Schools – Megalodemocrat: The Public Art of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

“Lozano-Hemmer’s talent is making philosophical ideas somehow literal.
The abstract becomes weirdly real.”
The New York Times

Filmed over 10 years in 25 cities around the globe, this film paints a picture of his approach and contagious enthusiasm when it comes to transforming the urban landscape into a work of art for all to see, from Vancouver to Rotterdam to New York.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is one of the most acclaimed artists working today, but his pieces wouldn’t exist without participation. He admits, “If nobody shows up… there’s no show.”

But that doesn’t happen, as Rafael’s projects have hands-on participation to attract viewers, as well as deeper meanings for those who want to engage on that level.

Director Benjamin Duffield’s film explores Rafael’s quest to stage democratic takeovers of urban spaces.

“What place does art have in people’s daily lives?”

Megalodemocrat provides intimate access to his large-scale interactive creations in locations such as Trafalgar Square in London, the Vancouver Olympics and New York’s Park Avenue Tunnel, culminating in a piece that crosses the US-Mexico border.

In our increasingly isolated lives, Megalodemocrat serves as an antidote to alienation.

Rafael’s acoustic environments, light shows and interactive projections on five continents have won several awards. The shows use technology to gather people and transform them into actors for social change. His work is a rallying point for a screened-in urban population, longing to connect. The art doesn’t discriminate, and all who participate are given a voice. With that voice comes a sense of hope.

One of Rafael’s artworks, Level of Confidence (Nivel de Confianza), plays in the Doc Edge Exhibition.

Level of Confidence was originally presented at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Mallorca, Spain. The piece features a face recognition camera programmed with the faces of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa school in Iguala, Mexico.

The camera’s programme uses algorithms to find which student’s facial features look most like yours and gives a “Level of Confidence” on how accurate the match is. The piece will always fail to make a positive match, as the students are still missing, but the commemorative side of the project is the relentless search for them and their overlap with the public’s own facial features.

Presented by

Session Time

Auckland | Rangatira, Q Theatre
Thu 30 May
10:00 AM
Auckland | Rangatira, Q Theatre
Fri 31 May
10:00 AM
Wellington | The Roxy 1
Thu 13 Jun
10:00 AM
Wellington | The Roxy 1
Fri 14 Jun
10:00 AM
92 min
Canada, United States, Mexico, United Kingdom
English, Spanish
Benjamin Duffield