"Body Movies," 2000
Relational Architecture 6
outdoor public installation
dimensions variable

Installation view at Liverpool Biennial, Williamson Square, Liverpool, UK.

Thousands of portraits, taken on the streets of the cities where the project is shown, are projected on a giant screen or façade using elevated robotically-controlled projectors. However, the portraits are completely washed out by powerful xenon light sources placed at ground level. When people cross the square their shadows appear on the screen and the portraits are revealed within them. The shadows and portraits generate a play of reverse puppetry and embodied representation. Silhouettes measure between 2 and 30 metres high, depending on how far participants are from the screen.

A camera-based tracking system monitors the location of the shadows in real time. The computer vision interface, which is shown and explained on the site, triggers quiet feedback sounds when a shadow and a portrait match in scale. When the shadows have revealed all the portraits in a given scene, an automatic command is issued to change the scene to the next set of portraits. This way the people on the square are invited to match different representational narratives. Over 60 people may take part at any given time, creating a collective experience that nonetheless allows discrete individual participation.

"Body Movies" is the sixth in the series of “relational architecture” installations that Rafael Lozano-Hemmer has designed for cities in Europe and America for the past ten years. These interactive interventions have been exploring the intersection between new technologies, public space and performance art. The piece attempts to create an anti-monument of alien presence and embodied relationships.

Video courtesy of the artist and bitforms gallery nyc.

To learn more about Lozano-Hemmer's work, please visit:

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