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Heaven's Breath

This weather-driven new media installation is based on the dance of Shiva.

Based on an original concept by Chris Welsby, Heaven's Breath is a creative collaboration between Odissi dancer, Scheherazaad Cooper, and media artists Brady Marks and Chris Welsby. The artwork is inspired by an eleventh century figurine depicting the Hindu God, Shiva, performing the dance of creation and destruction.

According to the Hindu faith, Shiva's dance brought the universe into existence, not unlike the Big Bang of Western scientific cosmology. Heaven's Breath combines Oddisi dance with interactive technology and real time weather data. The animation of images and accompanying sound effects is driven by the power of the wind, which is in turn driven by the rotation of the earth. In this way, the artwork seeks to connect Shiva's dance, via the earth's orbit, to the gravitational forces of the solar system and the far reaches of the universe. Drawing on the cosmologies of East and West, and the knowledge of the ancient and modern world, the installation uses digital technology to make connections between science, religion and art.

About the Artists

Chris Welsby

Chris Welsby has been making films and film/video installations since 1969. His art practice focuses on creating holistic models of nature and technology through media. Inspired by both the arts and sciences, Welsby’s work seeks to explore consciousness, the role of the observer, and our relationship to all things in our environment.

Brady Marks

Brady Marks is an emerging talent; an audio-active emitter in the fields of new media and new music. She is an explorer–artist and former scientist–using computer code the way others use words, paint or notes to communicate ideas, pose questions, observe and interpret her environment.

Scheherazaad Cooper

Scheherazaad Cooper is an Odissi Classical Indian dancer and a student of contemporary dance. She has performed internationally since the age of three. She too has advised on the development of the project. Scheherazaad has interpreted the traditional postures and has performed them. She dances the role of Shiva in the work.

Read the exhibition brochure.

Image credit: Video still of Heaven's Breath by Chris Welsby, Brady Marks, and Scheherazaad Cooper.