If we told you that today’s story was about love and magic, the cynic in you would roll your eyes and scoff.
But if we were to say it’s about someone who gave a TED talk, got a Burning Man Honorarium Art Grant this year, and is on her way to harnessing the everyday magic of our lives with technology, we’ve got your attention, right?
Lean closer, dear reader, lean closer.
Say hello to Shilo Shiv Suleman – you probably already follow her pretty Instagram feed – the main driver behind Pulse and Bloom, “an interactive and social art installation” that was set up with the help of a talented team at the popular Burning Man music festival in Nevada earlier this year (see the awesome video here). Although it’s her most recent public work, we had to excavate it out from a pile of stories about fairies, love, heart beats, emotions that came up in conversation.
“When you place your hand on the lotus, the stem and the flower start to beat according to the rhythm of your heart. When more than one person does it, the stem starts to pulse with each person's heartbeat, making it possible to watch how heart rates of different people in intimate spaces start to beat in sync,” she explains.
Twenty five year old Shilo explains to us how she used art to create one of the largest biofeedback installations of its kind, with the help of an urban designer, technology entrepreneurs and a neuro technologist.
Pulse and Bloom consists of 20 lotuses of varying heights with pulse sensors and LED lights mounted on the stem. “When you place your hand on the lotus, the stem and the flower start to beat according to the rhythm of your heart. When more than one person does it, the stem starts to pulse with each person's heartbeat, making it possible to watch how heart rates of different people in intimate spaces start to beat in sync,” she explains.
If you went to any of the NH7 Weekenders this month, chances are you would’ve passed these giant lotuses on your way to a stage. There, it was interesting to see how people reacted to the lotuses, Shilo tells us. “The minute one person touched it and discovered what it did, there was a crowd of people trying to do the same thing. Some were hesitant initially, but once they discovered the interactive element, they were more open to the experience. We need to see more magic in our lives.”
Currently busy with Pulse & Bloom tours across the country, (you’ll spot the installation next at Magnetic Fields festival), Shilo is also working on a 3D mural based on Buddhist philosophy and brainwave patterns of meditating monks outside the Dalai Lama’s temple. How very Inception like.
They also have a few openings on their schedule this year, so if you know of a cool event or festival you want the giant flowers to be at, see Shilo’s email details below. Maybe if you ask nicely they could even bring the beating lotuses to your private party or wedding? Take a poll(en)!
Fantasy Land: Shilo’s Ideas For Mumbai
Let Shilo and her imagination run wild in Mumbai and you would see art projects at CST that need your energy and caves that light up with your breathing. See her ideas below:
A motion sensor generated installation at CST: It would be fascinating to create an art projection at this over crowded station that would light up and run solely on the basis of the motion and energy it picks up.
An interactive art model at Gateway of India: Gateway has always seen a great cross section of the city. There are people from all walks of life who either congregate at or pass by the location everyday. I’d love to create a model that’s synergistic to all those emotions, feelings and the history of the space.
A mood and breath based mechanism at Elephanta Caves: Almost everyone in the city has forgotten about the beautiful caves at Elephanta. I’d like to create an installation that reacts to a person’s mood and breathing patterns in the cave, to light up the space.
A hipster sensor in Bandra: It would be really fun to create a hipster sensor that would react, make a noise, change colour, or even light up, whenever a hipster passed by!
Getting There: The Pulse & Bloom installation is currently open to touring across India. Know of a fun event/ festival they could be a part of? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to set it up. View their Facebook page here, website here.
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