Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, ‘Wavefunction’, 2007, bitforms gallery
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, ‘Wavefunction’, 2007, bitforms gallery

"Wavefunction" is a kinetic sculpture comprised of fifty Charles and Ray Eames moulded chairs (designed in 1948) and placed in ten rows of five chairs each, facing the entrance to the exhibition space. When someone approaches the work, a computerized surveillance system detects their presence and the closest chairs automatically begin to lift off the ground, creating the crest of a wave that then spreads over the whole room. A system of electromechanical pistons raises each chair forty centimetres from the ground. The pistons are controlled by a computer that runs the mathematics of fluid dynamics, thus making the waves interfere with each other, creating turbulence or becoming calm, just like real water. Periodically, the chairs stop interacting with the public and perform a choreography set to the music of Claudio Monteverdiʼs Lamento dʼArianna. The idea of a “function” as a field for artistic experimentation is a motivation for this piece. Other references include: the mathematics of dynamic systems, capable of generating complex non-linear behaviors, the materialization of surveillance and turbulence and the anti-modular reinterpretation of the work of modern designers such as Charles and Ray Eames.

Dimensions variable.

Series: Subsculpture 9

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