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PULSE | Alva Gallagher

Pulse is a new interactive immersive public sculpture commissioned by Failte Ireland and Dublin City Council sited on the River Liffey at City Quay, Dublin, Ireland



Dublin City Docklands Light Commission

This immersive public sculpture piece has evolved from a vision of the Dublin Docklands as a steady moving entity, of life in motion. It synchronises elements of the night sky with descriptive attributes of this unique quayside location. A manifestation of marine and urban tidal movements created by human activity. Harmonising the dualities of human motion quayside with calm waters. An interactive, immersive, sensory light art installation that invites a response motion stimulated by human movement. Made up of 20,000 integrated LED’s that will transform the sculptural objectivity by day to an animated immersive pulse wave of light simulation in response to the viewer’s motion by night. The 20,000 shimmering illuminations, in the form of the pole star constellations, will glow in varying hues that will gently illuminate the space to inspire a moment of awareness and contemplation, when by passing under an orbital pulse of light will wash over the entire work bathing the area in a wave of immersive aurora hues, or a spectacle of shooting stars.


Pulse unites elements of the past with contemporary modern concepts and materials to create a legacy piece within the historic central docklands. This work structurally portrays a vision of the old Dockers great net lines cast in suspended motion, a vision of perpetuity flash frozen in space, by day the physical manifestation of that pulse of city life gone by and by night an enlivened cadence of modern city life portrayed with thousands of interconnected effervescent pole star constellations.

Alva Gallagher_pulse.jpg

By its nature the workings around the docklands inspire visions of intrigue, tales of adventure, misadventure and mystery. This piece is suspended in animation in homage to the history of the area, a suggestion of this human presence and activity, to inspire the imagination to envisage the first activities of the time that began a great prosperity for the Dublin Docklands area. This vision of attribute in suspended motion is paired with the vision of the constellations directly above us. The Pole Star constellations used solely by old mariners to navigate their way home at the time continue to inspire awe and comfort in our modern day. This space will be immersed in a cloak of enlivened constellations. A refuge spot to immerse, pause and reflect, to reconnect to the outside in this dense urban scenario, bringing a nightly vision of the remote, into inner city life. It will illuminate a dynamic interactive map of the circumpolar constellations shimmering around the North Star. The viewer will be absorbed in a space of ever moving constellations. Intertwining the lives of the people who made the docklands their home then with now, the enlivened night sky now a rarity in the modern city setting. This map of the pole star constellations will be a constant wave of light. Made dynamic on physical movement to reflect the pulse and ever-constant rhythm and beat of the city to immerse the viewer in a cloak of elegant glistening light.

By dusk this piece will become alive. On approach it will glow in a hue of elegant shimmering light, drawing the viewer in. As you immerse in its expanse the sensory motion of your body will trigger a motion response and a pulse of light to wash through the piece wrapping the viewer beneath a 30sq metre wave of colour and light, creating an interactive immersive public experience. The sculpture will also be programmed to perform this pulse light show on the hour every hour from dusk to midnight each day and will be fully colour automated if the occasion requires.

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