Breathing has become a loaded word this year but the new interactive public art installation Breathing Pavilion by artist Ekene Ijeoma encourages visitors to do just that. The immersive installation at The Plaza at 300 Ashland comprises a 30-foot circle of twenty, nine-foot-tall, two-tone inflatable columns that slowly modulate in brightness to illustrate a deep breathing technique designed to bring calm. Viewers are invited to breathe in time with the changing light to center themselves in a communal rhythm of respite.
“Between the ongoing struggles of racial and political movements in the United States and the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be difficult to find the time to breathe deeply and rest well,” says Ijeoma. As an artist, professor of Media Arts and Science at MIT, and the founder and director of the Poetic Justice group at MIT Media Lab, he researches social inequality in multiple fields, including social science, to develop artworks in various mediums such as sound, video, sculpture, and installation. “I held my breath for most of last year waiting to exhale into a new administration and new vaccines. It will still take some time before we see large-scale change. Until then, in these next few weeks, this pavilion is here to invite the public to breathe into the change within each of us, in sync with one another.”
Breathing Pavilion is part of Van Allen Institute’s Public Realm R&D program, intended to expose the work of emerging designers and test new strategies to bring people together in public places. Presented in coordination with Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Ekene Ijeoma’s Breathing Pavilion is an example of the collaborators’ intention to creating equitable cities through shared space.
Free and open to the public, The Plaza at 300 Ashland will also be hosting musical performances while the sculpture is on display. The weekly music series will spotlight site-specific performances featuring solo wind and percussion jazz musicians in meditative sets. All performances start at 6pm and are drop in (no RSVP required). Rain dates will be subsequent Fridays.
Breathing Pavilion is designed to be experienced in accordance with COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines. Signage encourages viewers to wear masks and maintain six feet of distance to ensure everyone’s safety. The outdoor installation will be on view until May 11 at The Plaza at 300 Ashland in the heart of downtown Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Cultural District. You can hear from the artist, Ekene Ijeoma, in a free virtual lecture hosted by the Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation on Monday, March 22nd!
Next, check out 9 New Public Art Installations in NYC, March 2021