Tape Recorders – Self-Measurement In Real Time

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Tape Recorders is the fourteenth element of the Subsculpture series by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. The work lives up to his reputation and once again elects the audience as crucial element in the unfolding narrative. In the series of urban interactive installations “Relational Architecture” (that until now consisted of sixteen works), for example, the audience is the essential protagonist amid enormous public light installations. But Tape Recorders is instead a gallery installation, commissioned by the Sidney Museum of Contemporary Art. The work consists of two lines of motorized roll tapes, located on two opposite walls that roll upward, parallel to the wall they are placed on. A system of Kinect sensors placed above registers the presence of visitors in the installation and cause the nearest roll to a visitor to climb upwards, stiff and strutting. When the tape reaches about 3m high, it stops and drops down in the direction of the user (obviously to a safe distance), to then roll up again on itself and close the narrative loop – or so it seems. Date concerning the visitor’s interaction is then sent to another device that analyses and prints out information. The unequal lines drawn by the tapes more or less unrolled and lengthened on the walls are reminiscent of a histogram, as if they measure our presence in the world in realtime. The movement of the tapes invites audience members inside the work, who become aware of their centrality to the process.

Chiara Ciociola