in London, Best Installation at the IDMA awards in Toronto, and a distinction at the SFMOMA Webby Awards in



“Body Movies”


About the Artwork:The "Body Movies" is the sixth piece in Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s "Relational Architecture" series. It was inspired by Samuel van Hoogenstraten's engraving, "The Shadow Dance", made in 1675. By covering an entire surface of a building facing a public square in white boards, a projector will be placed on the floor of the square.  When people walk in front of the projector, their body movement will be projected to 2 to 22 feet tall and exhibited on the surface of the building. With the use of light and shadow performance, this exhibition underlies a message that the alienated presence of urban people are released through interactive communication.


Technical Statement:
Three networked computers control the installation: a camera server, a video tracker, and a robotic controller cued by MIDI signals. The camera server is a self-contained Linux box which feeds video images to a PC over ethernet 20 times per second. The camera has a wide angle lens and it is pointed at the screen. Custom-made software programmed in Delphi analyses the video detecting the edges of the shadows. The computer vision system determines if the shadows are covering portraits in the current scene. When a portrait is revealed, its hotspot turns white and remains activated for a few seconds. A wave file sound is also triggered to give feedback to participants in the square. VU meters in the interface show the status of each portrait and the degree of darkness over the hotspot. When all hotspots are activated, the PC sends a MIDI signal to the robotic controller to trigger a complete blackout followed by a new series of portraits in completely different locations. The PC is connected to the four xenon projectors by an RS485 serial connection. The library of images consists of over 1200 portraits on durantrans frames each 6 x 6 in and these rolled onto the robotic scrollers.