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Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, “Pulse Corniche,” 2015

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Video description

"Pulse Corniche" was an interactive canopy of powerful light beams projected into to the sky by robotic searchlights whose brightness and orientation was controlled by the heart-rate of visitors to the Abu Dhabi’s Corniche. People were free to participate by holding a sensor placed in the centre of the plaza that converted the electrical activity of their heart into a unique lighting sequence. The intensity and direction of the lights visualized the different biometric rhythms of each participant, in an urban scale, transforming the public space into a fleeting architecture of light and movement. When no one was participating, the matrix of lights showed the heart beat recordings of the last 5 people who tried the interface.
Despite the monumental size of the installation and its wide visibility, the project was not intended as a cathartic pre-programmed spectacle like a fireworks display or a son-et-lumière show. On the contrary, the piece was designed to attract constant, personal participation to create an immersive, intimate experience of glimmering light inside the plaza itself.
"Pulse Corniche" was inspired by Roberto Gavaldón's film "Macario" (Mexico, 1960) in which the protagonist has a hunger-induced hallucination wherein all individuals are represented by flickering candles in a cave. Pulse Corniche is part of a series of biometric artworks that Lozano-Hemmer debuted in 2006 with his installation "Pulse Room".

Added on 25 Aug 2016