Scharff Weisberg helped The Madison Square Park Conservancy’s Mad. Sq. Art program take the pulse of the city with extensive lighting support for conceptual artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Pulse Park interactive lighting installation.
Pulse Park marks the US public art debut of the artist, one of the world’s preeminent practitioners of interactive public art, who was born in Mexico City and educated in Canada. It is viewable nightly, October 24 – November 17, from dusk to 10 pm in Madison Square Park, located between Madison and Fifth Avenues and 23rd and 26th streets. Visitors entering the park between those hours have their heart rates monitored by two heart-rate sensor sculptures, which activate 200 theatrical spotlights, creating a pulsating matrix of light across the central Oval Lawn of the historic location.
“Scharff Weisberg has been absolutely indispensable in the production of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Pulse Park, one of our most successful public art installations to date,” says Samuel Rauch, art coordinator at the Madison Square Park Conservancy. “From their unparalleled technical expertise and their ability to quickly adapt to changing circumstances, to their hard work and consummate professionalism, working with Scharff Weisberg is a producer’s dream.”
Scharff Weisberg installed 200 750-watt ellipsoidal spots bordering the eastern and western perimeters of the central lawn. “The lights are triggered by two hand sensors located on a pedestal at the south end of the lawn,” explains Scharff Weisberg event manager Tony Rossello. “When a visitor grabs the sensors with each hand, they record his heartbeat. The lights pulse to the recorded heartbeat all at once, then go dark momentarily, then the heartbeat pulse appears on the first instrument to the left of the pedestal. Subsequently, each instrument in the chain will pulse to the recorded heartbeats of the last 199 visitors; it begins clearing recorded heartbeats with the 201st visitor as the chain evolves with heartbeats of newcomers to the installation.”
When visitors’ biometric rhythms are translated and projected as pulses of narrow-beam light moving sequentially down the rows of spotlights, the result is a poetic expression of their vital signs which transforms the park into a fleeting architecture of light and movement. Pulse Park is the culmination of a series that Lozano-Hemmer debuted at the 2007 Venice Biennale with Pulse Room.
“We are very happy to have had the opportunity to work with Scharff Weisberg on Pulse Park, and we’re looking forward to future collaborations,” reports Samuel Rauch.
Scharff Weisberg and Video Applications, firms with extensive histories in the presentation and staging markets, recently announced a co-ownership agreement. While continuing to operate independently, the two companies work together strategically to provide clients with state-of-the-art audio, video and lighting equipment and services. With a strong presence on both coasts, Scharff Weisberg and Video Applications are able to deliver a large array of cost-effective services on a national level. For more information, call 212-582-2345 or visit our website at
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