Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer coined the term ‘Relational Architecture’ to refer to large-scale interactive events that transform emblematic buildings through new technological interfaces.

Lozano-Hemmer’s work involves the deployment of data-networks, monumental projections, robotic lights, custom-made sensors, samplers and other devices to create connective participatory experiences where several realities are co-present. In 1998 he was commissioned to develop a piece for the millennium celebrations in Mexico City’s Zocalo Plaza. Vectorial Elevation, Relational Architecture No. 4 (1999-2000) invited participants on the Internet to create light sculptures in the sky using a 3D interface on the Web. Participants from all over the world were able to direct searchlight beams installed on the roofs of buildings around the square, and their designs were automatically documented in the project site.

Body Movies, Relational Architecture No. 6 (2001) was an adaptation of an existing interactive projection artwork that was re-presented in Liverpool city centre for International 02. 1200 portraits of people taken on the streets of Liverpool, Rotterdam, Madrid, Mexico and Montreal were projected onto a large screen in Williamson Square. The portraits appeared inside the projected shadows of local passers-by, whose silhouettes measured up to 20 metres high, depending on how far people were from the powerful light sources placed on the ground. The piece was managed by a custom-made computer vision system that traced the shadows in real time. The shadow interface was inspired by Samuel van Hoogstraten’s engraving The Shadow Dance (Rotterdam, 1675). Body Movies (2002) aimed to explore the intersection between new technologies, urban space and public activation.

Body Movies, Relational Architecture No.6, 2001-02
Large-scale intervention featuring 1200 interactive portraits
Liverpool version commissioned by Liverpool Biennial 2002 in association with FACT (Foundation of Art and Creative Technology)
Exhibited at Williamson Square



Canadian High Commission
Henry Moore Foundation
Liverpool Culture Company Ltd
Northwest Development Agency
Quebec Government Office in London.