Artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s exhibition Pulse Topology immerses us in one of the most essential human functions on the grandest scale; our heartbeat pulsing across 3000 lightbulbs. Visitors have a chance to become a piece of the art by holding their hands under a custom-made hanging sensor which then converts each individual’s specific heartbeat rhythm into pulsing lights and sounds. It brings what lays deep within us to the outside and is emblematic of Lozano-Hemmer’s work in which humans power the artistic experience. From now until December 4 guests can also see this concept displayed in the new fully electric BMW i7 sedan. A sensor inside the car also displays the passengers’ pulse showcasing the power of the human body.
During the opening event on November 28, Lozano-Hemmer described the experience of hearing his twin babies’ heartbeats during an ultrasound noticing that they were different. This set the stage for further discovery of how science and technology could be displayed into art with the viewer completing the experience. The newest iteration of this exploration can be seen at Miami’s Superblue, in which guests walk under an array of undulating lights. It’s a shared experience with the option to witness their own heartbeat to personalize the experience and capture something we rarely hear in the open. “Technology can be used poetically, critically and thoughtfully,” says Lozano-Hemmer.
We rarely think of cars as hubs for creativity but Lozano-Hemmer’s partnership with BMW and his work on their newest model, the BMW i7 sedan may dispel that notion. While seated in the backseat, passengers can view their heartbeats on screen in a syncopated acoustic beat and visual display. “You have a beautiful stage inside the car and when you join as a passenger, it completes the experience,” says Lozano-Hemmer. The experience is powered by the car’s camera, Bluetooth audio and HDMI output for graphics, which the artist considers a “playground for nerds like himself.”
From now until December 4, guests have a chance to step inside the new vehicle and experience these features themselves. While the car includes innovative technology created in collaboration with Lozano-Hemmer, it also embodies the brand’s forward thinking with the model being fully electric and with plans that all of their cars will be fully electric in the near future. Notably, Lozano-Hemmer’s three teenage children who are environmental advocates initially weren’t thrilled that their father was partnering with an automotive brand, but changed their minds when they found out it’s to introduce a new electric car.
During Miami Art Week there’s no shortage of pieces to see, but not that many allow you, the viewer, to become a fundamental source of the experience. As such, Lozano-Hemmer also sees himself as not just an artist but also a theater director of sorts orchestrating the various elements of engineering, music and programming, and most importantly you, to bring is work to life. Human connection and collaboration are an important inspiration for him.
With Pulse Topology artist Lozano-Hemmer intersects art, technology, science and the human body in an immersive, illuminating display. Make sure to visit (the exhibition runs until August 2023, while the BMW experience concludes this week) to bathe in a wave of lights and sounds, and check in with something you couldn’t live without but rarely think about — your heartbeat.