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London Olympics Reject Olafur Eliasson’s ‘Breath Bubble’ Art Installation

“Take your breathing people and scram,” weren’t the words used by the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games when talking to artist Olafur Eliasson about a project he’d proposed, but rejection was the basic sentiment and it seemed like a good way to start a post. After being encouraged to submit a proposal by the Committee, Eliasson requested £1 million to put together a project called “Take a Deep Breath,” which the BBC describes as an “installation would have invited people to inhale and exhale on behalf of ‘a person, a movement or a cause’ and record it on a website in a personal ‘breath bubble.’” The Committee took a look and decided that not only was the project not “particularly attractive” but also “seemed very expensive.” So, to extend our opening to this post, the organizers were essentially saying “Take your overly expensive breathing people and scram.” But again, we’re putting words into mouths. The tragedy, of course, is that this rejection, however well reasoned, means that the world may never see a functioning “personal breath bubble” unless Eliasson finds someone else with the cash to build, assemble, or however one would go about making a “personal breath bubble” in this day and age.

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