One Billion Breaths
the entire humanity breathing
in a video installation.
One breath at a time
In 2006 when I quit my IT job to become a photographer I began with shooting candid portraits of children. Soon I realized the need to shoot the elderly as most did not leave behind realistic and beautiful portraits for their future generations. I spread the word in my community and soon 80% of my work was shooting the elderly. I still get fulfillment when old clients write to me thanking for taking such beautiful and realistic pictures of their parents. Almost all of them wrote as soon as they lost a dear one I had taken portraits of.
In 2010 I lost both my parents within the space of 10 weeks. Later when I discovered two 90 seconds, casual video clips of my mother and none of my father I realized how moving an experience video (or the lack of it) can give you. That is how the the concept of 'One Billion Breaths' was born. It is a video installation project I have conceptualized and initiated. Even though absolutely simple as an idea, the integrity of its thoughtfulness makes it a larger-than-life project. The scale and reach clearly has the potential to make it timeless art that touches upon humanity as a whole!
The idea is to create an online VIDEO Archive of people breathing. Each person breathing one single, deep, long breath at a time, in a never-ending loop. Looking at breath as a common denominator that connects the entire humanity. I make it a point to capture the essence of the personality by allowing each of my subjects to be themselves during the recording. Optionally I may ask a few questions to narrate the essential profile ( or it could be given as text). It becomes a profile encapsulated for the generations to witness. It becomes a chronicle of humanity itself. I hope that maybe 100 years from now this effort would become an important cultural document on these times.
Artistically speaking, for most subjects, the simple act of breathing (on video) will become more like a theatrical performance. The one act, or the lack of it, that will eventually make a difference. Suddenly the act of breathing becomes a conscious, introspective, emotional response to creating a few seconds worth of timeless art. Yes, that makes them all a performing artist for a while! When it happens in large numbers that could be overwhelming isn't it?
I anticipate to gradually allow everyone from around the world to have access to upload 'single breath videos' they created of their near and dear ones. A specific format will be provided to maintain continuity. Each profile clip will have an option to be accompanied by a basic written profile/ links/ tags as well. It is a developing concept. So let me know what you think and how you want to take part in it.