“…we are walking the razor’s edge—we are in the present moment.”
– Charlotte Joko Beck, This Very Moment

The breath is a constant reminder of our physicality and an anchor to our embodied experience. In these video portraits performers exhale slowly against an unseen piece of glass, fogging and obscuring their faces in fleeting moments between breaths. When shown on individual vertical video monitors, it creates the illusion that the performers are breathing against the glass of the screen. This work references the use of the “breath test” in the era before modern medicine where a mirror would be placed under the nose of the dying to test for respiration.

The illusion in the video is uncanny and the screen itself becomes the edge of the razor that separates both past from present, performer from viewer, and the living presence of the viewer from the illusion of life on the screen. An exploration in impermanence, embodiment, and the mediating presence of the screen, the work captures the breath – making it visible just long enough to be confronted by both performer and viewer.

BY  Stefani Byrd (US)

Stefani Byrd’s art practice includes video, new media, and interactive technologies. Byrd’s early work addressed social justice issues in the form of interactive temporary public art installations that created role reversal, or "empathy training,” experiences for the audience. Her current work focuses on creating psychologically charged immersive media environments addressing topics such as digital feminism, gun violence, and how technology impacts empathy in digitally mediated spaces. Her work has been exhibited at places such as the CICA Museum (South Korea), SONIC MATTER New Music Festival (Zurich), the Museum of Contemporary Art of San Diego (San Diego), the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (Atlanta), and the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art (San Luis Obispo). She has received grants and support from groups such as: Creative Capital of New York, Flux Projects, Atlanta Celebrates Photography, and Idea Capital. Byrd's work is held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia and the Columbus Museum of American Art. She received her BFA degree in Photography from Georgia State University. She holds a Masters Degree in Visual Art from the University of California San Diego. Byrd is currently an Assistant Professor of Experimental Media in the Film Studies Department at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.