Review : : Rafael Lozano-Hemmer – ‘Recorders’ at the MCA

December 26th 2011

Being in Rafael Lozano Hemmer’s exhibition, at the MCA is like being in an adult’s playground. I was running from installation to installation finding out what I had to do next, having a great time. Hemmer hones in on a particular sense and then heightens it using technology.  In the Pulse Room hundreds of flickering light bulbs fill the roof of this otherwise empty room all pulsating at different speeds.  Your job is to hold onto a pair of cylindrical sensor handles, which measure your heartbeat.  And that’s when you realise that the light bulbs are not just randomly flickering – they’re indicating every participants pulse rate with their own personal light bulb.  The room takes on this intimate quality, every participant’s touch, feeling, murmur displayed in the physical reminder of the flickering lights above you.

Hemmer describes his work like a “public space” – a synergy between performance and architecture, artworks to be occupied, interpreted and then re-interpreted.  His use of technology is not necessarily cutting edge, but it sure is original.  Take People on People, which projects your shadow and a digital image of yourself on a huge wall in front of you at the same time.  You’re seeing two opposite shadow effects of yourself in front of you.  While not groundbreaking technologically, in terms of creating an anxious feeling of displacement, Hemmer has nailed this. Oh and you can get your shadows to high-five yourself, which is pretty awesome too.

I like to think of Rafael as the socialist leader of art, everybody’s equal as in, everybody has equal amounts of opportunity when it comes to being a participant!  And at Christmas isn’t that what it’s all about?  Well not really, but it sounds good as a sign off…

This is Celia Mortlock wishing you a Merry Christmas for Canvas on FBi.

What: Exhibition, Recorders, Rafael Lozano Hemmer.

Where: The Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

When: 16 December, 2011 – 12 February 2012, 10am – 5pm daily.

How much: Nada!


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