Breathing Room

Breathing Room is an immersive kinetic light installation – a tunnel, lined with cones that ‘breathe’. It is a strange and otherworldly experience. With the sculptural mechanics on the outside, the skeletal exterior invites audiences to travel through the gently illuminated moving interior for a unique multi-sensory experience.

Breathing Room is a perfect marriage of the organic with the constructed, resulting in an unsettling sense of the uncanny.

Every element of Breathing Room has been hand made in the UK.

The piece was originally to tour urban light festivals, gallery spaces, and summer festivals in 2020, however Covid has delayed showcasing until 2021. It is suitable for indoor and outdoor installation. Breathing Room is supported by an Unlimited Commission, and co-commissioned by IF 2020.

(audio-description version here)

We have an amazing team working on Breathing Room, including incredible producer Kate McStraw, production manager extraordinaire Mat Ort, original collaborator Clive Doherty, engineer Martin West and 101 Outdoor arts along with support from Festive Road.

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, resulted in the prototype installed at the Southbank Centre. This process enabled me and my collaborator Clive Doherty to develop the design and technology to create the work, research and select appropriate materials and consider all the elements required to make a flexible and robust piece for installation and touring.

We seek further partners to show the full-size work alongside Unlimited, for showcasing in 2021 onwards.


How big will the final piece be? – The prototype in the pictures, as you can see, is a ‘corner’. 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 clad onto the frame on site. The mechanism is simple battery power, but power for lights must be provided on site.


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 is 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.