Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Pulse Room, 2006.
In the Hirshhorn’s largest interactive technology exhibition to date, three major installations from Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Pulse series will come together for the artist’s DC debut. A Mexican Canadian artist known for straddling the line between art, technology, and design, Lozano-Hemmer will fill the Museum’s entire Second Level with immersive environments that use heart-rate sensors to create kinetic and audiovisual experiences from visitors’ own biometric data. Over the course of six months, Pulse will animate the vital signs of hundreds of thousands of participants.
With Lozano-Hemmer’s trademark sensitivities to audience engagement and architectural scale, each installation captures biometric signatures and visualizes them as repetitive sequences of flashing lights, panning soundscapes, rippling waves, and animated fingerprints. These intimate “portraits,” or “snapshots,” of electrical activity are 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 constitutes a new way of representing both anonymity and community.
(Photo courtesy of Oliver Santana.)