If you were in Hong Kong for the just-shuttered Art Basel fair, there's one exhibit you can't have missed. Alpha Pulse, which kicked off the four day festival, saw the city's tallest building turned into a mesmerizing spear of light.
From a pier in Hong Kong's Central district, some 300 people watched as the German artist Carsten Nicolai orchestrated a sound and light show through the 118-story International Commerce Centre. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Basel's Asia director explained that Nicolai's fascination lies in the "emotional responses" evoked in an audience experiencing "different frequencies of pulsating light and sound."
For Alpha Pulse, Nicolai used neural science to come up with a frequency intended to please. The target, according to a dispatch from the Creator's Project, was the "mood, relaxation, attention, and creativity of viewers," all of which were presumably enhanced by the sensory spectacle of Carsten dropping techno beats as the tower pulsed (we're guessing the "wine and champagne glasses" everyone was reportedly holding helped with that too).
Viewers could also interact with the tower using a smartphone app designed by Nicolai. With the app on, a phone camera pointed at the tower synchronized with the beat of the lights, according to the WSJ report.
It was a predictably flashy start to a fair with grand international ambitions. Let's hope some homegrown artists are able to show off in 2015.