Mexico City - Exhibition

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Pseudomatisms

Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo – MUAC

28 Oct 201517 Apr 2016

The Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) presents Pseudomatisms, the first comprehensive museum exhibition dedicated to the work of Mexican media artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer in his native country.

Curated by José Luis Barrios and Alejandra Labastida, the exhibition features 42 artworks that span 23 years of production using interactive video, robotics, computerized surveillance, photography and sound sculpture.

The show will premiere five new works in varying scales, from “Zoom Pavilion”, a huge projection piece done in collaboration with Polish artist Krzysztof Wodiczko, to “Babbage Nanopamphlets”, tiny gold leaflets developed at Cornell University’s Nano Scale Facility. Seminal works on view include “Pulse Room”, which represented Mexico at the Venice Biennale in 2007, “Vicious Circular Breathing” on loan from Istanbul’s Borusan Contemporary, and “Standards and Double Standards”, which is in the MUAC collection.

The title of the exhibition is a reference to the Surrealists’ automatism, an artistic practice built on the expression of the subconscious by placing value on the accidental and random. Lozano-Hemmer expands this notion by reminding us about the impossibility of true randomness in a machinic universe where any pretension of autonomy in any program is only a simulation. In the words of the artist, a pseudomatism aims to make tangible the biases inherent in these simulations. By definition a pseudomatism is an action that is almost-voluntary: if an automaton “acts by itself” the work of Lozano-Hemmer on the contrary tries to “act in relation to”.

The artist does not see technology as an instrument or tool, but rather as an inevitable language that determines subjectivity and sociability. Through the public’s touch, sight, breath, hearing and movement, the exhibition seeks to activate the relationships between machine, environment and perception, so as to underline the way in which technology, the body and the body-politic interpenetrate and are inseparable.

A bilingual catalogue will be produced, with essays from the curators and artist as well as commentaries on the artworks by Kathleen Forde and Scott McQuire. Far from presenting electronic art as something “new”, the texts delve into the processes and strategies that drive the practice of the artist linking them to traditions of experimentation in the history of art and science.

Apart from the catalogue, the artist will publish a USB drive that contains absolutely all the source code to program all the pieces in the exhibition. Any programmer will have access to the algorithms and methods that Lozano-Hemmer’s team developed for each work, written in C++, OpenFrameworks, Processing, Delphi, Wiring, Assembler and Java. To our knowledge this will be the first time that a comprehensive art show will be made available with an open source code.

  • Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Pseudomatismos. MUAC, 2015. Photo: David GonzálezRafael Lozano-Hemmer: Pseudomatismos. MUAC, 2015. Photo: David González
  • Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Pseudomatismos. MUAC, 2015. Photo: David GonzálezRafael Lozano-Hemmer: Pseudomatismos. MUAC, 2015. Photo: David González

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Destination: Mexico City
Where: Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo – MUAC
Type: Guided Tour
Admission: Free

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