HeartBeat

The third work from Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Pulse series, the Pulse Room (2006) rounded out the exhibition, featuring hundreds of clear, incandescent light bulbs hanging from the ceiling in even rows, pulsing with the heartbeats of past visitors. Visitors could add their heartbeat to the installation by touching a sensor, which transmitted the pulse to the first bulb. Additional heartbeats continued to register on the first bulb, advancing earlier recordings ahead one bulb at a time. The sound of the collected heartbeats joined the light display to amplify the physical impact of the installation.

(More about the artist and his works in the last two posts).

Pulse was on view at The Hirshhorn from November 2018 to April 2019.

March 18th, 2019

WaveLength

The second work from Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Pulse series, Pulse Tank (2008), which premiered at Prospect.1, New Orleans Biennial, was updated and expanded for the exhibition at the Hirshhorn. Sensors turned viewers’ pulse into ripples on illuminated water tanks, creating ever-changing patterns that were reflected on the gallery walls.

(More about the artist and his works in yesterday’s post).

Pulse was on view at The Hirshhorn from November 2018 to April 2019.

March 18th, 2019

The Pulse of a Shadow

Playing with Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s artwork.

In the Hirshhorn’s largest interactive technology exhibition to date, three major installations from Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Pulse series came together for the artist’s DC debut. A Mexican Canadian artist known for straddling the line between art, technology, and design, Lozano-Hemmer filled the Museum’s entire Second Level with immersive environments that used heart-rate sensors to create kinetic and audiovisual experiences from visitors’ own biometric data. Over the course of six months, Pulse animated the vital signs of hundreds of thousands of participants.

With Lozano-Hemmer’s trademark sensitivities to audience engagement and architectural scale, each installation captured biometric signatures and visualized them as repetitive sequences of flashing lights, panning soundscapes, rippling waves, and animated fingerprints. These intimate “portraits,” or “snapshots,” of electrical activity were then added to a live archive of prior recordings to create an environment of syncopated rhythms. At a time when biometry is increasingly used for identification and control, this data constituted a new way of representing both anonymity and community.

The exhibition began with Pulse Index (2010), which was presented at its largest scale to date. The work recorded participants’ fingerprints at the same time that it detected their heart rates, displaying data from the last 10,000 users on a scaled grid of massive projections. 

Pulse was on view at The Hirshhorn from November 2018 to April 2019.

March 18th, 2019