We are Here: We Could be Everywhere: Media, Arts and Activism in Los Angeles and Beyond

This was a recent event put on by the ALOUD lecture series at the Central Library in Downtown Los Angeles. It was co-sponsored by FreeWaves and featured a panel discussion on the implications of new media and new media arts in the public sphere.

“Are the media arts a sensitizing force?  What is media art’s capacity to respond to political conditions?  Cultural practitioners and scholars explore the role artists play as innovators of media technology and instigators in the public and media art realms.”

The podcast is available here: http://www.lfla.org/event-detail/584/We-are-Here-We-Could-be-Everywhere-Media-Arts-and-Activism-in-Los-Angeles-and-Beyond


Relational Architecture 14

Another piece by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, one my favorite artists. I love how completely the audience’s participation is enmeshed into the work and how the heart beats of the passerbyers are what makes the piece come to life.  A beautiful homage to both individual and collective presence. See explanatory text below, taken from his website:

Pulse Park
Relational Architecture 14
“Pulse Park” is comprised of a matrix of light beams that graze the central oval field of Madison Square Park. Their intensity is entirely modulated by a sensor that measures the heart rate of participants and the resulting effect is the visualization of vital signs, arguably our most symbolic biometric, in an urban scale.

In Pulse Park, evening visitors to Madison Square Park have their systolic and diastolic activity measured by a sensor sculpture installed at the North end of the Oval Lawn. These biometric rhythms are translated and projected as pulses of narrow-beam light that will move sequentially down rows of spotlights placed along the perimeter of the lawn as each consecutive participant makes contact with the sensor. The result is a poetic expression of our vital signs, transforming the public space into a fleeting architecture of light and movement.

Pulse Park is inspired by Roberto Gavaldón’s film “Macario” (Mexico, 1960) in which the protagonist has a hunger-induced hallucination wherein individuals are represented by lit candles, as well as by the minimalist musical compositions of Conlon Nancarrow, Glenn Branca and Steve Riech. Pulse Park is the culmination of a series that Lozano-Hemmer debuted at the 2007 Venice Biennale with Pulse Room.



I recently was introduced to the work of Christopher Janney. His works are brilliant and make the participants not only actors in the works- but also artists themselves. See description below, taken from his website:

CHRISTOPHER JANNEY is an artist, architect, and practicing jazz musician. Janney work combines innovative uses of recorded and live sound, light, and interactive technology. The majority of Janney’s work is in the public sphere, and is appropriately populist, often turning spectators into participants and (sometimes unwittingly) into musicians. All are at the nexus of art, technology, and music.


Rafael Lozano-Hemmer



“Pulse Room

“Pulse Room” is an interactive installation featuring one to three hundred clear incandescent light bulbs, 300 W each and hung from a cable at a height of three metres. The bulbs are uniformly distributed over the exhibition room, filling it completely. An interface placed on a side of the room has a sensor that detects the heart rate of participants. When someone holds the interface, a computer detects his or her pulse and immediately sets off the closest bulb to flash at the exact rhythm of his or her heart.”


Candy Chang

All of Candy Chang’s works spark civic participation and public dialog and are characterized by the creative use of unused, abandoned, or environmentally degraded spaces as vehicles for social change, creative expression and public engagement. I am a huge fan.

Before I Die… & I Wish This Was…


Olafur Eliasson

 Perhaps the aspect that most intrigues and draws me to the work of Olafur Eliasson is his call to re-conceptualize space as fluid and inconstant, capable of being acted upon and transformed. Olafur’s installations remind us that our physical spaces are contingent upon time- and therefore in constant flux and capable of being meaningfully and purposefully transformed. They also remind us of our responsibilities as actors upon our spaces, a process of interaction he calls “co-production”.

The video below is beautiful. Eliasson’s essays are also remarkable. A particular favorite of mine can be found here: YOUR ENGAGEMENT HAS CONSEQUENCES

Space is Process

Olafur Eliasson: Space is Process from Mads Jørgensen on Vimeo.