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Blow Up: Amplifies Breath Into a Windstorm

by Paul Strauss
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This incredible art installation records the tiniest human breathing patterns and magnifies them into a room-filling blast of wind.

Blow Up by Snibbe Interactive

Created by interactive artist Scott Snibbe, Blow Up is comprised of two main pieces. On one side of the room is an array of 12 small impellers which act as a breath-controlled input device. On the other side of the room is a wall with a dozen powerful electric fans.

Blow Up by Snibbe Interactive

The impellers are electronically synchronized with the fans, which automatically adjust to match the direction and velocity input on the tiny controller. In addition to playing real-time “amplified” wind patterns, the system stores the most recently captured breath patterns and replays them in a loop until someone breathes a different pattern.

To really understand how it all works, be sure to check out this cool video clip Snibbe recently posted.

Blow Up was commissioned by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco back in 2005. Even though it’s no longer on exhibit, this is the first time we can all see it in action, all thanks to the magic of YouTube.

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