It takes 154,000 breaths to evacuate Boston

Art & Design, Walking

kanarinka ran the entire evacuation route system in Boston and attempted to measure the distance in human breath. The project also involves a podcast and a sculptural installation of the archive of tens of thousands of breaths .

The project is an attempt to measure our post-9/11 collective fear in the individual breaths that it takes to traverse these new geographies of insecurity.

The $827,500 Boston emergency evacuation system was installed in 2006 to demonstrate the city’s preparedness for evacuating people in snowstorms, hurricanes, infrastructure failures, fires and/or terrorist attacks.

It takes 154,000 breaths to evacuate Boston consists of:

  1. a series of running performances in public space (2007)
  2. a web podcast of breaths (2007)
  3. a sculptural installation of the archive of breaths (2008)

Running Performances

Website & Podcast website
Project Website:

Archive of Breaths (sculptural piece)

Medium: custom-made table, 26 jars, 26 speaker components, wire, 13 CD players
Dimensions: 45″x72″x16″

I created a sculptural & audio archive of the collection of breaths. There are 26 jars on a custom-made table which correspond to the 26 runs it took to cover the evacuation routes. Each jar size corresponds to the number of breaths from that run. The speaker inside the jar plays the breaths collected from that run. (Better documentation coming soon)

This piece is on view in Experimental Geography, a traveling show curated by Nato Thompson and produced by ICI.