Pulse and Bloom

Pulse and Bloom is an interactive art installation that visualizes the heartbeats of participants with the hope of syncing human heartbeats in a rhythmic pattern
It consists of 20 lotuses with pulse sensors mounted on the stem, and so when you place your hand upon the lotus, the flower in the sky starts to beat with you heart. 

Furthermore, when more than one person places their hand upon the flower, the stem starts to pulse with both heartbeats, making it possible to watch how heart rates of people in intimate spaces start to beat in sync, much like fireflies flashing in patterns. 

Pulse and Bloom received the Burning Man Honorarium Art Grant in 2014 and has been featured in a host of international press (BBC, NBC, TechCrunch, The Guardian and more)

Saba Ghole, an Architect and interdisciplinary wizard who spends her days weaving together cutting edge technology with design and education for high school students.

Rohan Dixit, a neuroscientist turned entrepreneur who spent months wandering with brainwave readers and monks to create mindfulness technologies.

Luke Iseman, an Inventor living off-grid in shipping containers in Oakland who makes your gardens speak to you when they need love and care.

Heather Stewart, Crafter of metal, welding steel from Africa to the deserts of Burning Man and landlady of Shipping Container kingdoms.

Samuel Clay, Electronic Engineer who weaves tapestries of picobucks and LED landscapes, 

and me, Shilo Shiv Suleman, an Artist whose magical realism spills out of heart into realms of new technology, storytelling, interactive installations and Art for social change.

As a little girl, I drew countless images of lotuses coming out of hearts. As I grew older, I tattooed myself with this image, read mystic poetry about it. 

As a little girl, I drew countless images of lotuses coming out of hearts. As I grew older, I tattooed myself with this image, read mystic poetry about it. 

"In the fortified city of the imperishable, 
our body, there is a lotus
and in this lotus is a tiny space
what does it contain that one
should desire to know it?

As vast as this space above
is the tiny space within your heart
heaven and earth are found in it
fire and air and sun and moon
lightening and the constellations
all this is gathered in that tiny space
within your heart."

This year at Burning Man, the dream of this symbol came true with our installation Pulse & Bloom with amazing co-creators. Pulse and Bloom is an interactive installation with 20 lotuses that beat with your heart using pulse sensors.

There's a lot to be said about the lightning, sandstorms, stars and all the surreal moments experienced over the 2 weeks in the desert. But this one moment was particularly special. As me and Saba Ghole were tinkering and working on the installation one sandstorm, this amazing pirate ship emerged out of the dust and into the light. I had to take a moment to just stop, and give thanks for this magical universe I inhabit.

Wear a crown of flowers on your head
let its roots reach your heart.”
-Kabir, 16th century Sufi poet

Through our art installation “Pulse and Bloom,” we use technology to make our inner invisible worlds more visible. Using visual representations of our inner state, we aim to create group experiences of bio-synchronicity that make us more aware as individuals and more connected as a community.
Remembering the ancient philosophers and mystics that spoke of the human heart as the vehicle for union between individual and environment, we recreate this experience through modern heart-quantifying biosensors embedded within public art. Scientific studies show that people who spend a few moments connecting with each other, in time can sync their heartbeats to one another.
We believe technology can augment our emotional connection with others. When we visualize our heartbeats, we temporarily break the barriers of biology and share something previously hidden about ourselves. By reducing ourselves to our most basic and primal rhythms, we enter as equals on a platform on which to merge and transcend our individual boundaries.

Pulse and Bloom would not have been possible if not for the support of our larger team and collaborators: Vivek Chockalingam, Grace Boyle, Avijit Michael, Belinda Man, Matt Medved 
along with Zack London, Ajesh and all the hundreds of other people that helped along the process. 

My love,