In October and November 2016, Breathing Lights illuminated the windows of hundreds of vacant buildings in Albany, Schenectady and Troy, NY. Warm light filled each window with a diffuse glow that mimicked the gentle rhythm of human breathing. Concentrated in neighborhoods with high levels of vacancy, Breathing Lights transformed abandoned structures from pockets of shadows into places of warmth.
This unprecedented, multi-city installation also transformed public streets into an evocative experience and provided a platform to reinvigorate stakeholders around the Capital Region’s most visible symptom of decades of disinvestment. Working with dozens of community and private-sector partners, Breathing Lights included eight months of programming and events, including youth media projects, building reclamation clinics, community arts presentations, gallery talks, policy discussions and more. At the end of the installation, windows – one by one – fell dark. In sharing a sense of loss came a stir to action.