Device of the week #2: Circular Breathing (2003) by Scott Snibbe

Circular Breathing is a personal breath recorder. While breathing and blowing into the mouthpiece, the viewer records a breath pattern. After letting go of the button, the breath pattern plays back indefinitely, looping from start to finish. The piece turns the circular process of breathing into a circular recording. With practice, viewers can create seamless air loops that mimic the break beat loops of hip-hop composition. The synthetic breath recordings give the fan a lifelike quality, challenging viewers to contemplate the everyday equation of breath with life.

I like this piece because it is super interactive. It will amplify, play back the breath you blew into it and loop it back in your face(provided if you are still standing in front of the fan). This devices challenges mainly two questions: Do we own our breath? And can we rightly label breath as mine when it is an equal exchange: parts of ourselves continuously exchanging with parts of our environment, and even parts of others bodies? Although there is no correct answer, I was amazed to be able to see a interactive form of a question.

If I were to make this device even better, it would be to take the looping feature away. This will cause the user to blow into the device more often and get blown by the device when blowing into the blowing device. It would create a cycle of not able to feel your own breathe which will bring out focus of the question.

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