Please Empty Your Pockets

A conveyor belt that records everything that travels along it, 2010

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (CA)

07.08.15 – 01.11.15

Please Empty Your Pockets

Please Empty Your Pockets is an installation that consists of a conveyor belt with a computerised scanner that records and accumulates everything that passes under it. Reminiscent of an airport security scanner, visitors may place any small item on the conveyor belt, like keys, ID cards, wallets, worry beads, notepads, phones, coins, dolls and condoms. Once they pass under the scanner, the objects reappear on the other side of the conveyor belt beside projected objects from the memory of the installation.

As a real item is removed from the conveyor belt, it leaves behind a projected image of itself, which is then used to accompany future objects. The piece remembers up to 600,000 objects which are displayed beside new ones that are added to the installation. The piece intends to blend presence and absence using traditional techniques of augmented reality, combining real objects with the traces they leave.


Rafael Lozano-Hemmer was born in Mexico City in 1967. He is a faculty associate of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. He develops interactive installations that are at the intersection of architecture and performance art. His main interest is in creating platforms for public participation, by perverting technologies such as robotics, computerised surveillance or telematic networks. Recently the subject of solo exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Fundación Telefónica in Buenos Aires and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, he was the first artist to officially represent Mexico at the Venice Biennale with a solo exhibition at Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel in 2007. He has received two BAFTA British Academy Awards for Interactive Art in London, a Golden Nica at the Prix Ars Electronica in Austria, Artist of the Year Rave Award from Wired Magazine, a Rockefeller fellowship, the Trophée des Lumières in Lyon and an International Bauhaus Award in Dessau.

Q and A

What is your favourite dark corner of the internet?

This information has been withheld.

What are the geographic coordinates of your favourite secret place?

The artists preferred to not reveal this location to us.

What kinds of private information do you think will be valuable in 2050?

Details of the artists' insight in relation to this this question have not been discovered.