Breathing together, city-wide

In this divided and fast-moving world, BREATHE is a large scale installation inviting us to slow down, gather around, and breathe together in unison.

The central heartbeat of the installation is a fifteen-metre rising sphere pulsing with a warm, slow rhythmic light. People are invited to sit around the sphere and sync their breath to it. At the same time, monuments, public screens and natural features throughout the city are pusling in sync; one full city breathing together.

Breathe is about slowing down, so take your time, sit down if you can, and take in the experience.

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Logo Genève

World premiere: Geneva, Switzerland, May 16 – 26 2024
Co-organiser: Ville de Genève
Heartbeat: Plaine de Plainpalais
Pulsing partners / locations:

  • Jet d’eau (May 18 & May 25)
  • Grand Théâtre de Genève
  • Phare des Bains des Pâquis
  • Musée Rath
  • More to be announced soon


BREATHE is a 15-metre pulsating dome of light which invites us to breathe together in unison. Its rhythmic light provides a gentle, steady guide to help us slow down, take respite from our hectic city lives, and feel connected both within ourselves and to others - globally.

Inspired by science, BREATHE engages us in the present moment and re-awakens our sense of belonging and interconnection, as a common species, to the world we live in. The experience connects strangers through what unites us at our core. It’s a beautiful and simple reminder that in essence - regardless of our differences - we are all the same.

The BREATHE sphere glows from dim to light and back in repeated cycles, mirroring inhalations and exhalations of 6 seconds each. Whilst individual physiologies vary, this rate of five breaths per minute is widely considered optimal for both physical and mental wellbeing.

The artwork features a synchronised soundscape created by Laurent Jespersen.

Beyond the sphere : city-wide pulsing

While the rising sphere is the heartbeat of BREATHE, its presence is the catalyst for a larger city-wide experience. Around the city, key monuments, famous natural features and public screens pulse in sync, amplifing the installation’s resonance and uniting the whole city in a shared experience.

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Conscious breathing has been used to restore body and mind for thousands of years, all over the world It is scientifically proven that just a few minutes of breathing exercises can:

  • calm the mind
  • improve focus and concentration
  • improve cognitive performance
  • reduce stress and anxiety
  • lower blood pressure
  • relax physical tension
  • improve endurance and reduce fatigue
  • improve quality of sleep

Most of us breathe between 12-20 breaths per minute, when in fact 5-6 breaths per minute optimizes our health, alleviates stress and anxiety, and puts us into a more relaxed, creative state. This is known as breathing at “resonance frequency”.

Cardiac coherence

Cardiac coherence, also known as heart coherence, is a state where the heart, mind, and emotions are aligned and work together harmoniously. It involves a rhythmic pattern of heart rate that reflects a balanced autonomic nervous system (ANC) - the part of the nervous system that controls bodily functions like heart rate and breathing.

Practicing cardiac coherence is straightforward and involves simple breathing techniques such as:

  1. Breathe in slowly for 5 or 6 seconds: fill your lungs gradually.
  2. Exhale slowly for 5 or 6 seconds: a smooth and steady exhale helps activate the relaxation response.

Repeat this breathing cycle for about 5 to 10 minutes, twice daily, to help shift your heart into a coherent state. Regular practice can help maintain a calm, clear, and emotionally balanced state throughout the day.

Through connecting to our breath, we also become aware of the simplicity of our human connection; regardless of our differences we are intrinsically the same.

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Artivist Dan Acher is the founder of Happy City Lab and an Ashoka Fellow based in Geneva, Switzerland. Central to his work is art as generator of change across local and global communities. Dan’s installation have been presented around the world.

Dan uses cities as playgrounds in which citizens of all backgrounds can connect and engage with the key issues of our time, both individually and collectively. His large-scale installations are designed to evoke awe and communal introspection; their size and humanity remind us that we are all in this together.


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