Turning Heartbeats Into Music

Boston is the first city to install the project.

Mayor Menino has heart. Photo provided.

Mayor Menino has heart. Photo provided.

Mayor Tom Menino unveiled “Pulse of the City” on Friday, a public art installation that creates music from heartbeats. The City plans to install five of the units at various locations that have a strong connection to the health and fitness scenes in the city: Christopher Columbus Park; 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. Boston will be the first city in the world to install the installations.

Created by Harvard-grad George Zisiadis, the solar-powered devices are best to use during or after exercise, because the higher your heart rate, the more interesting the musical performances will be. Outfitted with copper plated handles, when you grab a hold of the device, it senses your pulse and creates a one-minute musical performance. After eight heartbeats, a new musical instrument is layered into the slow-building performance. Every piece of music will be different for each user.

“This is a truly unique project that connects Boston’s residents and visitors to art in a whole new way,” Menino says in a press release. “’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.”