Breath of Life / Columbus
Programmable LED lighting
New York, NY
February 1–March 17, 2012
Mayor Michael Coleman threw the switch on Breath of Life / Columbus on the evening of February 1, 2012, illuminating environmental artist Stuart Williams's installation of colored LED lighting on the east façade of COSI. The work was programmed to create slowly undulating waves of light that changed hue and repeatedly swept up and down the building. Williams likened the relaxed pace of the rising and ebbing washes of light to slow breathing, as though the building were in a Zen-like state of meditation. Scioto Mile Park was an ideal vantage point from which to view this northern-light-like installation and its reflection on the river.
Early in our conversations with Williams, Columbus Art Commission Chair Diane Nance suggested that it might be possible for him to also do a project in Dresden, Germany, one of Columbus’s sister cities. This led to meetings with the boards of Dresden Sister City and Columbus Sister Cities International. Through these connections, Williams made contacts in Dresden, traveled there, and began negotiating for a site to do a companion light work. In October 2014, he received final approval from the Dresden Cathedral for Lebensatem / Dresden (Breath of Life / Dresden), his installation on the cathedral’s 275-foot-tall bell tower. It was on view for six weeks beginning February 13, 2015.