Artwork: Photo series, Just Breathe, ongoing since 2016.
Process: To create her art, Alterwitz recruited participants to capture 30-second spans of life by photographing the processing of breathing. While lying outside on their backs, participants rested a camera on their diaphragm, pointing upwards to the sky, and simply breathed. Alterwitz clicked open the shuttle for a 30-second long exposure. This captured a truly unique image of each person’s breath, combining the "skyscape" with the moment of the person’s chest up with each inhale and exhale. Each photograph, Alterwitz explains, documented the “physicality and essence of each participant as well as their common connection to the infinite.”
Materials: Construction paper, crayons or colored pencils, toothpicks, picnic blanket
Age range: The whole family!
You will be outdoors for the first part of this project. Gather your picnic blanket, a piece of blue, purple, or black construction paper, and crayons or colored pencils. This project can be done during the day, at night, OR both times of day! Find a comfy space outside to lie down.
Look up at the sky. What do you see? Can anyone in your family name any stars, constellations, or types of clouds? The sky has many colors—what colors do you see? Does anything block your view of the sky, like a tree branch or a passing plane? Take some time to lie together, noticing how your perception of the sky shifts as time goes on. How do you feel when you look up at the sky? Does your breath speed up or slow down? Can you feel your heartbeat?
Use your paper, crayons, and colored pencils to make a rough sketch of the stars, constellations, or objects that you see.
Return inside and add details to your drawing. Use crayons and colored pencils to create shades of color to your sky. Try to use color to show the light and weather; you can include sunbeams, fog, rain, anything! If you added constellations to your sky drawing, you can even “connect the dots” of the stars in your constellation.
Using a toothpick, create holes in your paper where you drew your stars or sunbeams. You can experiment with a hole-punch or a sewing needle to make holes of different sizes.
When you are satisfied with your sky, tape your finished drawing to a window in your home. During the day, light will beam through the holes and illuminate your drawing!
Missoula Art Museum
335 North Pattee
Missoula, MT 59802
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