A unique public art installation was unveiled today at Christopher Columbus Park entitled “Pulse of the City.” The interactive art is on the sidewalk of Atlantic Avenue and encourages fitness by creating music based on the heartbeats of the people who approach it.
“This is a truly unique project that connects Boston’s residents and visitors to art in a whole new way,” Mayor Menino said in a statment. “’Pulse of the City’ encourages Bostonians to take a moment to slow down amidst the rush of the City and reconnect with themselves by literally listening to their own bodies. Most people only ever experience their heartbeat as a series of beeps and lines on a chart, but this creates a personal and creative expression of life.”
Boston is the first city to install “Pulse of the City.” In its normal state, the unit slowly pulses white light, inviting passersby towards it. When someone grabs the unit’s copper plated handles, the unit senses the person’s pulse and creates a slowly layering one-minute musical performance based on the elements of the heart rate. A ring of LED lights flash to accentuate the experience. Every eight heartbeats, a new musical instrument is layered into the performance. The music is different for and unique for each user.
Mayor Menino was joined by members of the Boston Transportation Department and the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics who worked on the project with lead designer George Zisiadis and Zebbler Studios, a Boston-based design firm that worked on the project. Zisiadis, a Harvard University graduate and interactive artist, created the concept for “Pulse of the City.”
The City plans to install five units at locations across the city, spread out across different neighborhoods and tied into areas with a connection to physical health and fitness. In addition to Christopher Columbus Park, units will be located in East Boston at Maverick Square, in front of the new East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, Dorchester at Ashmont Station, Longwood along the circle at Avenue Louis Pasteur and Roxbury in front of the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center .
Users are encouraged to try the devices after or even during exercise, as the higher the heart rate, the more interesting the musical performances become. The program is part of Mayor Menino’s “Boston Moves for Health” program. Each unit will be solar powered and connected to the City via the cellular network to provide valuable usage data. The project was funded from the City’s Streetscape Innovation Fund, a portion of the City of Boston’s Capital Budget intended to improve streetscapes. Recently, the Streetscape Innovation Fund has supported the pilot parklet program and City Hall To Go, the popular, food-truck inspired mobile government services truck.
Photos courtesy of City of Boston.