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Bilateral Time Slicer, 2016

6th International Digital Art Biennial 

Arsenal Contemporary Art Montreal 

12.01.2022 - 02.05.2023


Rafael Lozano-Hemmer was born in Mexico City in 1967. In 1989 he received a B.Sc. in Physical Chemistry from Concordia University in Montréal, Canada. Media artist working at the intersection of architecture and performance art. He creates platforms for public participation using technologies such as robotic lights, digital fountains, computerized surveillance, media walls, and telematic networks. Inspired by phantasmagoria, carnival, and animatronics, his light and shadow works are "antimonuments for alien agency". He was the first artist to represent Mexico at the Venice Biennale with an exhibition at Palazzo Van Axel in 2007. He has also shown at Biennials in Cuenca, Havana, Istanbul, Kochi, Liverpool, Melbourne NGV, Moscow, New Orleans, New York ICP, Seoul, Seville, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, and Wuzhen. His public art has been commissioned for the Millennium Celebrations in Mexico City (1999), the Expansion of the European Union in Dublin (2004), the Student Massacre Memorial in Tlatelolco (2008), the Vancouver Olympics (2010), the pre-opening exhibition of the Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi (2015), and the activation of the Raurica Roman Theatre in Basel (2018). Collections holding his work include MoMA and Guggenheim in New York, TATE in London, MAC and MBAM in Montreal, Jumex, and MUAC in Mexico City, DAROS in Zurich, MONA in Hobart, 21C Museum in Kanazawa, Borusan Contemporary in Istanbul, CIFO in Miami, MAG in Manchester, SFMOMA in San Francisco, ZKM in Karlsruhe, SAM in Singapore and many others. He has received two BAFTA British Academy Awards for Interactive Art in London, a Golden Nica at the Prix Ars Electronica in Austria, "Artist of the year" Rave Award from Wired Magazine, a Rockefeller fellowship, the Trophée des Lumières in Lyon, an International Bauhaus Award in Dessau, the title of Compagnon des Arts et des Lettres du Québec in Quebec, and the Governor General's Award in Canada. He has lectured at Goldsmiths College, the Bartlett School, Princeton, Harvard, UC Berkeley, Cooper Union, USC, MIT MediaLab, Guggenheim Museum, LA MOCA, Netherlands Architecture Institute, Cornell, UPenn, SCAD, Danish Architecture Center, CCA in Montreal, ICA in London, and the Art Institute of Chicago. In the past two years, Lozano-Hemmer was the subject of 9 solo exhibitions worldwide, including a major show at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC, the inaugural show at the AmorePacific Museum in Seoul, and a mid-career retrospective co-produced by the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal and SFMOMA. In 2019 his immersive performance “Atmospheric Memory” premiered at the Manchester International Festival and his interactive installation “Border Tuner” connected people across the US-Mexico border using bridges of light controlled by the voices of participants in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua and El Paso, Texas.


Bilateral Time Slicer, 2016 - Interactive installation,Custom-software,
4K camera with digitizer, computer, monitor

Variable dimensions 

A biometric tracking system finds the axis of symmetry of members of the public using face detection. When the axis is found to be in an almost vertical orientation the computer splits the live camera image into two slices. With each new participant time slices are recorded and pushed aside. When no one is viewing the work, the slices close and rejoin creating a procession of past recordings.

The piece is inspired by time-lapse sculptures and masks that can be found in ancient traditions (Aztec three-faced mask, the avatars of Vishnu) and modern and contemporary art (Duchamp, Balla, Minujín, Schatz, Kanemaki). Like in the Aztec three-faced mask, the central strip corresponds to the younger, most recent portrait, whereas the farthest one to the sides represents the oldest portrait.

The piece exists either as a "treatment" featuring any size and aspect ratio screen. For example, the piece was installed in Miami using a 180 x 160 cm Barco Residential LED digital canvas that visually connected the piece to the form factor of a door. The treatment can be made much wider for example to fit a specific architecture, or it can be broken into an array of flat screens acting as a videowall. The piece also exists as a traditional shadowbox on a single, vertically oriented flat screen any size between 55 and 100 inches in diagonal.

Programming: Stephan Schulz and Marc Lavallée - Programming 

Production Support: Miguel Legault, Karine Charbonneau, Carolina Murillo-Morales. 

DLib add-on for face detection: Jonas Jongejan  

© Crédits : Untitled Art Fair, Bitforms Gallery, Miami, Florida, United States © Antimodular Research

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