33 Questions per Minute

Relational Architecture 5

"33 Questions Per Minute" (Relational Architecture 5) consists of a computer program which uses grammatical rules to combine words from a dictionary and generate 4.7 trillion unique, fortuitous questions. The automated questions are presented at a rate of 33 per minute—the threshold of legibility. The system will take over 271,000 years to ask all possible questions.

This piece is loosely based on the long tradition of automatic poetry; it is full of anti-content. It attempts to underline our incapability to respond, faced with an electronic landscape made up of demands for attention. The piece provides useless and slightly frustrating machine irony; tireless grammatical algorithms perform a romantic and futile attempt to pose questions that have never been asked.

The effect of the installation is destabilizing due to its speed. The rhythm of questions excludes any rational answer. 33 questions a minute is the threshold of legibility: there is no time for reflection. The majority of the automatic questions are absurd: “Will you bleed in an orderly fashion?”; “Is the creator always being born?”; “Do I snip the marriage bed without rhyme or reason?” Sometimes, this surreal wordplay turns up poignant questions that do have meaning within the context in which they are exhibited: “Who bribes the artist?”; “Why did computers become so self-congratulatory?”

The piece exists in Spanish (made for the Havana Biennial), English (made for the Istanbul Biennial), German (made for the Postdamerplatz Realities United Spots media façade), and French (made for the first exhibition of the piece in Montreal at the Musée d’art contemporain).

General info

Spanish name:
33 Preguntas por Minuto
French name:
33 questions par minute
Year of creation:

LCD displays

21 LCD displays, computer, communication interface, keyboard
At least 3 m wide wall
5 Editions, 1 AP
Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Museum of Modern Art, Vancouver Art Gallery and private collectors


Depending on the screen, should need around 250W on 110-240V
Should have a projection surface larger than 6 x 3 m
1 Edition, 1 AP
Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal



  • Concept and Direction: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
  • Programming: Conroy Badger and Guillaume Tremblay
  • Production Assistance (Spanish version): Will Bauer, Ana Parga, María Velarde Torres, Luis Jiménez-Carlés, Luis Parga and Gabriela Raventós
  • Production Assistance (English version): Rebecca MacSween
  • Production Assistance (German version): Stephan Klinger, Sakrowski and Till Braband
  • Production Assistance (French version): Elizabeth Marshman and François Letourneux