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LuminaTO To Light Up Night Sky

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer describes his works as "antimonuments for alien agency" and while I'm not sure what that means, his installation "Pulse Front: Relational Architecture 12" for LuminaTO, is more about integration with the city than alienation.

The Mexican-Canadian artist's light installations, of which "Pulse Front" will be the latest and largest, include a strong element of audience participation. People attending the harbourfront installation will have a hand in creating the massive display for the rest of the city. "Pulse Front" will have 20 onsite handlebar computer gizmos that people can grab onto and have their pulses reflected in one of 20 corresponding searchlights streaming above Harbourfront centre. The lights will pulse, shooting out rays at varying intensities that correspond to the pulse of whoever is holding the handlebars.

It's not the first time Lozano-Hemmer has put the audience in control of his work. During Mexico city's millennium celebrations, he allowed internet users to plot different paths for light beams to crisscross each other in the night sky. Another installation "Pulse Room", contained a chamber with 100 or so light bulbs on the ceiling hooked up to the same handlebar computer gizmo. Each time someone grabbed the bars, one of the lights began to blink in unison with the beat of their heart. In a short video demonstration of this project, Lozano-Hemmer, showed himself gripping the bars, followed by an old lady with a much softer pulse, followed by the artist's raver friend, whose corresponding light bulb seemed to boom off and on. With all of the lights lit up, blinking in accordance with specific people, the display was actually kind of moving.

Toronto audiences can expect a combination of the grandeur of his Mexico City work, and his more intimate installations when Lozano-Hemmer brings "Pulse Front" to the city. Come June 1 when the LuminaTO festival opens, let's all get loaded on Red Bull and get those lights booming.


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