Skip to contentSkip to navigation
Become a Member
Explore today's schedule
Visit MMFA for free by becoming a Member
Learn more
Back

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Last Breath (Último Suspiro)

Artist

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Born in Mexico City in 1967

Title

Last Breath (Último Suspiro)

Date

2012

Materials

Motor, bellows, Plexiglas, digital display, custom circuitry, Arduino processor, respiratory tubing, brown paper bag, 3/6

Dimensions

Variable dimensions

Credits

Purchase, the Canada Council for the Arts' Acquisition Assistance Program and the Janet G. Bailey Fund, inv. 2013.792.1-2

Collection

Quebec and Canadian Art

Last Breath is an installation designed specifically to preserve and circulate the breath of a person in perpetuity. Based on the artificial respirators used in hospitals, a part of the work consists of a paper bag that automatically fills up and deflates according to a human respiratory rate. The device driving its mechanism is mounted on the wall and is activated 10,000 times a day – the normal breathing rate for an adult – letting out 158 sighs. The artist considers the “visible” preservation and circulation of breath an individual’s biometric portrait, a sign of life that persists well beyond that person’s death. In this edition, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer immortalized the breath of the Quebec poet and novelist Nicole Brossard, a celebrated activist for feminist and LGBTQ+ causes. Her breath of creativity and protest will thus be preserved in the reservoir of this work, the artist’s living memorial.

© Rafael Lozano-Hemmer / SOCAN (2021)

Add a touch of culture to your inbox
Subscribe to the Museum newsletter

Bourgie Hall Newsletter sign up

This website uses cookies in order to optimize your browsing experience and for promotional purposes. To learn more, please see our policy on the protection of personal Iinformation