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This futuristic new Brooklyn art installation is meant to calm you down

Step inside "Breathing Pavilion" to take part in this calming exercise.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

The first thing people tell you to do when you're stressed is to take a deep breath.

Now, a futuristic new art installation in Downtown Brooklyn—at The Plaza at 300 Ashland—is reminding viewers to do just that through 20, nine-foot-tall columns that glow and change their brightness to lead them through a calming breathing technique. The installation is called "Breathing Pavilion" and its by artist Ekene Ijeoma.

Visitors must step in the middle of the circle to participate in the experience.

breathing pavilion Ekene Ijeoma
Rendering: Ekene Ijeoma | Rendering of Breathing Pavilion (2021)

Ijeoma created the installation during the pandemic and while the U.S. struggled with systemic racial injustice this past year. The work is supposed to offer sanctuary during a time of "intense hardship and loss," and "suggests a paradigm shift towards communion and meditative stillness, and creates an accessible space of reprieve when the act of breathing itself is under siege," according to The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, a not-for-profit local development corporation that collaborated with the Van Alen Institute to bring the work to this location.

"Between the ongoing struggles in the racial and political movements in the United States and the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be difficult to find the time and space to breathe deeply and rest well," Ijeoma said. "I held my breath for most of last year, waiting to exhale into a new administration and new vaccines. It will still take some time before we see large-scale change. Until then, in these next few weeks, this pavilion is here to invite the public to breathe into the change within each of us, in sync with one another."

You can view the installation now through May 11, 2020 and take in some live performances there on Tuesday evenings:

  • March 23: Kalia Vandever, Trombone (rain date 3/26)
  • March 30: Melanie Charles, Flute (rain date 4/2)
  • April 6: Joel Ross, Vibraphones (rain date 4/9)
  • April 13: Baba Don Babatunde, Percussion (rain date 4/16)
  • April 20: Neil Clarke, Percussion (rain date 4/23)
  • April 27: Lakecia Benjamin, Saxophone (rain date 4/30)
  • May 4: Participatory Drum Circle led by Mr. Fitz of the Brooklyn Music School (rain date 5/7)
  • Date TBA: Keyon Harrold, Trumpet
breathing pavilion Ekene Ijeoma
Photograph: Kris Graves / Courtesy Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

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