Pulse Corniche | Abu Dhabi

“I can imagine ­becoming emotional if we can get migrant workers to participate in the piece, as I think it is critical that they feel included in the city” Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

The skies over the Abu Dhabi Corniche were lit up for ten consecutive days earlier this month as the nineteenth light themed exhibit of the ‘Seeing Through Light‘ Exhibition from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi illuminated the capital.



Mexican-Canadian Artist  Rafael Lozano-Hemmer brought his Pulse Corniche exhibit to the capital (source:www.thenational.ae)

Pulse Corniche by Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer projected a series of powerful light beams into the capital’s sky using robotic searchlights that could be seen from a distance of up to fifteen kilometres. Positioning and brightness of the beams were controlled by the heart-rate of the exhibit’s visitors who were required to hold a sensor that converted the electrical activity of their heart beat into an individual sequence of light. This unique and free interactive artwork was the culmination of a series that made it debut as Pulse Room back in 2007 at the Venice Biennale (biannual art exhibition).

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi

As I’ve mentioned before I do not profess to know anything about art, in fact I find some of it quite confusing but what I liked about this exhibit was its inclusive element. Taking place in an accessible public space it encouraged anyone regardless of age, gender, nationality or class to visit and get involved in a free interactive community art project, displaying their individual biometrics into the skies above. I witnessed the series of lights on two separate occasions and it certainly seemed to be popular as a criss-cross pattern of light beams appeared above the city’s skyline.

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi

In a recent interview, Lozano-Hemmer explained that in Pulse Room, the heartbeat of participants controlled hundreds of incandescent light bulbs hanging from the ceiling of an old abandoned factory in the Mexican City of Puebla. He then developed many subsequent pieces where ­participants’ heartbeats controlled theatrical lighting, ripple tanks, chandeliers and water hoses. For Pulse Corniche he decided to work with powerful robotic searchlights. The lights’ brightness and position are entirely controlled by the pulse of participants, creating unique patterns in the sky (via The National).

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi

This exhibit and the eighteen artworks that are on display at Manarat Al Saadiyat are part of the pre-opening exhibition of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. The ‘Seeing through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection‘ pieces portray light interpreted through different mediums whether natural or artificial, directed or reflected, interior or exterior, transcendent or celestial. Originally due to finish on 19th January, the exhibition, which is free to enter, has been extended until March 26th 2015 so still plenty of time to visit.


Seeing Through Light is a great exhibit to visit with friends, family and visitors and I recently paid my second visit with the teenager and it was her idea! Why not sit and relax in the gallery’s glass fronted stylist FANR restaurant after visiting the exhibition. I can recommend the good coffee and the carrot cake too (there’s a camel burger for those who fancy a taste from the region or should that be a taste of the region?) and the alfresco dining terrace is just perfect at this time of year. Read all about the Seeing Through Light exhibition in my previous post here


The modern glass fronted FANR restaurant at Manarat Al Saadiyat (source:www.fanrrestaurant.ae)IMG_8695The teenager and I dined alfresco on the Arabian themed terrace

Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2015. All rights reserved. The photos of Pulse Corniche are courtesy of www.lozano-hemmer.com as mine were all so awful!

2 thoughts on “Pulse Corniche | Abu Dhabi

    1. Hi Gina it was an amazing idea and the whole Guggenheim Seeing Through Light exhibition is very cool 😉 the cafe is rather nice too x

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