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The Mind Behind ‘Pulse’

Starting tomorrow night, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre will become a blank canvas for a 3D Christmas light and music show on a massive scale. The event, the second of three productions from the Hong Kong Tourism Board under the ‘Pulse’ moniker, is the brainchild of an Australian based company and its creative leader, Richard Lindsay. We spoke with Lindsay ahead of the big reveal this week to find out the challenge of creating a spectacle and just what he has in store for Hong Kongers.

If you didn’t catch the first Pulse event last month you missed out on seeing the future of Hong Kong’s light and music shows. Featuring a familiar laser beam, the show quickly introduced throngs of onlookers to the current state of elite light shows around the globe. Using the same technology behind Vivid Sydney’s ‘Play’, another project from Lindsay’s Spinifex team, ‘Pulse’ projected Hong Kong’s vibrancy in eight minutes of orchestrated music and eye candy with soul highlighting our compact city’s intensity, trendiness, and diversity.

The reaction was immediate. From the clock tower to the Avenue of Stars, stunned faces lined the harbour front. The silence was broken by an announcement that the show would run again, helping the audience to digest what they had just seen with a second helping.

“The beauty of the first show was that we had the opportunity to do something that expresses Hong Kong,” said Lindsay in an exclusive interview from Australia. “Hong Kong is an incredibly vibrant city and we are delighted to be part of this initiative. It’s one of those cities that just works. It just flows. There’s a built in rhythm that is different from a lot of other cities.”

‘Pulse’ lit up imaginations that first time around and shocked our residents free from creative complacency. It is no longer adequate to have a light show, you have to host the best light show.

But how would Lindsay and his team approach their crucial second act? Head on. With a CV that includes work on the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the team knows that a great challenge can mean tremendous reward celebrated on a global scale. The challenge for the team now is the lack of surprise and being asked to refresh a theme that is already lighting up the harbour front – Christmas.

The Christmas themed ‘Pulse’ requires reinvigorating the masses in a city that covers buildings, not trees, in holiday lights and rivals Western commercialism with its shopping appetite.

“We certainly don’t want to be cliché about it,” Lindsay told Localiiz. “Hong Kong will be full of the traditional but I want people to come look at this to see what they normally wouldn’t see on the street.”

When the Localiiz team was given a private screening of the show at the Hong Kong Tourism Board’s offices last week, we instantly knew that this would be another hit. Lindsay and his team have upped the ante once again, learning from their first Hong Kong show, embracing the best ideas and tweaking a few elements.

“It’s not like all ideas worked,” Lindsay said of creating the original ‘Pulse’ show. “We had a range of ideas that we had to can along the way because they weren’t holding up with the building. You have these strange angles and different viewing points.”

The building’s unique form wasn’t the only challenge for the team. Ambient light from our bright cityscape can weaken some colours and distort images. “The beauty of doing three shows is that you get a couple of goes at it,” said the optimistic Lindsay.

As Lindsay was preparing to fly to Hong Kong for tomorrow’s show and present his team’s ideas for the third ‘Pulse’ production to the Tourism Board, he was still surprised that he is breaking new ground with a city-run 3D light show. In a city that never stops, sets trends globally, and manages to embrace a diversity of cultures in such a compact region, Hong Kong should be a light and music show leader.

“Hopefully ‘Pulse’ is the beginning of this type of thing in Hong Kong. It’s the sort of city that should be doing it.”

Click here for more information about ‘Hong Kong Pulse’.

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