Breathing Cloud is an inquiry into locating the individual in the context of the universe. After all, we are all made from stardust.
The elements in our universe are produced in the heart of dying stars and scattered through space in a final exhalation; a supernova explosion. The cloud of matter created by a supernova explosion can become the beginnings of a nebula, a nursery rich in all the elements required to create new stars and solar systems.
In this Knit Glitch project, we wanted to explore connections between these stellar events and the everyday business of being human. Knitting is a very human endeavour. We knit for the ones that we love to keep them safe and warm, and the process of starting from a single stitch, multiplied through repetition, correlates with the process of cellular reproduction; of cells multiplying to produce more cells.
Breathing Cloud is human in scale. It mirrors the size of a human chest as it inhales and exhales. By mimicking the rise and fall of human breath, the robotic bellows driving the cloud foster an unsettling familiarity, the bond that humans feel towards other living things. This impression of the cloud as a living organ is furthered by the silent operation of the bellows inside a soundproofed box.
The playfulness of this breathing, knitted object may seem at odds with the seriousness of scientific research, however we believe that playful exploration is vital in gaining an understanding of what it means to be a living organism in the context of the universe.
With Breathing Cloud, we have combined the homely with the sublime and the handmade with the scientific, to create a tension that questions how we, as humans, fit in to the big picture.