A new art installation recently unveiled in Madison Square Park has even the most jaded of New Yorkers pumped up. NY1's Stephanie Simon filed the following report.
Hearts were racing Monday night as artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer unveiled his new work of art at Madison Square Park.
"It's an interactive installation featuring 200 theatrical spotlights that are pointed in the central oval lawn of the Madison Square Park and they are entirely controlled by the heart rates of those passing by," said Lozano-Hemmer. "People can walk into the installation and hold onto sensors that are very similar to what you might see at a gym machine, you know, just tells your heart rate, and then the computer converts that heart rate into an actual pulse of light."
The work is called Pulse Park. The artist said he was inspired by his wife's pregnancy.
"My wife was pregnant with twins and we could hear both of them, the boy and the girl, at the same time," explained Lozano-Hemmer. "And we heard that they were very different, and they made sort of music together. So we thought, what would happen if we expanded this concept to a very large scale with 200 heart beats at the same time, and create a concert of everybody's heartbeat."
As people lined up to hold the sensors, their pulses quickened with excitement.
"The people around here have to have a very nice view of all these heartbeats every night," said one New Yorker. "So that's a nice thing here in New York."
"It's awesome," said another. "It's a very good idea."
"I think it's fabulous," said a third. "What can I say, the heart of everybody here, New York, the heart of the world."
So when people have their hands on the sensors, their heartbeat is controlling the lights. But even after they let go, they still continue to impact the work for another hour and a half. That's because the sensor is released before the next person's heart beat takes over.
The 200 most recent heartbeats pulse through the 200 light bulbs.
"I've been seeing some people running around the park and then trying it and others are like meditating and then trying to bring their heart rates to quite low to sort of get different effects," said the artist. "It's kind of fun."
There's art that makes your heart beat and heart beats that make the art. Pulse Park will glow from dusk until 10 p.m., now until November 17th.