The Breathing Apparatus is part of the project Desires in a Transparent World, which explores human desires in the context of an increasingly transparent world. When all personal data is publicly available, how do people sate their desires? We share everything, our heartbeats, blood pressure, our cholesterol levels: The «transparent self» is becoming a reality.
The Breathing Apparatus embodies one of the most intimate sensations, the breath of another person. By recreating the breath, it evokes the feeling of another’s presence. It does so by using the available breathing data. The source of such data is crucial: Already, there are devices that track one’s breath. How do we feel about our breathing – our body’s rhythm – being recorded? Experiencing the breath of a partner only seems natural. Yet, What about the recorded breath of a deceased loved one? The breath of young children? The Breathing Apparatus poses those questions and thus highlights how numbers cannot show the value and the meaning such data carries.
The device’s appearance suggests something that is both machine and alive. It is unsettling and the same time very alluring. This dichotomy perfectly reflects the nature of the device: It satisfies a deep and intimate longing in the user while simultaneously taking away something that so far could only be given personally: intimacy.