Voice Theatre is a site-specific sound and light installation developed by Lozano-Hemmer especially for Augusta Raurica: In the middle of the ancient theatre there is a microphone to record the voices of the participants. These messages, ideas and thoughts are then reproduced in real time on 120 speakers distributed across the ranks of the theatre. At the same time they are visually transformed into rings of light that radiate beyond the grandstands of the theatre. If no one is speaking, the speakers reproduce the recordings of the last 120 participants. Voice Theatre is a commissioned work by HeK in collaboration with the theatre board of Augusta Raurica.
In Voice Theatre, the artist explores the unique architecture of the ancient auditorium and explores the contrast between presence and absence: concepts that are usually described as mutually exclusive or opposites. In Voice Theatre they are presented as echoes of each other, with the concrete traces left behind by the voices of the visitors. In their messages, the audience should in particular deal with the question of what culture means for each individual. The piece thus creates a memorial theatre of live and recorded messages that can be seen and heard.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer was born in Mexico City in 1967. He lives and works in Montréal, Canada. His large-format interactive installations move at the interface of architecture and performance art. Lozano-Hemmer's main interest is to create platforms for public participation by using technologies such as robotics, computerized surveillance or telematic networks.
Lozano-Hemmer's works have been presented worldwide, including major solo exhibitions such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the MUAC Museum in Mexico City and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. He was the first artist to officially represent Mexico at the 2007 Venice Biennale with an exhibition at the Palazzo Van Axel. His works have been shown at numerous festivals and biennials, including Havana, Istanbul, Kochi, Liverpool, Montréal, Moscow, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney.
His major art installations in public space were shown, for example, at the Millennium Celebrations in Mexico City (1999), at the UN World Summit of Cities in Lyon (2003), at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver (2010) or at the pre-opening of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (2015). In addition to many other awards, he has received two BAFTA British Academy Awards for Interactive Art in London, a Golden Nica at the Prix Ars Electronica in Linz and the "Artist of the Year" Rave Award from Wired Magazine.
(Image: Courtesy of the Artist)