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Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Ciudad de México, México
October 28, 2015 – April 17, 2016

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Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (Mexico City 1967, lives in Montréal, Québec) is an electronic artist that develops interactive installations that lie at the intersection of architecture and performance art. His main interest is in creating platforms for public participation by perverting a wide variety of technologies.

Curated by José Luis Barrios and Alejandra Labastida, the exhibition Pseudomatisms features 42 artworks spanning 23 years of production (including interactive video, robotics, computerized surveillance, photography and sound sculptures) by Mexican artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.

The show premieres five new works in varying sizes, from Zoom Pavilion, a huge projection piece done in collaboration with Polish artist Krzysztof Wodiczko, to Babbage Nanopamphlets, tiny gold leaflets developed at Cornell University’s Nano Scale Facility. Seminal works on view include Pulse Room, which represented Mexico at the Venice Biennale in 2007, Vicious Circular Breathing, on loan from Istanbul’s Borusan Contemporary, and Standards and Double Standards, from the MUAC collection.

The title of the exhibition is a reference to the Surrealists’ automatism, an artistic practice built on the expression of the subconscious by placing value on the accidental and random. Lozano-Hemmer expands on this notion by reminding us about the impossibility of true randomness in a machinic universe where any pretension of autonomy in a program is only a simulation. In the words of the artist, a pseudomatism aims to make tangible the biases inherent in these simulations. By definition a pseudomatism is an action that is almost-voluntary: if an automaton acts “by itself”, the work of Lozano-Hemmer tries to “act in relation to”.

Technology as language

The artist does not see technology as an instrument or tool, but rather as an inevitable language that determines subjectivity and sociability. Through the public’s touch, sight, breath, hearing and movement, the exhibition seeks to activate the relationships between machine, environment and perception, so as to underline the way in which technology, the body and the political-body interpenetrate and are inseparable.

A bilingual catalogue has been produced, with essays from the curators and artist as well as commentaries on the artworks by Kathleen Forde and Scott McQuire. Far from presenting electronic art as something “new”, the texts delve into the processes and strategies that drive the practice of the artist linking them to traditions of experimentation in the history of art and science.

Apart from the catalogue, the artist has published a USB drive that contains absolutely all the source code to program all the pieces in the exhibition. Any programmer will have access to the algorithms and methods that Lozano-Hemmer’s team developed for each work, written in C++, OpenFrameworks, Processing, Delphi, Wiring, Assembly and Java. To our knowledge this will be the first time that a comprehensive art show will be made available with an open source code.

Photo: Oliver Santana
Courtesy of MUAC, Mexico City


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