Kenyon College

33 Questions Per Minute


Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
(Mexican b. 1967)

33 Questions Per Minute – Relational Architecture 5 (33 Preguntas por Minuto), 2000.

Computer, projector, Delphi programming.
Variable dimensions.
Courtesy of the artist and bitforms gallery (New York).

33 Questions Per Minute barrages the viewer with rapidly generated questions projected on the gallery walls. The sentences are formed using an algorithm that generates grammatically coherent phrases composed of random pairings. If the program were to fully exhaust its bank of words and grammatical combinations it would have created 55 billion questions over the span of 3,000 years.

Ranging from largely nonsensical and humorous questions like, “Why doesn’t anyone tidy now that there are cheerleaders?” to occasionally more profound inquiries like “Do few attempt to pursue the average mark?”, the computer program seeks to ask questions that have never been asked before. Humor sneaks its way into this piece through the absurd “anti-content” of the questions. The rate of 33 questions per minute is barely legible. Viewers are not left with much time to contemplate one question before the next appears They are instead shrouded in more ambiguity as they leave with an abundance of unanswered questions. The overwhelming incapability to respond to the bombardment of questions is not unlike our attempts to navigate the rapidly evolving digital landscape in which we are exposed daily to massive amounts of images, ideas, and data.

– Harlee Mollenkopf ’17