Rafael Lozano-Hemmer Subtitled Public 2005

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Subtitled Public 2005
Installation view, Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, Mexico City
Photo: Alex Dorfsman
© Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Lozano-Hemmer is a Mexican artist who creates large-scale interactive installations. Deploying a range of new technologies, including projections and sensors, as well as other devices, his work draws on what the artist describes as ‘relational architecture’. Human interaction and behaviour underpins his work, positioning the audience as a focus for and subject of the artwork.

For The Fifth Floor Lozano-Hemmer will present a major work called  Subtitled Public. As the audience enters the room-size installation they will be tracked by an infrared surveillance system, which projects texts onto their bodies. These ‘subtitles’ consist of thousands of verbs, all applicable in the third person, which follow each individual wherever they move. The only way to ‘lose’ the subtitle is to transfer it to another person by touching them.

Encouraged to communicate through physical interaction, the work comments on the dangers of surveillance systems, such as those increasingly deployed in public spaces around the world, which attempt to detect and identify different ‘suspicious’ individuals.