Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art announces “Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Pulse Topology”

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art announces “Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Pulse Topology”

Activated by visitor heartbeats, a new immersive installation by internationally-renowned artist will debut in Kansas City this June.  

KANSAS CITY, MO—Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is pleased to announce its next major exhibition: an immersive light and sound environment by Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (born 1967). An internationally recognized media artist working at the intersection of architecture, technology, and performance, Lozano-Hemmer creates platforms for public participation and explores themes of agency, human connection, and civic engagement in his work. “Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Pulse Topology” will be on view from June 10–October 24, 2021.

“Pulse Topology” is a site-specific project that features an upside-down canopy of mountains and valleys made from thousands of suspended light bulbs that mirror the pulse of visitor participants. The immersive environment highlights the basic but essential biological element—the heartbeat—shared amongst us all. Presented for the first time at Kemper Museum, Pulse Topology is the latest work in Lozano-Hemmer’s Pulse series, comprised of projects that use heart-rate sensors to create interactive audiovisual experiences from participants’ biometric data.

For the first time in the “Pulse” series, Lozano-Hemmer will integrate breakthrough touchless remote photoplethysmography (PPG) technology that uses computer vision algorithms to optically detect heartbeats. 

In place of incandescent bulbs which have been used in Lozano-Hemmer’s previous works, “Pulse Topology” is powered by LED filament light bulbs. Decreasing the energy required to power the installation has allowed Lozano-Hemmer to significantly increase the scale of the project: while previous installations have included 100–300 lightbulbs, “Pulse Topology” uses 3,000.

“It is an honor to work with Rafael and his studio team on this significant project that resonates with our present moment in many meaningful ways,” said Erin Dziedzic, director of curatorial affairs at Kemper Museum. “The exhibition celebrates being together again in public space with the relevant consideration of Rafael’s innovative use of technology that does not require visitors to touch anything to participate—a mindful response to the global pandemic. Rafael has the keen ability to create a poetic and profound experience of visualizing and listening to one another’s heartbeats while taking up issues of science, technology, landscape, and architecture—highlighting the role artists play in responding thoughtfully to the times in which they work.”

Many areas of the museum have created programs to enliven the themes of the exhibition including virtual programs, self-guided activities and take-home art kits for youth and families, dishes inspired by the exhibition created by Café Sebastienne’s Chef Rick Mullins, and the release of limited-edition and special merchandise related to the exhibition, available in the Museum Shop.

This exhibition is organized by Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and curated by Erin Dziedzic, director of curatorial affairs at Kemper Museum.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (born Mexico City, 1967) is an artist based in Montreal, Canada, where he earned a B.Sc. in Physical Chemistry from Concordia University and now directs Antimodular Research studio. He was the first artist to represent Mexico at the Venice Biennale in 2007, and has had solo exhibitions at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C., MUAC Museum in Mexico City, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. His work is in many respected collections including MoMA, Guggenheim, Museo del Barrio in New York, the Tate and Science Museum in London, CIFO in Miami, Jumex and MUAC in Mexico City, SFMOMA in San Francisco and others. Lozano-Hemmer was recently appointed to the board of directors for New York’s Public Art Fund and was given the Governor General's award in Canada. | @lozanohemmer


Located in Kansas City, MO, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art exhibits, collects, and educates in a free and welcoming environment for all. The museum’s growing Permanent Collection aims to reflect the vitality, complexity, and unfolding patterns within modern and contemporary art and culture. Special exhibitions, installations, lectures, and workshops, as well as youth, teen, and intergenerational programs provide resources for communities to engage with the issues of our time, derive inspiration, discover outlets for self-expression and dialogue, learn directly from living artists, and bring deeper meaning to their lives through modern and contemporary art. Admission, programs, and parking are always free. | @kempermuseum

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