Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Please Empty Your Pockets


Werk - Please Empty Your Pockets
Artist / Artist group
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Please Empty Your Pockets
Edition / Serial number
6 + 1AP
Copy Number
computer-based, installation
Material / Technique
interactive computer-based installation; conveyor belt with electric motor on metal frame, technical eqipment: computer 1: Mac mini, operating system: OSX, software: Individual software, computer 2: Macbook Pro, operating system: OSX, software: custom software; further devices: 2 projectors, video camera, custom-made electronics
Dimensions / Duration
124 x 273 x 42 cm, installation dimensions variable
ZKM | Center for Art and Media

The Installation »Please Empty Your Pockets« consists of a brightly lit conveyor belt and a computer-controlled scanner. Visitors can place objects they are carrying with them on the belt. The prompt to »please empty your pockets« and the scanner recall security checks at airports. Here in the museum, however, visitors can decide for themselves which personal items they would like to scan and thus reveal to the public.

Valuables such as purses, keys, headphones, or coins are placed on the conveyor belt and automatically transported under the scanner. When visitors remove the item from the conveyor belt on the other side of the scanner, the two-dimensional, scanned image of the item appears on it. The digital duplicate remains visible on the conveyor until it reaches the end of the belt. It subsequently disappears again, but may reappear as more items are scanned, combining real objects with ones previously scanned, which can partially overlap.

Since the installation’s inception, images of 600,000 objects have been stored in a database. In »Please Empty Your Pockets«, Mexican-Canadian media artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer has created a collective memory of the virtual traces of personal property.

Author: Hannah-Maria Winters

About the artist/s