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Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s ‘Atmospheric Memory’ comes to North America

Thu 2nd - Fri 17th December 2021

Carolina Performing Arts Presents North American Premiere of Atmospheric Memory: Immersive Experience by Media Artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

When it premiered in the UK two years ago, Atmospheric Memory proved so “inventive and provocative” (The Times of London) that it was named “the most ambitious art project at this year’s [Manchester International] Festival” (New York Times). Now, continuing the organization’s extraordinary commitment to innovative and mission-driven programming, Carolina Performing Arts (CPA) welcomes live audiences back to Memorial Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with the multidisciplinary installation’s North American premiere, Dec 2nd–17th.

Created by Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, and substantially expanded and reimagined for its first presentation of the pandemic era, Atmospheric Memory offers an immersive experience inspired by Victorian computer pioneer Charles Babbage, who conceived of the air we breathe as a “vast library” of human voices and dreamed of a device that would enable us to hear them. As visitors interact with each of Lozano- Hemmer’s thought-provoking artworks, and take part in CPA’s wealth of related educational activities, they are invited to consider the echoes of the past that linger in our atmosphere, reflecting on the lasting impact – both literal and figurative – we make on our environment.

Atmospheric Memory draws inspiration from Charles Babbage (1791–1871), the English inventor of the first programmable computer, who believed that “the air itself is one vast library, on whose pages are for ever written all that man has ever said or woman whispered” and that the “earth, air, and ocean, are the eternal witnesses of the acts we have done.” Babbage hoped that one day we might succeed in creating a computer sophisticated enough to rewind the path of air molecules, thereby enabling us to hear again the voices of long-lost loved ones, extinct languages and evidence of historical injustice.

Commissioned by CPA in collaboration with FutureEverything, Manchester International Festival, the UK’s Science and Industry Museum and ELEKTRA/Arsenal Contemporary Art in Montreal, Atmospheric Memory is the creation of Lozano-Hemmer and a team of programmers and artists from seven countries. A media artist working at the intersection of architecture and performance art, Lozano-Hemmer has been recognized with honors including two BAFTA British Academy Awards, a Rockefeller fellowship, an International Bauhaus Award and the Canadian Governor General’s Award. He was the first artist to represent Mexico at the Venice Biennale, and examples of his works are held in the collections of New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim, London’s Tate Gallery, and many more.


For more information and tickets click HERE

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