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I Am That

  • Author(s): Byrd, Stefani
  • Advisor(s): Alexander, Amy J
  • et al.

Breathing is used as the most basic way of linking together the body and the mind, our embodied existence alongside our mental experience of the world. It is also the marker of the dividing line between life and death. The title of the exhibition, "I Am That", comes from the sanskrit mantra “so’ham.” The phrase refers to the sound of the breath, “so” being the sound of inhalation and “hum” the exhalation.

This exhibition features two installations that explore the themes of breath, mediation, and the nature of time. "The Razor’s Edge" is a multi-channel video installation in which performers exhale slowly against an unseen piece of glass, fogging and obscuring their faces in fleeting moments between breaths. Shown on video monitor displays, it creates the illusion that the performers are breathing against the glass of the screen itself.

"Cacophony (24hr News Cycle)" is an immersive sound installation created by editing the audio from network news coverage of mass shootings. All of the words from the reportage were removed, leaving only the in-between moments when the reporters pause to catch their breath. In this installation, years of reportage on tragedy and violence are condensed into one concise abstraction.

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