The Power Plant

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Pulse Front

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Past Exhibition

May 31 – Jun 09 2007


Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Pulse Front (Relational Architecture 12), 2007. Courtesy of the artist




Gregory Burke


Harbourfront Centre



The Power Plant is delighted to be working with Luminato, Toronto's new Festival of Arts and Creativity, TELUS and Harbourfront Centre to present Pulse Front (Relational Architecture 12) by Montreal-based artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.

Lozano-Hemmer is internationally known for his large-scale interactive installations that operate at the intersection of architecture and performance art. Interested in creating platforms for public participation, Lozano-Hemmer perverts technologies such as robotics, computerized surveillance or telematic networks. His huge light and shadow works have been commissioned for public spaces in Mexico City (1999), Rotterdam (2001), Lyon (2003), Japan (2003), and Dublin (2004). Pulse Front is Lozano-Hemmer's first major light sculpture to be exhibited in Canada.

Pulse Front features a matrix of light over The Power Plant and Harbourfront Centre, made with light beams from twenty of the world's most powerful robotic searchlights. The installation is entirely controlled by sensors that measure the heart rates of passersby. Ten metal sculptures with embedded sensors and computers are placed along the harbour where they detect the pulses of people who hold them and convert them into light pulses. Computers also determine the orientation of the beams, recording changes in participants' physical and emotional states. The resulting effect is a visualization of vital signs, arguably our most symbolic biometric, in an urban scale.

Curated by The Power Plant's director, Gregory Burke, the installation is presented in association with the exhibition Auto Emotion: Autobiography, emotion and self-fashioning. With 200,000 watts of power and fifteen kilometres of visibility the work intends to blend the intimate with the spectacular in one of the most emblematic public spaces in Toronto. Despite the installation's monumental size and its wide visibility, Pulse Front is not a cathartic preprogrammed spectacle such as a fireworks display or a son-et-lumière show. On the contrary, it is designed to attract constant, personal participation in an ever-evolving parade of light sculptures generated by people.

About the Artist

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer was born in Mexico City in 1967.