This essay explores how the large-scale video-installation art of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer uses the illusion of confrontation, contact, and interactivity to create what many spectators describe as an uncanny experience. Like Freud's uncanny, Lozano-Hemmer's work undermines stable subject positions and thus the possibility of the specific symbolic meaning for the installation. The ungrounding of subjectivity does not necessarily point to the subjects' own absence or lack of wholeness, nor to its own possible obsolescence. Rather, it points to the disjuncture between recognizing and reacting to the fact that we are being followed (by images, interfaces, and tracking devices), and recognizing and reacting to the fact that these devices already anticipate our movements, desires, and trajectories. Lozano-Hemmer's work asks about how surveillance systems, global capital, and digital technologies have reconfigured notions of embodiment and public space, and of the public itself.
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