World Premiere: Pulse Front: Relational Architecture 12

I just got this in my inbox at work and thought it look amazing – I’m really looking forward to this installation!!


Luminato Lights Up Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre with World Premiere of Pulse Front: Relational Architecture 12

Presented by TELUS

Epic light installation by Mexican-Canadian Artist
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer entirely controlled by the heart rate of passers-by

TORONTO (April 10, 2007) – Blending the intimate with the spectacular in one of Toronto’s best-loved, high-traffic public spaces, Luminato proudly announces the world premiere of Pulse Front: Relational Architecture 12, commissioned by and premiered at Luminato, curated by The Power Plant and co-produced with Harbourfront Centre and sponsored by TELUS. Pulse Front is a ground-breaking technical and artistic marvel developed by renowned electronic artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.

Nightly at dusk beginning 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 will be the largest ever produced and 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.

“I definitely consider this to be a signature item of Luminato,” said Janice Price, Luminato CEO. “Just imagine a mesmerizing matrix of moving light beams streaming above Harbourfront Centre, projected by 20 of the world’s most powerful searchlights and actually controlled by the presence of passers-by! This is certain to be among the most innovative and truly awe-inspiring programs within Luminato.”

Interactivity is achieved via 10 metal sculptures each 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.

“Pulse Front’s highly engaging and stunning merger of art and technology is sure to ignite a deep appreciation for creative innovation within Canadians,” said Dan Golberg, vice-president, Small Business, TELUS Business Solutions. “At TELUS, we believe that Canada’s future is built by young innovators and as such, we are committed to supporting initiatives such as the Luminato festival, in order to make a real difference in the lives of Ontarians. By taking a lead in business, culture, education, healthcare, sports and the community, TELUS will continue to make the future friendly for all Canadians. We are very proud to be a valued partner of the Luminato festival.”

Pulse Front is the creation of Mexican-Canadian electronic artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer who derived it from his interest in biometrics as input for non-linear dynamic artworks. Based out of Montreal, Lozano-Hemmer’s 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).

Curated by Director of The Power Plant Gregory Burke the installation is being presented in association with the summer exhibition Auto Emotion at the gallery. “Lozanno-Hemmer has been acclaimed around the world for his large scale interactive works he describes as anti-monuments. It is a dream come true to be able to realize such a work in Canada for the first time, and that is thanks to Luminato and TELUS. 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,” said Gregory Burke.

The beginnings of his series of works using heart readings as control was displayed in Mexico City in 2006 with the installation of “Pulse Room” wherein 100 incandescent light bulbs blinked to the recorded pulse of individual members of the public, thereby creating a mesmerizing interior environment.

Pulse Front, presented by TELUS at Luminato, is the newest iteration of Pulse Room, mounted on an urban scale. Pulse Front, as in other Lozano-Hemmer works, reverses the role of the art and the viewer as the piece reads the public’s participation, establishing a connection between the city and its inhabitants, between intimacy and scale. Pulse Front will be the world’s largest interactive installation produced to-date and makes its world premiere in Toronto during Luminato.

Pulse Front features 20 Syncrolite SX10K robotic searchlights, each with an SB10K magnetic ballast. This fixture is the brightest searchlight in the world, with a focusable beam, weather protection and very accurate servo motors that have reliable positioning repeatability, a crucial feature considering the control system will ensure that the light beams will never impact surrounding buildings or cross airport flight paths.

The searchlights will be placed on short scaffold towers and controlled by a DMX data signal coming from a central computer placed in a control room. The DMX signal will control the pan and tilt of the fixture for positioning, the venetian blind douser for intensity and the beam spread, which will be typically a “pencil” tight collimation.

Each of the 20 interface sculptures will be made with stainless steel, ground bolted if possible or ballasted, and contain the following elements: a Vernier dual cylinder heart rate sensor with a USB connection; a Mac mini computer hidden inside the base running custom-made software; and an ethernet connection leading to the main control room. When a person holds the sensor, the Mac Mini automatically detects the vital signs, and relays the data to a main computer via ethernet. The main computer converts this data into suitable DMX signals for the searchlights.

Pulse Front: Relational Architecture 12 is Luminato’s newest programming addition and a key signature of the inaugural festival. In addition, Luminato will feature more than 100 free and ticketed events across the city taking place June 1 – 10, 2007. Tickets for the inaugural Luminato Festival of Arts & Creativity go on sale Monday,
April 16 through Ticketmaster outlets ( For more information on both free and ticketed Luminato events including dates, locations and schedules visit

About Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer was born in Mexico City in 1967. In 1989 he received a B.Sc. in Physical Chemistry from Concordia University in Montréal, Canada. The Mexican-Canadian electronic artist develops large-scale interactive installations that are at the intersection of architecture and performance art. His main interest is in creating platforms for public participation, by perverting technologies such as robotics, computerized surveillance or telematic networks. Inspired by phantasmagoria, carnival and animatronics, his huge light and shadow works are “anti-monuments for alien agency”.

His works have been commissioned for the Millennium Celebrations in Mexico City (1999), the Cultural Capital of Europe in Rotterdam (2001), the United Nations’ World Summit of Cities in Lyon (2003), the opening of the Yamaguchi Centre for Art and Media in Japan (2003) and the Expansion of the European Union in Dublin (2004). Work in kinetic sculpture, responsive environments, video installation and photography has been shown in museums in four dozen countries and Biennials in Sydney (Australia), Liverpool (UK), Shanghai (China), Istanbul (Turkey) and Havana (Cuba). His work is in important private and public contemporary art collections such as the Daros-Latinamerica Collection in Zürich, the Jumex Collection in Mexico, the Speyer collection in New York, the Cisneros Fontanals Foundation in Miami and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. At the Prix Ars Electronica in Austria, his pieces have received a Golden Nica, a distinction and two honourable mentions. He also won two BAFTA British Academy Awards for Interactive Art in London, a distinction at the SFMOMA Webby Awards in San Francisco, “Artist of the year” at Wired Magazine’s Rave Awards, a Rockefeller fellowship, a Langlois Grant, the Trophée des Lumières in Lyon and an International Bauhaus Award in Dessau, Germany, among others. Lozano-Hemmer will represent Mexico at the Venice Biennale 2007. Visit


3 Responses to World Premiere: Pulse Front: Relational Architecture 12

  1. Jeff says:

    where can i buy ticket insurance for my tickets? Anyone know where its offered?

  2. Blair F says:

    I’m not sure what you mean by ticket insurance …

  3. […] Rafael Lozano-Hemmer at Harbourfront at last year’s Luminato festival. (Press release quoted here.) Wish I could see this up close. Thanks to the internet, at least I now know it […]

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