Blooming highlights the importance of presence and physical connection in our lives.

While our digital, globalized world allows us to always stay connected, what is lost when our most meaningful relationship are mediated through screens? Drawing on research from developmental psychology on the importance of touch to human well-being, Park questions how a lack of physical contact and in-person interactions might contribute to feeling of loss, alienation, dissociation, and melancholy.

"Blooming" is an audio-visual interactive installation that responds to physical contact between two to three participants, which takes the form of a life-size Cherry Blossom tree, a common symbol of social ties and the transience of life in East Asian culture. When participants stand before the tree and hold hands or embrace by measuring their heart-rates, gestures, and skin-to-skin contacts, the projection of the tree will flourish in peak bloom; when they release, it will collapse into its pre-bloomed state. The color of the cherry flowers are modulated based on the participants heartbeats while they are interacting each other. (faster their heart beats, redder the colors & slower their heart beats, whiter the colors). 

When a cherry blossom tree flourishes, as it does in "Blooming", it is a reminder of human relationships at their peak. 

Photo courtesy of Lisa Park, Rain Embuscado


"Blooming" is commissioned by Nokia Bell Labs and New Museum's NEW INC as part of the artist-in-residence program from 2017-2018. The residency was held for a year from 2017-18 and "Blooming" was exhibited as part of the "Only Human" at Mana Contemporary

Commissioned and Supported by: Nokia Bell Labs and New Museum's NEW INC
Created and Directed by: Lisa Park
Sensor Development & Collaboration: Gang Huang (Nokia Bell Labs)
Technical Direction by: Sensorium Works & Todd Bryant
3D Petals: Capitan Alegria
3D Assets: Jeremy Thompson
Heartrate monitor programming: Ji Lee
Gesture Tracking programming: Kat Sullivan
Original Music by: Antfood

Thanks to NEW INC Team: Julia Kaganskiy, Lindsay Howard, Alexandra Darby, Mike Kelberman, Rain Embuscado
Thanks to Nokia Bell Labs Team: Marcus Weldon, Domhnaill Hernon, Sanjay Patel, Paul Wilford, Gang Huang, Ray Golden, Jacquilene Jacob, Kim Matthews, Ed Shutter, Jong Hoon Ahn, Rich Abbot

Year: 2018
Dimensions: 19ft (W) X 13ft (H) 
Medium: Custom-made touch sensors, Microcontrollers, Heart-rate sensors, Gesture tracking sensor, custom-programmed softwares, Projector screen, PC