Vicious Circular Breathing, 2013
Sealed glass prism with automated sliding door system, motorized bellows, electromagnetic valve manifold, 61 brown paper bags, custom circuitry, respiration tubing, sensors, computer
Glass prism: 8 x 8 x 8 ft / 2.43 x 2.43 x 2.43 m
Minimum floor space for full installation: 20 x 32.8 ft / 6 x 10 m
Edition of 3
In the piece, visitors’ breath is kept circulating and made tangible by automatically inflating and deflating the brown paper bags around 10,000 times a day, the normal respiratory frequency for an adult at rest. There are 61 bags because that constitutes 5 octaves which is a typical range of musical organs which inspire the design.
The piece includes warnings for asphyxiation, contagion and panic, and produces a faint mechanical sound, a quiet whir from the air flow and a louder crackle from the crumpling bags.
To participate, an audience member presses a button on the outside of the glass prism. They can then enter a vestibule and wait for it to be decompressed. Once they enter the main chamber, they sit down and breathe the recycled air.