Everyday functions of the body like digesting your food, moving your muscles or even just thinking, need oxygen. When these processes happen, carbon dioxide is produced as a waste product. The job of your lungs in this system is to provide these processes with oxygen and to get rid of the waste gas, carbon dioxide.1
Breathing is an automatic act, yet research shows that an awareness of the breathing process can affect several psychological and neuronal reactions in the body, improve one’s motor abilities, stabilise heart rate, blood pressure, cardiorespiratory function, as well as relieve anxiety and stress. Through inhalation and exhalation our perception of emotions, space and air quality can change.
The idea for this project is a video that could mediate and highlight an awareness of the breathing process in different spaces and conditions; calm, noisy, fresh, polluted, open, and closed. By being aware of one’s habitual breathing in these conditions, the viewer could engage in a more conscious process by watching the video.
Through understanding how anxiety and stress manifest in the breathing process, the process of mediation would act to mirror one’s inside world, and would help them return to the present moment. It seeks to, not only improve the body functions, but to also reconnect to the most simple and natural act that is breathing.
The process necessitates three main tools: balloon, paper bag and a mobile phone with the latitude app downloaded. The mobile phone, with the app open, is placed on the chest while lying on the floor. The app is used to show the chest movement as it goes up and down. With this set-up, the paper bags and air balloons are used to physically mediate the breathing, as the exhaled CO₂ shapes both the balloon and the paper bag.
In this video CO₂ is understood as a result of breathing and of the interactions that happened while the performance was made, as well as of the awareness of the process.
British Lung Foundation ↩