Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, ‘Under Scan (indoor version)’, 2011, bitforms gallery

"Under Scan" is a public art installation based on self-representation, commissioned by East Midlands Development Agency, UK. Thousands of “video portraits” taken in Derby, Leicester, Lincoln, Northampton and Nottingham are projected on to the ground; at first, the portraits are not visible because the space is flooded by white light coming from a high-powered projector. As people walk around the area, their shadows are cast on the ground, revealing the video-portraits in short sequences. These sequences begin with the subjects in a still position, turned away from the camera. As they appear within the cast shadows, their bodies move and their heads turn to look straight at the pedestrian, establishing eye contact. When a personʼs shadow moves away from the portrait, the portrait reacts by turning away and becoming dormant, eventually disappearing altogether. In Venice, Under Scan was presented in an indoor exhibition space, with an adjacent room that shows the tracking system that controls the work, as well as an interactive sketch exposing all the portraits simultaneously.

The piece was inspired by representation en abîme, where the portrayed make eye-contact with the viewer,-as found in works by Jan Van Eyck, Parmigianino, Velázquez or Leon Golub. Other references for this work include the post- photographic device described in La Invención de Morel written by Adolfo Bioy Casares (1940) and the ghostly interactive portraits created by Lynn Hershman Leeson, Paul Sermon and Luc Courchesne.

Dimensions variable (100 sq meters max).

Series: Relational Architecture 11

About Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Electronic artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's public art installations combine technology, architecture, and performance using devices like robotics, projections, and cell phones. He constructs "temporary anti-monuments for alien agency," as in Pulse Tank (2008), in which heart rate sensors send ripples across the surface of water, or the Guggenheim's 2009 installation Levels of Nothingness, which allowed people to speak into a computer that linked voice traits to colors that were projected across the room. His Vectorial Elevation (1999), in which 800,000 participants created searchlight sculptures above Mexico City, may well be the world's largest interactive artwork ever.

Mexican, b. 1967, Mexico City, Mexico, based in Mexico City, Mexico