Madrid Breathing

Gloria Zein

Length: 5' 12''

Madrid breathing is a pulsatile composition entirely based on the sound of her breath, which has been digitally modified and arranged like a piece of music. She has conceived of the project for the radio. Her aim is to have it played in as many cities worldwide as possible.

The 'breathing' project is the idea of a collective, large-scale happening, in which all inhabitants of Madrid can participate. Right before transmission, the radio-audience should be asked to open their windows and project the sound onto the street. Passing pedestrians will perceive the sound emerging from the surrounding buildings as if the architecture itself reflected the rhythm of life.

At night, acoustic signals seem louder than in during daytime. Nocturnal temperature inversions make sound travel further as it is reflected off the upper inversion layer. Also, general noise emission decreases and single sounds can be more easily distinguished.

Late at night, as traffic slows down and most have birds hushed, we perceive the nightly-active animals and the human society with its nocturnal noises: a single car passing by, music pouring out of bars and clubs, dialogue-bits, sounds of radio and TV, someone snoring or the neighbours making love.

At other times or places, there are detonations - flight-bombers tend to circulate by night. Windows are broken, books or religious centres burned. With the help of fire and electricity the humans have become horribly inventive concerning their nocturnal activities. Sometimes, the air finally seems still - and the individual finds himself alone. Now imagine, you were walking through Madrid at night and the buildings started to breath softly.

The composition was created in collaboration with sound engineer Eric B. Barr.