Artist Research: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer was born and raised in Mexico City, and emigrated to Canada in pursuit of a degree in physical chemistry from Concordia University in Montréal. He is an electronic artist whose work focuses a lot on interactive art that often requires public interaction. Hemmer uses technology to create an environment through his installations that become a platform which encourages public participation from the viewers.
I particularly liked Hemmer's work Nivel de Confianza. In remembrance of 43 male students who were kidnapped from their school in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico and were presumably killed, Hemmer created this piece using facial recognition technology. The viewer stands in front of the camera and the system matches them up to the picture of one of the students that looks the most like them. While Hemmer acknowledge that the students are most likely all dead, the idea behind the project was to use technology to search for the victims among the viewers. I think the installation is powerful, and through the use of technology Hemmer is able to remind viewers in such a unique way how these images that they are matched up to were human beings - and in doing so he creates this deeper connection. I also like how this piece is also a critique of how often similar technology is used to search for criminals but not victims.