Tribute to Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, C.A.L.Q.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer was destined for international acclaim. With Spanish/German roots, he was born in Mexico and grew up in Madrid. He went on to study physics in British Columbia and art history in Québec. In free-spirited fashion, he frequented Montréal's artistic circles and founded his studio in the city. Early on, he decided to focus on creating social experiences rather than producing collectible objects. Preoccupied by technology's role in modern life, artwork/spectator relationship, architectural/social relationships and symbolic links uniting space and object, he designs performance installations in which the public is invited to interact differently with art and the environment.
His toolkit includes large-scale projections, robotic/biometric technologies, sensors and sound processes. Resolute in his belief that computers will never replace human collaboration, he surrounds himself with photographers, developers, architects, writers, actors and musicians, depending on the nature of the project. A number of major events around the world have shown his innovative and phenomenal works and have bestowed him with awards. Deeming the term "interactive" too hackneyed, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer banned it from his lexicon and prefers to describe his work as "relational architecture". Although he did not invent the concept, he has certainly pushed its boundaries further than any of his predecessors. In 1999, some 800,000 people on four continents experienced his work Vectorial Elevation.
This text was read in French on May 29, 2017, when Rafael Lozano-Hemmer received the honorary insignia of the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec. Held at the Phi Centre in Montréal, the tribute was organized by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and hosted by Claude Deschênes. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer was appointed in 2016, but could not attend the original ceremony.