Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Pulse Topology

The Bentway

October 2–31, 2021
October 6, 2021

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An immersive public art installation under Toronto's Gardiner Expressway.

The Bentway and Exhibition Place announce the Canadian premiere of Pulse Topology, a stunning interactive light and sound art installation by Mexican-Canadian media artist, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (running October 2 to 31).

Marking The Bentway’s inaugural collaboration with neighbouring Exhibition Place, Lozano-Hemmer’s artwork will take over a massive, enclosed storage chamber nestled beneath Toronto's Gardiner Expressway, inviting the public to discover a striking, industrial part of the city for the first time. 

An array of 3,000 lights will create a landscape of upside-down mountains and valleys suspended from the interior of the space and, using touchless biometric technology, will react in real-time to the pulse of visitors’ heartbeats. The artwork will change and evolve with every visit, offering a unique sensory experience. 

“This project is a continuation of The Bentway’s growing movement to explore the many possibilities of the Gardiner,” explains Ilana Altman, Co-Executive Director of The Bentway. “For one month, beneath the artery of the Expressway, Rafael’s work will demonstrate the city’s shared agilities, imaginations, and ambitions for the future of Toronto’s infrastructure.”

“Pulse Topology offers a visualization of human vital signs after a time of social-distancing and mourning,” says artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. “The piece consists of a labyrinth of lights and speakers reacting to the pulse of participants, creating a connective, immersive experience from individual biometrics, reminding us that we are not alone. The work is a memento mori, celebrating our fleeting existence.”

“The vision of Exhibition Place is to serve as the ‘Gathering Place’ for the city,” says Don Boyle, CEO of Exhibition Place. “In presenting Pulse Topology with The Bentway, this community building effort is shared by the ethos of the project and the way it brings people together. Leveraging The Bentway’s expertise in delivering public art, we hope to reveal to Torontonians a new side to Exhibition Place, truly one of Toronto’s treasures.”

Mental health and wellbeing has been top of mind over the past year. Through a partnership with CAMH (the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health), The Bentway and Exhibition Place will invite health care workers from across the city to experience Pulse Topology, honouring their work by adding their heartbeats to this collective project, and celebrating the ways public art can improve overall health and wellbeing. 

About Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is a media artist who resides in Montreal and works at the intersection of architecture and performance art. As audiences interact with his work, their participation is recorded and added to a collection that plays back in real-time, creating a collective portrait of a community. Pulse Topology is the culmination of his series of interactive installations that have been presented around the world, including the Venice Biennale, the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC, MONA Museum in Australia, the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal and MUAC Museum in Mexico City. 

Hours: Tuesday–Friday 5–10pm, Saturday–Sunday noon–10pm

In the spirit of accessibility, tickets are pay-what-you-can (PWYC) with a suggested contribution of 5 CAD and no minimum fee. 

Pre-registration is required. Tickets will be released in two waves: September 14 (for viewings scheduled October 2–16) / October 5 (for for viewings scheduled October 17–31).

Visit thebentway.ca to book a time slot.