(Mexican b. 1967)
1984X1984 – Shadow Box 10, 2015.
Computer, 4K UHD flat screen, Kinect.
Variable screen size.
Courtesy of the artist and bitforms gallery (New York).
Photo by: Antimodular Research.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s 1984×1984 constructs an experience out of digital light pulse, silence, and human perception. Referencing George Orwell’s predicted date for the demise of individual privacy, the installation uses thousands of home address numbers extracted from Google Street View which reveal the number 1984. Its arrangement and rearrangement of the numbers 0-9 manipulate technology and perception to explore the question of surveillance. The system subverts the original meaning of the technology it exploits by divorcing the numbers from the intimacy of a home.
Lozano-Hemmer’s random and quickly changing system of appropriated numbers creates the illusion of a countdown. This communicates political tension by leading the viewer to anticipate an event that is inevitable. The absurdity of its continuum results in tension rather than relief, like the uncertainty of being watched. Observe the system. Watch your image become part of its network, and the numbers within your silhouette change to 1,9,8,4. It may become a question whether the spectator of the system is made victim or accomplice to surveillance in 1984×1984.
Gabrielle Bing, ’19