Breathing Restraint
2016 Installation

"Breathing Restraint" is an interactive installation utilising the communications protocol. It is presented as a hybrid of internet device and medical equipment. Synchronizing with the respiratory rate of the participant, the installation keeps sending a certain amount of data packets to an online server while catching those that are bounced back. During the process, packets may get lost gradually due to the communication failures of the Internet and/or infrastructure issues. These lost packets will be presented by the state of solenoid air valves on the device, which will lead to momentary stuck while inhaling. After several rounds of breathing through the installation, the participant might barely have access to air.

Through connecting the state of the smallest information unit of Internet with an essential activity of human body, "Breathing Restraint" transforms hardly noticed yet ubiquitous incidents on the Internet, the data transmission that is determined by numerous nodes, into an unique sensory experience. The feeling of either smooth breathing or transitory lack of air is formed and manipulated by all (designed) autonomous nodes on the path in-between the echo server and the installation. In another word, the experience is intruded and irritated by the tremendous and intangible traffic of the network, as well as infrastructures in various geographical locations, which are operating under different social, cultural, economic and political conditions.