Top 10 artworks from 10 years of the PULSE Festival

Did you miss this year’s PULSE Art + Technology Festival? Do you get sad every time your friends talk about all the cool art things you didn’t get to see? No problem. Check out our video teaser featuring clips from this year’s festival. Since 2016 marks the 10-year anniversary of the PULSE Festival we’ve also included clips of our favorite PULSE moments over the years.


To celebrate 10 years of Telfair Museums’ PULSE Art + Technology Festival, we’ve put together a list of our favorite featured artworks:

10. Carla Diana’s Nest (PULSE 2008)

From one of the earliest PULSE Festivals, Carla Diana’s interactive sound installation disguised its technical complexity with an intuitive presentation and simple design. The piece gave museum visitors the opportunity to create almost endless harmonies with its 100+ RFID tagged spheres. Nest was a mission statement piece – showing the public what PULSE was all about (interactivity and technology’s potentially democratizing effect on the art world) from the very beginning.


9. Shih Chieh Huang’s “Counterillumination (C-2010)” (PULSE 2010)

Although video documentation of the original piece isn’t available online, the clip we’re embedding should blow your mind enough that you’ll understand why Shih Chieh Huang’s piece made our list. “Counterillumination (C-2010)” filled one gallery of the Jepson Center with kinetic, glowing, “breathing” electronic creatures inspired by the alienesque life forms that populate the deep ocean. Huang’s sculptures are made from everyday objects like Tupperware, guitar tuners, automatic night lights, zip lies and cheap motorized toys.


8. Gabriel Barcia-Colombo’s “For Those Who Wait” (PULSE 2014)

Gabriel Barcia-Colombo’s “For Those Who Wait” combined interactive video art with some refreshing surrealism at 2014’s PULSE Festival. The piece was ostensibly about the physicality of time – by turning an old-fashioned hand crank, visitors brought the clocks to life, making them spin out of control and fracture with reality. The projected clocks would then self destruct, turning into a pair of lips or melting away or shattering into a million pieces. “For Those Who Wait” expertly walked the line between humor and despair.


7. Andrew F. Scott’s “Digital Explorations in Sculpture” (PULSE 2011)

“Black Man Grove” by Andrew F. Scott

Andrew F. Scott’s digitally-printed and laser-cut sculptures, reliefs and prints were the standout works during the 2011 PULSE Festival, particularly his “Black Man Grove” 3d printed sculpture. Scott (a Savannah-based artist, unlike most of the others appearing on this list) says: “I view traditional African and African-American art in the spirit of Sankofa. That is, I view them as a means of retrieving my past so that I am better prepared to step into the future.”

For more images of Scott’s PULSE artworks, click here


6. Elizabeth King’s “The Size of Things in the Mind’s Eye” (PULSE 2009)

“Pupil” by Elizabeth King

Elizabeth King, a professor of Sculpture and Extended Media at Virginia Commonwealth University, brought her retrospective, The Size of Things in the Mind’s Eye, to PULSE in 2009. King’s figurative sculptures (featuring movable joints and eyes which can be adjusted to meet the audience’s gaze) blur the boundaries between sculpture, puppet, automaton and medical model. Human but incredibly inhuman, King’s handling of the uncanny brought gravitas and complexity to 2009’s PULSE festival.

For more images from King’s retrospective, click here.


5. Leo Villareal’s “Diamond Sea” and “Hive” (PULSE 2012)

Pioneering LED installation artist Leo Villareal made quite an impression at the 2012 PULSE Festival with “Hive” and “Diamond Sea”, two gorgeous pieces that played with light and reflection to tremendous affect. Villareal has called his installations “vehicles that take you somewhere else” – their lights are mesmerizing, showing the intimate (maybe even emotional) side of technological immersion.


4. Cuppetelli & Mendoza’s “Notional Field” (PULSE 2014)

Cuppetelli & Mendoza’s “Notional Field” was perhaps one of the most successfully interactive pieces ever to be featured in the PULSE Festival; it stole the show in 2014 and made enough of an impression for a smaller version of it to make it into the Jepson Center’s permanent collection. Set inside a darkened gallery, “Notional Field”‘s projection-mapped elastic cords were programmed to sway in response to the movement of the viewer. Simple enough, right? The beauty here came from the ways people chose to interact with it: they danced with it, ran alongside it, jumped, stretched, and even teamed up with one another to create new movements.


3. Aaron Sherwood & Michael Allison’s “Firewall” (PULSE 2015)

Aaron Sherwood & Michael Allison’s “Firewall” stunned not only as a stand-alone piece but also as a huge part of Purring Tiger’s performance piece “Mizaru”. Made from a stretched sheet of spandex, “Firewall” acts as a membrane interface. It’s sensitive to depth, allowing visitors to push into it with their bodies and create visuals and sound which corresponded to the duration and pressure of their touch. With its simple concept and fun visuals, “Firewall” was one of the biggest hits at PULSE 2015.


2. Performance by Miwa Matreyek (PULSE 2015)

During her one-night-only performance at the 2015 PULSE Festival, Miwa Matreyek added something truly unique to the festival’s history: a multimedia live performance which merged her own body with animation and projections to explore the history of our earth. The piece was flawlessly created and performed, its surreal and fantastical visuals melding with original music in the Telfair Academy’s rotunda room as if in a dream. By the end, the audience was breathless.


1. Daniel Rozin’s mechanical mirrors (PULSE 2016)

With Daniel Rozin’s mirror installations, the PULSE Festival proved that even after 10 years they’ve still got it. Two of Rozin’s internationally-famous mirrors are currently on display at the Jepson Center for the Arts through April 10: “Trash Mirror” and “Pom Pom Mirror”. Both mirrors are comprised of hundreds of motors which rotate according to the movement of the viewer in front of it. As you move the piece moves with you, displaying your silhouette as if in a mirror.

Author: SAI

Savannah Art Informer is a program by Art Rise Savannah, a non-profit arts organization in Savannah, Georgia.

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