Chris Chafe and Greg Niemeyer: Oxygen Flute

  • A giant box shaped room with transparent materials. It has an octagon top, a thick metal frame, stairs with four low steps for easy access, and two open doors at the very top of the steps that open widely.

    Chris Chafe and Greg Niemeyer, 
    "Oxygen Flute," 2001, mixed media 

    This remarkable collaborative installation by Bay Area-based artists Chafe and Niemeyer created an active relationship between SJMA visitors and a group of bamboo plants growing in the installation. Each participant walked up the stairs into a walled chamber, closed the door, and breathed. Through a unique process, the participant’s breath within the plant-filled environment was translated into music.

    The artists received a grant from Intel Corporation for Oxygen Flute and its related research. In addition to Chafe and Niemeyer, the following team worked to realize the project: Patricio de la Cuadra, flute physical model design; Ben Dean, production designer; Michael Gurevich, hydrophone recordings of shrimp in Monterey; Richard Mortimer Humphrey, I/O Programmer; and Manuel Planessi, Welding.

    Project realization for Oxygen Flute was funded by Intel Corporation, and Installation signage was provided by Digital Signage.