Kenyon College

X is not the new Y


Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
(Mexican b. 1967)

X is not the new Y (X no es la nueva Y), 2011.

Electronic paper screens, Arduino processor, battery, circuit board.
16.5 x 8.6 x 1.8 cm

Courtesy of the artist and bitforms gallery (New York).

Photo by: Antimodular Research.

With the push of a button X is not the new Y randomly displays two proper names in the form of a mathematical inequality, drawing from a pool of famous people, companies, and cities. By generating arbitrary associations such as “Johann S. Bach is not the new Sting,” Lozano-Hemmer confuses our sense of history, authority, and organization. While the sentence structure of X is not the new Y rejects a connection between the two names, they are linked to each other in their pervasiveness across cultures, indicative of a form of power.

Lozano-Hemmer’s interest in hidden systems is reflected aesthetically in his refusal to hide the work’s electronic elements. While circuitry is usually concealed beneath a shiny veneer, here it is a prominent part of the work’s overall look, suggesting a desire to expose the mechanics of the familiar.

Rose Bishop, ’17