Intermedia Art

New Media, Sound and Performance

Under Scan  September and November 2008

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Installation, Trafalgar Square, November 2008
Under Scan Public Portraits, Tate Modern Seminar Room, September 2008

Under Scan is a large-scale public art project by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer involving hundreds of video-portraits projected onto the ground in Trafalgar Square.

The public were invited to participate in the work by contributing their video portrait from 19 to 21 September at Tate Modern. The portraits were shot from above, as members of the public lie beneath a suspended camera. Each individual was free to represent themselves any way they wished.

Under Scan © Rafael Lozano-Hemmer 2005 - 2008. Photograph by Antimodular Research

This approach to engaging the public within the creative process is fundamental to Lozano-Hemmer’s vision, with the content of the installation to be centred on self-representation by local people; their movements and gestures providing a unique contribution to the work.

When visiting the installation, the portraits are not immediately visible because the space is flooded by white light. As people walk around the area, their shadow is cast on the floor, revealing the video-portraits. As they appear within pedestrians' shadows, their bodies move and their heads turn to look straight at the pedestrian, giving rise to an interesting range of interactions.

For use in the upcoming Drupal powered CMS

Documentation of Under Scan in Trafalgar Square and interview with Rafael Lozano-Hemmer 2008 © Tate

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is an electronic artist, developing large-scale interactive installations in public space, usually deploying new technologies and custom-made physical interfaces. Using robotics, projections, sound, the internet, cell-phone links, sensors and other devices, his installations aim to provide "temporary anti-monuments for alien agency".

Under Scan in Trafalgar Square
Video still from documentation of Under Scan in Trafalgar Square 2008 © Tate

Under Scan was originally commissioned by East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and is being produced in London by ArtReach, with partnership support from Arts Council England, Art Lights London, the Canadian High Commission, Haunch of Venison, ICA, Jumex Foundation, the Mexican Embassy,the National Gallery, the Science Museum, Tate Media and Tate Modern and Quebec Government Office.

The public portraits for Under Scan have been realised with support from the Zabludowicz Trust

Video as Social Agent

Archaeologist, Michael Shanks, discusses public space and the world wide web as theatres of encounter