The Breath Between Us

The Breath Between Us

The Breath Between Us is a durational performance inspired by conversations between artist, Pernille Spence and scientist, Dr Sonia Rocha from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression at Dundee University.  Spence was intrigued by Dr Rocha’s research into hypoxia, where she is looking at how cells respond to low oxygen levels.  Through these conversations Spence became interested in working with the invisibility of oxygen, and using controlled breathing techniques she explored how the body would respond to fluctuating oxygen levels during a prolonged period of time.

Over 3.5 hours, the artist’s breath became visible as she transferred the breath from her body into a meteorological weather balloon until it expanded to the height of the artist herself.  Throughout the performance it was unknown if she was able to achieve full inflation of the weather balloon due the physical demands of the performative action itself.  This performance is one of a series by Pernille Spence that continues to explore ideas surrounding failure and the failing body.


The Breath Between Us was a commissioned performance for the ‘Shared Imagination Symposium’ and Exhibition, a Wellcome Trust and Exhibitions, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, collaborative event.  The performance took place on the 6th October 2011.



Photographs by Ross Maclean

The Breath Between Us