Tonight at 7 pm, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer will speak about his works at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His delightfully unnerving fluorescent lights that respond to movement, “Homographies” (2006) are currently on view in the exhibit “Field Conditions,” and the piece “Frequency and Volume: Relational Architecture 9” (2003), opens November 3. The talk will take place in the Phyllis Wattis Theater, and will be followed by a performance by experimental composer Seth Horvitz.
Lozano-Hemmer’s latest installation is part relational architecture (architecture with an interactive component), part demonstration of interaction between people and the work’s hardware. “Frequency and Volume: Relational Architecture 9” is a response to the Mexican government’s shut down of pirate radio stations run by indigenous communities, and Lozano-Hemmer has re-created a radio station in the museum. An antenna on the fourth floor balcony picks up radio signals and relays them to a glass-walled box within the gallery with a bank of computers on a desk. All desk space not occupied by computers is jammed with small radios and mixing boards, while, on the computer screens, red silhouettes of people move. It’s a control center for a something larger than a radio program. The adjoining gallery is much more playful—walking along the length of the room tunes into radio frequencies, walking closer to a wall with light projected on it and lined with speakers at the floor decreases the volume. The movement is processed through the banks of computers in the first gallery and shown as the outline on the screens, and projected as a shadow on the white wall with tuning information. Some of the frequencies are talk radio about Jesus or sports; some of the frequencies are just reflecting the sounds in space. Go check it out with friends and make a song about Jesus at the game, existing in space.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s talk begins at 7 pm at SFMOMA on Thursday, November 1.