Posted On: October 24, 2008

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Pulse Park

Photo: James Ewing

The Madison Square Park Conservancy’s Mad. Sq. Art program presents Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Pulse Park, an interactive light installation that will be viewable from dusk until 10:00 p.m. nightly in Madison Square Park, located between Madison and Fifth Avenues, and 23rd and 26th Streets in Manhattan. Visitors’ heart rates will be monitored by a heart rate sensor sculpture, and will activate two hundred theatrical spotlights, creating a pulsating matrix of light across the central Oval Lawn of the historic park.

Pulse Park marks the U.S. public art debut of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. In Pulse Park, evening visitors to Madison Square Park will have their systolic and diastolic heart rates measured by a sensor sculpture installed at the South end of the Oval Lawn. These biometric rhythms are translated and projected as pulses of narrow-beam light that will move sequentially down row of spotlights placed along the perimeter of the lawn as each consecutive participant makes contact with the sensors. The result is a poetic expression of our vital signs, transforming the public space into a fleeting architecture of light and movement.


Pulse Park is inspired by Roberto Gavaldón film “Macario” (Mexico, 1960) in which the protagonist has a hunger-induced hallucination wherein individuals are represented by lit candles, as well as by the minimalist musical compositions of Conlon Nancarrow, Glenn Branca and Steve Riech. Pulse Park is the culmination of a series that Lozano-Hemmer debuted at the 2007 Venice Biennale with Pulse Room.

Since his emergence in the 1990s, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer has mixed the seemingly disparate fields of architecture, digital media, robotics, medical science, and performance art into spectacular public artworks; enormous temporary landscapes of light and rhythm that double as platforms for public participation.


Photos: James Ewing

About Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Born in 1967 in Mexico City and educated at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is one of the world’s preeminent practitioners of interactive public art. Since 1995, his series of “relational architecture” interventions have created platforms for participation that seek to interrupt the increasingly alienating and homogenized character of the global city.

Lozano-Hemmer’s work has been commissioned for events such as the Millennium Celebrations in Mexico City (1999); the Cultural Capital of Europe in Rotterdam (2001); the opening of the Basque Museum of Contemporary Arts Atrium (2002); the United Nations World Summit of Cities in Lyon (2003); the opening of the Yamaguchi Centre for Art and Media in Japan (2003); the Expansion of the European Union in Dublin (2004); the Asian Cultural

Co-operation Forum (2006); and the 40th Anniversary of the Tlatelolco Student Massacre in Mexico City (2008). His work has also been exhibited in over three-dozen countries around the world, including Biennials in Venice, Liverpool, Sydney, Shanghai, Havana, Seville, Seoul, and Istanbul. Concurrent with Pulse Park Lozano-Hemmer will present a new commissioned work titled Frequency and Volume at the Barbican Art Gallery, London, as well as the solo exhibition Arrays at Haunch of Venison London, followed in November by another major public work titled Under Scan in London’s Trafalgar Square.

Lozano-Hemmer is included in numerous private and public collections of contemporary art including the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Tate Collection in London; the Jumex collection in Mexico City; the MUSAC Museum in Castilla y León, Spain, the Cisneros Fontanals Foundation in Miami; and, the Daros Foundation in ZUrich. He has received a Golden Nica distinction from the Prix Ars Electronica in Austria and two BAFTA British Academy Awards for interactive art, among many other awards. Lozano-Hemmer has published his theoretical writing in prominent art and media publications such as Kunstforum (Germany), Leonardo (USA), Performance Research (UK), Telepolis (Germany), Archis (Netherlands) and Aztlán (USA).

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is represented by Haunch of Venison, bitforms gallery nyc, Galería OMR and Galerie Guy Bärtschi.

Mad. Sq. Art is provided by Founding Partners Agnes Gund and Anonymous. Substantial support is provided by Jill & Peter Kraus, Leucadia Foundation, and Henry Luce Foundation. Pulse Park is sponsored by Fundación Colección Jumex. Additional project support is provided by the Toby D. Lewis Trust, Haunch of Venison, bitforms gallery nyc, Galería OMR, Galerie Guy Bärtschi and the Speyer Family Foundation. This project is supported in part with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.


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