Let there be light (May 01, 2007)

Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre hosts the world premiere of Pulse Front: Relational Architecture 1, a ground-breaking marvel developed by Mexican-Canadian electronic artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. Blending the intimate with the spectacular, the event – commissioned by and part of the Luminato Festival of Arts & Creativity – is curated by the Power Plant, co-produced with Harbourfront Centre and sponsored by Telus.

Nightly at dusk, from May 31 through June 10, Pulse Front will illuminate the skies over Harbourfront Centre with 200,000 watts of power projecting light beams visible from 15 km away. The installation is designed to elicit constant, personal interaction through an ever-evolving parade of interactive light sculptures – all generated by the heart rate of on-site participants. Interactivity is achieved via 10 metal sculptures embedded with biometric sensors positioned along the waterfront. These sculptures will be able to detect the pulse of participants by touch, sensing individual systolic and diastolic readings that will be immediately converted into pulses that determine the orientation of the light beams. All 20 robotic searchlights will simultaneously project beams creating an ever-changing matrix of illuminations that will transform the visual landscape of Toronto’s waterfront.

Lozano-Hemmer derived Pulse Front from his interest in biometrics as input for non-linear dynamic artworks. Based out of Montreal, his large-scale interactive public installations have been commissioned for events around the world including Millennium Celebrations in Mexico City (1999), the United Nations’ World Summit of Cities in Lyon (2003) and the Expansion of the European Union in Dublin (2004).

Pulse Front is presented in association with the summer exhibition Auto Emotion at the Power Plant gallery. “Lozanno-Hemmer has been acclaimed around the world for his large-scale interactive works he describes as anti-monuments,” says Power Plant director Gregory Burke. “It’s a dream come true to be able to realize such a work in Canada for the first time. With Pulse Front the heartbeats of participants will become luminous autographs projected into the sky, based on cardiograph readings that record changes in physical and emotional states.”