Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: A spotlight on the crowd-pleasing artist obsessed with death

Contradictions are built into the man and the work. Mr. Lozano-Hemmer, 50, is an upbeat, articulate sort whose whole worldview is based on connecting people via science and technology. He’s quick with a smart observation, a follow-up email and a polite social inquiry.

But he also created “Vicious Circular Breathing” (2013), a sealed room filled with human exhalations. Inviting onlookers to enter it and breathe, it includes warnings about asphyxiation, panic and contagion. And he refuses to use it himself.

Pulse Index” (2010) records visitors’ fingerprints and heart rates, displaying the data of the last 765 participants on a large wall. It also has images of their fingers — creating a slightly creepy effect — and graphics that animate the biometric information.

Pulse Tank” (2008) converts audience heart rates into waves in a water tank, which then set off a light show, and “Pulse Room” (2006) animates about 300 light bulbs with the same information, collected via a sensor.

Museums, galleries and biennials have flocked to work with him for at least a decade, given that his projects have two levels of appeal: a gee-whiz, hands-on side that brings people in the door, and then a deeper, often darker meaning that can be apprehended by those who choose to linger.

Read the full article about the macabre intellectual with a penchant for social criticism HERE.

 

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