Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Voice Array at Bitforms Gallery, New York

The current exhibition at Bitforms Gallery in New York presents works by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. The centerpiece is Rafael Lozano-Hemmers artwork Voice Array. Voice Array is a sound and light sculpture that fills the gallery’s far wall and consists of LEDs and a customized intercom system of audio playback and recording. Here is how it works as explained by the gallery: Capturing hundreds of voices and translating each one into a series of light flashes, the piece stores a unique pattern as a loop in the first light of the array, until the next participant speaks into the intercom. Each new recording is pushed along its long horizontal band of LEDs, as sounds of the voices gradually accumulate. When the first voice reaches the other side of the piece, the participant’s phrase is once again released as sound, punctuated by the staggering pulsation of all the lights in tandem. The ever-changing voices stored by the piece play back through a directional speaker, during moments of less activity.

On the occasion of the exhibition’s opening, vocal percussionist Rahzel, aka The Godfather of Noyze has been commissioned to perform a piece, using Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Voice Array. Rahzel is a two-time Grammy award winning artist, beat boxer, actor and writer. This video documents part of the performance and the use of the piece by individual attendants of the opening reception.

Voice Array is the fourth solo exhibition with Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. The piece Voice Array debuted last fall in Sydney (Australia), at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The show also presents the work Last Breath, a robotic installation that stores and circulates the breath of a person forever, between a bellows and a brown paper bag.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer was born in 1967 in Mexico. He is known for his interactive artworks that mix the fields of digital media, robotics, medical science, and performance art. Recent projects include large-scale public installations for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada; the Madison Square Park Conservancy in New York; and the 50th Anniversary of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Until October 14, 2012, the Association for Public Art in Philadelphia presents his work Open Air. As part of the ZERO1 Biennial, the SF MoMA in San Francisco presents his works Homographies and Frequency and Volume. He is also currently participating in exhibitions in Valencia, Spain (at Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno); Bochum, Germany (Ruhr Triennial); and Buenos Aires, Argentina (Fundación Telefónica).

Opening Reception and Performance by Rahzel, the Godfather of Noyze. Bitforms Gallery, New York City, September 6, 2012.

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Complete video (19:06 min.):

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