Levels of Nothingness

Levels of Nothingness
a performance-installation by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, featuring Isabella Rossellini, in conjunction with Kandinsky and the 50th Anniversary of the Guggenheim Museum.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer Levels of Nothingness (Mock-up), 2009

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer Levels of Nothingness (Mock-up), 2009

Peter B. Lewis Theater
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

1071 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10128

Public performances: September 17 and 19-21, 7:30 PM and Guggenheim
International Gala: September 16, 8 and 10 PM

Levels of Nothingness, an interactive light and sound piece by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (b. 1967, Mexico City), will premiere on the occasion of the Guggenheim International Gala, a private fundraising event, on Wednesday, September 16, with four additional public performances on Thursday, September 17 and Saturday, September 19 through Monday, September 21 at 7:30pm in the Guggenheim’s Peter B. Lewis Theater.

Levels of Nothingness, co-written by philosopher Brian Massumi, is inspired by Vasily Kandinsky’s explorations of synaesthesia, most notably in his Yellow Sound (1912), a composition in which he proposes linking the senses using levels of abstraction. Lozano-Hemmer employs a computerized microphone to analyze live voice in real time and extract physical and linguistic data that, in turn, controls a full rig of rock-and-roll concert lights, creating a color show that surrounds the theater.

Isabella Rossellini will activate the installation every night as she reads from seminal philosophical texts on skepticism, perception and color, including Francisco Sanches’ treatise That Nothing Is Known (1581) and writings by Kandinsky, Simon Baron-Cohen, and Alexander Luria, among others. These spoken words will automatically generate a quiet choreography of light designs. Following the performance, the audience will be invited to test the color-generating microphone.

Public engagement is central to Lozano-Hemmer’s experimental practice. His often large-scale interactive installations in public and in gallery spaces have included exhibitions and projects commissioned for events such as the 52nd International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale in 2007, as the first artist to officially represent Mexico, the Expansion of the European Union in Dublin in 2004, thePulse Park light installation at Madison Square Park in New York in 2008, and the memorial for the 1968 Tlatelolco student massacre in Mexico City in 2008.

Brian Massumi is a philosopher currently completing a book project entitled Perception Attack: Philosophy of Experience for Times of War (MIT Press). His previous publications include Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation (Duke University Press, 2002), A User’s Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Deviations from Deleuze and Guattari (MIT Press, 1992), and First and Last Emperors: The Absolute State and the Body of the Despot (with Kenneth Dean; Autonomedia, 1993).

Isabella Rossellini is an Italian actress, filmmaker, author, philanthropist, and model. Notable film roles include her work in Blue VelvetCousins, Death Becomes Her, Immortal Beloved, and Fearless. In 2008, Rossellini toured the festival circuit, including the Sundance Film Festival, with a series of short films entitled Green Porno, which she wrote and co-directed with Jody Shapiro. Rossellini has written three books, the most recent In the name of the Father, the Daughter and the Holy Spirits: Remembering Roberto Rossellini.

Levels of Nothingness is made possible by Deutsche Bank and the
Colección/Fundación Jumex. Additional support is provided by the Mexican
Cultural Institute and the German Consulate General in New York.

For more information, email info@worksandprocess.org.

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