HeARTbeat: SASAKI Connects With Heartbeat Portraits

This week’s HeARTbeat pulses to a familiar beat.

Since 1995, Japanese artist SASAKI has been creating portraits from human heartbeats, which he does by spraying a steady stream of paint to the sound of beating hearts. The effect is that SASAKI transmits the unifying pulse of human existence to canvas; the subjects themselves sign the work.

On view at the 54th International Venice Biennale through November 27th, 2011, SASAKI is in demand right now. Dwell on Design has asked him to create a live performance of his Heartbeat Drawing Project, slated for this coming weekend if you happen to be in Los Angeles, to raise money for Architecture for Humanity‘s relief and rebuilding efforts for victims of the Japanese tsunami. It’s not his first time working with the non-profit; this past April, SASAKI helped raise over $3,500 for Japan.

What can one expect from a live Heartbeat event? During a recent 6-day workshop, Sasaki gave us a taste by creating “Heartbeat Portraits” of 139 participants. A pulse monitor was attached to the finger of each individual and the measured signal was output as audio in real time through a set of speakers – the sound and rhythm echoing and reverberating throughout the space.

In tandem with the rhythm, Sasaki drew the image of the heartbeat waves for a period of three minutes. It was a multi-sensory experience for the participants who got to listen to the sound of their own beating hearts while watching it get transformed into art.

Afterwards, they signed their own “Heartbeat Drawings” leaving an indelible fingerprint on what goes to the heart of our collective humanity.

Of his process the artist says: “People are being connected with one another through the heartbeats…This is a way that people from all over the world can purely feel their ‘living’. This is… to feel ‘heartbeat’.

Perhaps what words struggle to depict, this video can convey. After all, how does one describe the sound of heartbeats?

First, one must slow down and listen.

Eco, trends, art, creativity and how they tumble through social media to shape culture fascinate EcoSalon columnist Dominique Pacheco. Her personal blog, mixingreality, speaks to these topics daily, and here at EcoSalon, she takes a weekly look at the intersection of eco and art. We call it heARTbeat.

Dominique Pacheco

Dominique Pacheco is the author of EcoSalon's weekly heARTbeat column.