BREATHE at ETH Zurich, Switzerland

BREATHE at NOI Techpark Bolzano, Italy

BREATHE at Swiss Embassy, Washington, D.C., US

Real-time calculations are made by Prof. Dr. Heini Wernli, Dr. Michael Sprenger and Dr. Hanna Joos at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, providing a historical log of the air currently being inhaled within a public area. The results of these calculations (city names, where the air has been and at what time) are visually projected onto the facade of the ETH Zurich main building above the Polyterrace.

Scrolling text inspired by stock-tickers, running across the walls of the building, evoke the ambiance of Wall Street, where trades are conducted, offering a parallel to an earlier project of mine, “Cloud Killer”. Challenging the conventional wisdom by suggesting that essential natural elements, typically considered beyond the grasp of capitalist processes, such as clouds and now air, might become commodities. Could air, clouds, and water evolve to become the new currency?

I am looking for the reactions when public participants realize that the air they are currently breathing circulated in the burning forests in Canada, glaciers  in Greenland or the Amazon Rainforest just two weeks prior. Making breathing a conscious process and creating a new sense of global sensibility and interconnectedness of all life, facilitated by the omnipresence of air.

This mixture of fiction and scientific data, which could never be shown as fact in a scientific publication, allows for an almost poetic sense of connection that transcends classical ways of thinking of distances and our planet as a whole. By binding these air molecules to a specific time and place, my intervention imparts origin and history to the air surrounding us.

Khalil Berro Studio 2024

ETH Zürich
Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science
Group for Atmospheric Dynamics