- What are you trying to do? Articulate your objectives using absolutely no jargon.
- I’d like to make a visualization of the numbers of police brutality oriented deaths in North America over the last 50 years by inflating and deflating a set of silicone lungs. This piece is a metaphorical response to the Eric Garner video in which he repeats “I can’t breathe” several times in his last moments of life.
- How is it done today, and what are the limits of current practice?
- I’ll be using Programmable Air in my first prototypes
- What is new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful?
- Hmmm I’m not sure how to answer this question in the context of an art piece.
- Who cares? If you are successful, what difference will it make?
- People who are interested in critical artwork, social justice and the black lives matter movement should have a particular interest in this work. If successful, I’m hoping that this will be a reminder to take action.
- What are the risks?
- I’m usually worried about making work that’s insensitive so I need to ensure that all my actions are in the design and data are well considered and very intentional
- How much will it cost?
- I might have to buy more silicone ($30), a model lung to cast ($20), the materials for the housing ($30) and the electronics ($20)
- How long will it take?
- I imagine having to make at least two prototypes. This will certainly take two weeks.
- What are the mid-term and final “exams” to check for success?
- By the middle of the two weeks I should have a casting prototype that works will a hand pump and programmable air.
Here are some scientific models of lungs that have been designed to simulate breathing, meant to be used in high school classes.
And here are some examples of art pieces that feature lungs
And one of my favourite artists – Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
“Last Breath”, 2012
“Vicious Circle of Breathing”, 2013
I spent some time talking to Amitabh about how programmable air works and witnessed some of this projects in action to see how he manipulated the board to achieve kinetic movement. I also spoke to my classmate Julia Rich who does silicone special effects for a living. I sent them an email outlining some of my more pressing questions, mostly around texture and malleability of the silicone.