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Interactive video installations in public spaces: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's Under Scan

Interactive video installations in public spaces: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's Under Scan

Papadaki, Elena ORCID: 0000-0002-6653-4334 (2015) Interactive video installations in public spaces: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's Under Scan. In: Crisp, Virginia and Menotti Gonring, Gabriel, (eds.) Besides the Screen: Moving Images through Distribution, Promotion and Curation. Palgrave Macmillan, London & New York, pp. 197-212. ISBN 978-1-137-47101-7

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Under Scan, described as an ‘interactive video art installation for public space’, was presented in Trafalgar Square, a tourist attraction in central London, from 15 to 23 November 2008 as part of the Relational Architecture series by the artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. Apart from its credentials as the largest interactive video installation and the longest-running event to be presented in Trafalgar Square (Vanagan, 2009, p. 86), it constitutes an interesting case study for this chapter in order to demonstrate the ways in which screen-based works can function in a ‘media city’ (McQuire, 2009). Moving away from an art exhibition milieu (such as a museum or a gallery) or a cultural space where they can interact with various arts genres such as a projection space, a music concert or a theatre performance), screens that operate ‘out in the open’, especially when they are meant to serve a purpose of interactivity, need to entertain and engage a very heterogeneous crowd.

In this chapter, I will present the exhibition practices employed in Under Scan and address issues of locality, interactivity and participation in the field of new media art, in an attempt to map out a paradigm shift from the conventional ways of presenting the moving image (cinema space, black box, exhibition space) towards more inclusive –and public- approaches. Lozano-Hemmer has stated that, for him, ‘a piece is successful if the behaviours and relationships that emerge from participation manage to surprise the artist/designer’ (Graham, 2007, p. 254), explaining how multimedia works that feature interactivity for groups are usually out of control. However, how does the projection network affect and direct the viewing regime of the audience? Why is the unpredictability of the exhibition event an essential factor of its essence? And finally, how could an interactive public work create a new cinematographic ontology in the media world? These are the questions I will attempt to answer, hoping to offer a useful insight into the field of curating screen media in public spaces.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Curating, Interactive art, Exhibiting in public spaces, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Design (DES)
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Last Modified: 02 May 2017 13:28

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