Breathing Room is a kinetic installation forming a tunnel, lined with cones that ‘breathe’, creating an immersive experience which is strange and otherworldly.  Framed by a sculptural mechanical skeletal exterior, the illuminated tunnel invites audiences to travel through its gently moving interior for a unique multi-sensory experience.

With the support of an Unlimited Commission, the piece is being developed for touring to summer festivals, urban light festivals, and gallery spaces in 2020.  It is suitable for indoor and outdoor installation, and will premier at co-commissioning festival IF 2020.

(audio-description version here)

I am lucky enough to be working both with incredible producer Kate McStraw on this project, as well as Production Manager extraordinaire Tom Richmond. We also welcome on board Engineer Martin West and 101 Outdoor arts along with original collaborator Clive Doherty.

The piece begin in a very different form – the original Breathing Room was a political piece, and although still kinetic, made with paper. However, after the R&D our first Unlimited Grant allowed us, it evolved in a different direction.

THE WORK TO DATE – The R&D phase, funded by Unlimited, has resulted in the prototype installed at the Southbank Centre. This process has enabled Anna Berry and collaborator Clive Doherty to develop the design and technology to create the work, research and select appropriate materials to bring the beautiful concept to life, and to consider all the elements required to make a flexible and robust piece for installation and touring.

We are seeking further partners to co-commission the full-size work alongside Unlimited, for showcasing in 2020.


How big will the final piece be? – As you could see from the pictures, we’ve made a ‘corner’ prototype. The final piece will comprise 4 of these –  so depending on how you configure them, the footprint would be completely different and can be adapted for each site. It will be modular so you can make it a long snaking tunnel by putting them end to end, or, for example, something that fits into a square.


How is it constructed? – The exterior frame is steel which is bolted together on site. The cones are attached to flexible frames which are inserted into the framework. The lighting units are incorporated into the exterior structure, powered by an external power source.


Is it paper? – The cones resemble and behave like they are made of paper but are actually fabricated from Tyvek which is the durable woven material which is used for some packaging and ‘CSI’ suits. The material will be fully fire proofed.


What are the requirements for installation – The piece requires a team of 4 to install it. Depending on site conditions we estimate the fit-up time to be around 3 days. In addition to the fee we will ask the festival to provide:

  • power
  • plant or crew for unloading
  • invigilation or stewards
  • costs for travel, subsistence and accommodation.