Saturday, November 15, 2008

Canadian artist hits the switch in Trafalgar Square

LONDON — Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is in Trafalgar Square, cursing the skies. Not literally, you understand: The Mexican-Canadian artist is too jovial and unflappable for that. But he'd like a bit of co-operation on the precipitation front, as he's trying to install his giant interactive light show, Under Scan, in one of the world's most famous public squares.

“Man, do you think we could get some Mexican weather for a while,” he asks, turning his Buddy Holly glasses to the sky, which remains a steadfast shade of London drab. It's just stopped raining after pouring for two days, and it's put his team of engineers behind schedule.

Under Scan essentially involves passersby triggering, and interacting with videos of people that will be projected on the square's pavement. That requires two of the world's most powerful projectors to flood the square with light, and the crane meant to hoist one of those projectors is wheezing and tilting and refusing to rise. Maybe it needs some Viagra.

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