Skip to main content

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Wavefunction, Subsculpture 9

Artist: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
April 22, 2017 - July 30, 2017
Irving Stenn, Jr. Family Gallery

Wavefunction, Subsculpture 9, by Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, is a kinetic sculpture and interactive installation that plays on the work of mid-century American designers Charles and Ray Eames.

The installation consists of forty-two molded plastic chairs (designed by the Eameses in 1948) arranged in a grid and attached to electromechanical pistons. When visitors approach the chairs, a surveillance system detects their presence and the closest chairs lift gently off the ground. The adjacent chairs follow, and a wave movement spreads across the array. The software controlling the pistons is based on fluid dynamics, so as more visitors approach the grid, the chairs—whose iconic curving contours were also generated mathematically—mimic the complex interaction of multiple waves in water.

This performative installation complements the concurrent exhibition Moving Image: Performance, which together constitute the second of three presentations at UMMA drawn from the collection of Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul. The works in this year-long trio of exhibitions represent traditional categories such as portraiture, landscape, and performance that find new resonance when explored through the strategies of dynamic technology.

Lead support for Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Wavefunction, Subsculpture 9 is provided by the Herbert W. and Susan L. Johe Endowment and Michigan Engineering. Additional generous support is provided by the University of Michigan Latina/o Studies.