[TISEA 1992] Artist Statement: Ulrike Gabriel – Breath

Artist Statement

Breath is an interactive installation in which the breathing of the user finds its abstract transformation in moving images and sound. The regulation of one’s breath is not a simple matter. On the one hand it is possible to influence it consciously, while on the other hand inhaling involuntarily leads to exhaling and vice-versa. The realtime processed image, which is an aesthetic frame of a dynamic image world, is based on parameters that can be influenced by monitoring the user’s breath through an interface.  The resulting image is a visualisation of the user’s breathing which in turn influences their subsequent breathing patterns and measured values. As a result, a circuit between inside and outside is established.

In the initial state the image is an ordinary structure (made up of 400 polygons) which moves in space -alone or in groups- but always interdependent of each other.
A sensor belt connects the user to the computer. The belt measures the frequency and volume of the external breathing. The breathing rhythm causes the structure to oscillate. The oscillation triggers image and sound.
The changes in breathing frequency control the image processing. The regular breathing of the user makes the images ‘come alive’; irregular breathing ‘kills’ them.
Breath is a temporal stethoscope. Perception in/of time becomes possible through the observation of the present image structure which vanishes in the next instant (but still visible as an imprint). The image emerges out of a connection between past tendencies and current influences.

  • Ulrike Gabriel, Germany