This was the question posed to artist Robert Walton as he conceived the idea for the new large-scale artwork hanging in the foyer of Melbourne Connect.
Working alongside a team of data scientists, builders, architects, and lighting designers, Robert has created an artwork that reveals Melbourne Connect’s heart. This permanent artwork is integrated into the building and connects directly to its nervous system of sensors and its respiratory system of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. The Heart began beating in April 2023 and will continue for at least 42 years, or longer.
Keep an eye on our social media channels and in the foyer of Melbourne Connect for this magnificent piece of art.
The Heart Beats – A machine learning algorithm that translates the torrent of live building data into the pulse of the building. The algorithm also produces the shapes visible in The Heart Array. The algorithm compares the building’s sensation in the present moment with its previous experiences at similar times of day over its whole ‘lifetime’. During nighttime hours The Heart dreams: it replays events of the day and processes what to remember and what to forget. The Heart will ‘live’ for the whole lifetime of the artwork, initially planned as 42 years.
The Heart Array – thousands of bespoke LED light fittings in the form of a 10m human heart in the foyer of Melbourne Connect. The Heart array is made of 1km of brass rods in 142 droppers supporting 1450 printed circuit boards, 10,000 white LEDs, and 284 cores in the outline of a human heart made with brick dust from the Royal Woman’s Hospital that previously occupied the site. The Heart Array is animated by The Heart Beats.
The Heart Node – The primary node of The Heart Array. Hand-blown in scientific glass, this brilliant red neon core expands from a permanently lit centre with each heartbeat.
Concept, Lead Artist — Robert Walton
Design - Heart Array and Heart Node Hardware — Paul Lim and Bosco Shaw, ADDITIVE
AI/ML Lead - The Heart Beats — Zaher Joukhadar, Melbourne Data Analytics Platform
Unity Development - The Heart Digital Twin — Brad Hammond, EXP
Technical Consultant — Gendry Morales
Project Officers — Lindsay Bick, Loi Tai, Matthew Driver, Luke Sutton Melbourne Connect
Heart Array Fabrication — Casey Loraine, Showtools International
Heart Node and Sensor Housing Fabrication — Callan Morgan, Pelican Studios
Builders — Adrian Brown, Jointly
Neon Wrangling — Karl Gordon, Australian Neon Services
Scientific Glass Blowing — Mark Chandler, Platinum Laboratory Services
Heart Monitors — Jeremiah Rose
Research Data Specialist — Dr. Aleks Michalewicz, Melbourne Data Analytics Platform
PhD Candidate and MDAP Intern — Aidan McLoughney, Melbourne Data Analytics Platform
Senior Research Data Specialist — Bobbie Shaban, Melbourne Data Analytics Platform