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Breathing Pavilion

Breathing Pavilion, Ekene Ijeoma (2021). Photo: Kris Graves

Breathing Pavilion by Ekene Ijeoma creates a public space of reprieve during this time of intense hardship and loss. You’re invited to enter the pavilion and breathe in time with the changing light for a moment of communal meditation.

Breathing Pavilion is on view March 16–May 11 at The Plaza at 300 Ashland in Brooklyn. Coproduced by Van Alen Institute and Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Breathing Pavilion is our first public realm installation in the borough.

Breathing Pavilion comprises a 30-foot circle of 20 nine-foot two-tone illuminated inflatable columns. These columns slowly modulate in brightness to illustrate a deep breathing technique designed to bring calm. You’re invited to breathe in time with the changing light and attune yourself to a shared rhythm of respite.

Created in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and systemic racial injustice in the United States, Breathing Pavilion offers sanctuary at a time of intense hardship and loss, 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.

Breathing Pavilion is part of Van Alen Institute’s Public Realm R&D program, intended to surface the work of emerging designers and test new strategies to bring people together in public space.

Presented with support from Two Trees Management Co.

Ekene Ijeoma. Photo: Kris Graves
Breathing Pavilion, Ekene Ijeoma (2021). Photo: Kris Graves
Breathing Pavilion, Ekene Ijeoma (2021). Photo: Kris Graves
Breathing Pavilion, Ekene Ijeoma (2021). Photo: Kris Graves
Breathing Pavilion, Ekene Ijeoma (2021). Photo: Kris Graves

“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. 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.”

—Ekene Ijeoma

Ekene Ijeoma is an artist, professor of Media Arts and Science at MIT, and founder/director of the Poetic Justice group at MIT Media Lab. Through both his studio and lab at MIT, Ijeoma researches social inequality across multiple fields including social science to develop artworks in sound, video, multimedia, sculpture and installation.

Ijeoma’s work has been commissioned and presented by art institutions including Contemporary Art Museum of Houston, The Kennedy Center, Museum of the City of New York, Neuberger Museum of Art, and Annenberg Space for Photography. Ijeoma’s practice has also been supported by grants, fellowships and residencies including Creative Capital, Map Fund, Wave Farm, The Kennedy Center, and New York Foundation for the Arts.

March 16–May 11, 2021
The Plaza at 300 Ashland
Brooklyn, NY

The Plaza at 300 Ashland is located at the intersection of Lafayette Ave and Flatbush Ave in Brooklyn, a short walk from the B/D, N/Q/R, 2/3, and 4/5 subway lines at Atlantic-Barclays, the G train at Fulton St, and the C train at Lafayette Ave, as well as a number of bus stops.

In keeping with COVID-19 guidelines, please wear a mask and stay at least six feet apart. You’re encouraged to move within and around the work, but do not touch the inflatables.

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📍 The Plaza at 300 Ashland

Breathing Pavilion will also host a weekly music series of site-specific performances featuring solo wind and percussion jazz musicians in meditative sets. All performances begin at 7 pm and are drop-in (no RSVP required).

Tuesday, 3/23: Kalia Vandever, Trombone

Tuesday, 3/30: Melanie Charles, Flute
View archived live stream.

Tuesday, 4/6: Joel Ross, Vibraphones (rain date 4/9)
View archived live stream.

Tuesday, 4/13: Baba Don Babatunde, Percussion (rain date 4/16)

Tuesday, 4/20: Neil Clarke, Percussion (rain date 4/23)

Tuesday, 4/27: Lakecia Benjamin, Saxophone (rain date 4/30)

Tuesday, 5/4: Participatory Drum Circle led by Mr. Fitz of the Brooklyn Music School (rain date 5/7)

Saturday, 5/8: Keyon Harrold, Trumpet (rain date 5/9)