If you count video installations and computer-controlled light sculpture, digital art is hardly new. Large-scale installations are ten a penny, with many no more than film projections controlled by pre-programmed repeat software.
Mexican artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, however, is creating genuinely interactive work that reveals more than a way with a camera. He includes the familiar film/light combo, but layers it with positional sound and sensors that trigger a real-time response for the viewer.
In Reporters with Borders, the viewer activates an overlay of Mexican and US reporters, a bleak reminder of the human traffic between the two countries, while in Pulse Tank your heartbeat triggers a ripple effect in water, a reflection of which is transferred on to the ceiling by a spot-light.
These works are among those on display at the Hauch of Venison, which is just one of three exhibitions Lozano-Hemmer has in London this autumn. A hat-trick of shows, which will interest interaction designers, may seem like poor planning, but if anything London is late to Lozano-Hemmer.
The 40-year-old artist has had numerous installations across Europe, Asia and America, including last year’s Venice Biennale and a monumental light installation for the opening of Dasha Zhukova’s (Roman Abramovich’s lady love) new Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow in June.
The London work lacks the Russian glitz, but seems more compelling. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, at Haunch of Venison, Haunch of Venison Yard, off Brook Street, London W1, from 14 October to 16 November; Barbican Centre, London EC2, from 19 October to 18 January 2009; and Trafalgar Square, London WC2, from 15-23 November
By Sarah Frater