Pulse Index

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (MX/CA)
Installation, 2010

Pulse Index is a biometric installation that records participant fingerprints at the same time as their heart rates. The piece displays data for the last 10,925 participants in a stepped display, that creates a spiral room of skin.

To participate, visitors place their finger into a custommade sensor equipped with a digital microscope and a pulsimeter. Their fingerprint immediately appears on the largest cell of the display, pulsating to their heartbeat. As more visitors try the piece, one’s own recording travels sideways and is reduced in size until it disappears altogether — a kind of memento mori.


About the artist: 

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is a Mexican-Canadian electronic artist who works with ideas from architecture, technological theatre and performance. Pulse Index is an architectural rendering of our similarities and differences. By assembling a vast number of individual biometric portraits to create a crowd sourced exhibit, Pulse Index aggregates a single biometric reading typically used for identification purposes into a massive array.