Interview with Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Recorders exhibition is currently showing at the Museum of Contemporary, where I work. A couple of his earlier public, performative works are referenced in my Ph.D. so it was with great pleasure I was able to convince him to put aside some time during install to be interviewed.

We used some excerpts from the interview to create a gorgeous little promotional video for the Recorders mini-site that I also worked on – mcarecorders.com.au. Big thanks to Tanya, Brad and Jason from Versus Media for their clean visual style and high production values.

The initial of questions I asked focused on helping people understand Lozano-Hemmer’s work in general, the experience visitors could expect when then attending Recorders and some explanation of the works being premièred at the MCA. After those boxes were ticked I was able to ask some more investigative questions, the best of which appear a the longer (and much less stylised) interview video.

KW: You often use the familiar computer technologies mixed with lights, projectors, amplifiers and the like. What obscure piece of technology would you really like to get your hands on that’s not available to you?

RLH: In most of my work we’re using either existing technologies, typically coming from surveillance – from corporate, government or military surveillance – and other times we’re developing our own technologies. One technology I would really love to get my hands on is drones. I would appreciate the ability to have a mobile platform for surveillance over head, that allows the public to have access to information that is strategically important – for example with protests. Routinely governments and police departments give a head count of the people who took part in a protest. I would adore to have that technology in the hands of the organisers, to be able to have real metric and real counts.

The way this would work is the drones would do live heads counts during the protest and then send that data directly to the internet without the mediation of power…This would allow you to use the very technologies of control for legitimating certain social movements such as indignation and occupy wall street, which I think are the real stories of our time.