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Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Last Breath (Último Suspiro)


Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Born in Mexico City in 1967


Last Breath (Último Suspiro)




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


Variable dimensions


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


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 (2024)

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