Dryden Goodwin – Breathe

9th - 28th October 2012

Houses of Parliament, London, UK

For ‘Breathe’, artist Dryden Goodwin created over a thousand drawings of a five year old boy (his son) inhaling and exhaling air. Combining the drawings to create an animation, this showed the boy’s fluctuating breathing patterns, at some moments regular, and at others more laboured as he stared out from the frame. The piece was projected on a large scale on the roof of St. Thomas’ Hospital, London, opposite the Houses of Parliament. 

The child’s torso in ‘Breathe’ emphasizes the physicality of the act of breathing and draws attention to the vulnerability of children whose developing respiratory system is most at risk from pollution. The piece takes a critical perspective on London’s air quality. London is one of the most polluted cities in Europe despite air pollution having a visible noted effect on health. Official studies show that air pollution – mainly from traffic – causes more premature deaths than passive smoking and traffic accidents combined, at a cost of about £2bn a year.

“The act of breath embodies the transcoding of air – from the ethereal to solid, the invisible to the concrete, the fluid to the dense.”

– Dryden Goodwin

‘Breathe’ was created through a collaboration between Goodwin and eminent air pollution scientist Professor Frank Kelly (King’s College London), who chairs COMEAP, a Government medical advisory committee on air pollutants, and leads a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

EXHALE / Invisible Breath:
King’s College London Biomedical Research Centre-funded study ‘Exhale’, which examined the implications of the Low Emission Zone on the lung health of eight year olds in East London. Professor Kelly’s research has raised many questions about the effects of air pollution to children’s health. His studies show that poor diet will exacerbate the harmful effects of air pollution on children living in cities such as London.
To see the education programme linked to ‘Breathe’, please click here.

Click here to check the air pollution levels in London.

‘Breathe’ was part of ‘Invisible Breath’, a series of artists commissions by Dryden Goodwin, HeHe and Faisal Abdu’Allah exploring air pollution and breathing air. ‘Breathe’ was produced by Invisible Dus, curated by Alice Sharp and was supported by The Wellcome Trust, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity and Arts Council England.

Image: © ‘Breathe’ Dryden Goodwin, photo from St Thomas’ roof, commissioned by Invisible Dust, 2012.


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