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PRINT November 2003

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Brian Massumi on Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Amodal Suspension

"A MESSAGE FOR YOU is floating in the sky of Yamaguchi.” Beginning on November 1—in conjunction with the opening of the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media, Japan—thousands of people around the world will receive this alert by cell phone or e-mail, kicking off Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s installation Amodal Suspension (Relational Architecture 8), which runs through November 24. The message will in fact be waiting for them, suspended in the night sky over this city in southern Japan—waiting and flashing, like the seductively illegible signals that Japan’s most popular winged insect, the lightning bug, uses to find mates for coupling. Yamaguchi is, after all, the self-declared firefly capital of the country, dedicating a major yearly festival to the bug. At first sight, the light signals that Amodal Suspension is to send pulsing into the sky will be just as illegible as the insect variety, but

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