Date: 2001, reprised 2011.
Details:sensor belts, computer, bench, video projector.
Two sensor belts measure participants’ breathing patterns. Two sets of concentric circles projected in front of them float up and down the wall, creating complex interference patterns as they move in and out of phase.
Visitors to the gallery are invited to put on wide, Velcro-secured belts, and to sit together on a bench facing a gallery wall, where two sets of concentric circles are projected. The circle sets are projected in front of the participants. As the circles pass each other, moire patterns form. The patterns get more and more complex as the circles overlap more and more, and then disappear for an instant as the circles match up perfectly.
This project grew out of my interest in making artworks for groups of people: to create pieces that set up a dialogue between viewers, as well as between the viewer and the work. Although both participants' gazes are on the projections, this piece encourages a concentration inward on one's own body, the connection between the pace of the breath compared to the pace of the partners.
I have translated the piece into an audio version, Pas de Deux, redux where the feedback is two tones that rise and lower with the breathing, producing interference beats as the tones approach each other.
Figuring out how to make these projects always leads down tunnels of exploration you didn’t expect: A web search for breath sensors lead to a science supply site that sold tiny belts for measuring breathing for lab rats. After many experiments with different materials, I made the belts myself using pressure sensors sewn into fabric.