Air Hunger

BREATHING LANDSCAPES

Air Hunger creates an interactive projection, where the breath pattern of a participant generates a landscape for a virtual character to move on. People can participate in the projection by wearing a wireless breath rate monitoring belt around their chest. The belt is given to one person at a time and he/she can walk freely in front of the projection area, while producing an undulating landscape in real time via the bluetooth modem.

The principle of visualisation of the breathing pattern is simple, inhaling creates rising contours and exhaling descending contours on the landscape. On idle we see a flatland, which starts to immediately flow when the belt is being used. The breath generated landscape carries a lonely character, who moves along the slopes and hills created by the inhale/exhale pattern. Instead of being identified with the character, the  participant is creating the conditions for his journey.

Video documenting Air Hunger at the Brussels Flagey Square.

The surface of contemporary cityspace is hard, reflecting and in continuous alternation, made of steel, glass, stone and concrete suppressing vulnerable human communication. Air hunger transforms a private and invisible bodily function into monumental transmission. The intimate and fragile overcomes the concrete for a moment.

The piece was produced for the Media Facades 2010 festival by Fantomatico and realized in collaboration with software designer Jani Turunen and fashion designer Tuula Pöyhönen. In different cities the project was made site-specific by changing the moving character to reflect the history of the place. In Linz (September 6), the soldier from Helsinki’s Marshall Mannerheim statue (August 27-28) was replaced by a tobacco factory working woman. In Brussels, the controversial “Bateau” building at Flagey (September 10) square became the main character.

Hanna Haaslahti is a media artist whose artworks challenge our expectations of representation and control. Her interactive installations and films have been presented internationally and in Finland. She has received the AVEK Media art award (2005) and the Honorary Mention at Vida 6.0 Art and Artificial Life awards (2003).