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Breathing Space

May 17-28, 1999 
Center for Research in Computing and the Arts (CRCA) 
University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

the invite:

Visitors are invited to spend some time in the space-- thinking, breathing, sleeping, waiting, listening to the sounds of breathing. As each person enters the space, the sounds of one other person breathing will become audible. As more people enter the space, more people can be heard breathing. (This is all possible thanks to computers.)
Before beginning this project I believed that breathing, like the heart's beating was simply organic sound, marking the regular rhythms of life. However, when I began recording my own and others' breathing I realized that the sound of breathing constantly changes with the momentary physical and mental states of each breathing organism. In addition, the sounds of breathing seem to bring the organism very close (sometimes a little too close) to the listener while keeping the breather's age, sex and identity unidentifiable.

We hear another's breathing when we are in intimate, quiet or mentally slow settings: the bedroom, the waiting room, the library, the elevator. Recently, I heard a large drunk man breathing behind me on the bus.