BBC Broadcasting House, London, UK

Commissioned by: The British Broadcasting Corporation, 2002
Curated by: Vivien Lovell - Modus Operandi Art Consultant

Breathing is a 48 foot high inverted glass cone, etched with a text about silence, written by the artist himself, rising from the roof of the new Broadcasting House building. At dark the cone glows and at key times a white light beam projects from its base into the night sky.

The piece is sensitive to its context while adding a highly poetic element, which is appropriate alongside the messages of aspiration and open radio mast on Broadcasting House. The piece gives them another dimension, and also uses the lip-out windows in the new building as an effective "plinth" grounding it in the overall scheme.


turns and turns on the crystal glass.
The sonorous glass trembles with the touch
and speaks:
It's voice is our voice
It's body is our body
turns and turns on the crystal body.
Our body tattooed by silence.
Like a lighthouse on the coast, we need to locate points
of reference in our lives that help us to fix, like a perfume,
the most fleeting scents, the flashing sparkles.
Silence grows toward the silence and quiets.
Each person is a "place".
Every woman, every man, every child is a habitable space that shifts and evolves;
A "place" in the sense of time, geography, volume and color.
turns and turns on the crystal glass,
on our silent body.
Silent is a desire, a dream, an aspiration,
something so unknown and inaccessible, that we can only imagine it.
Silence is a voice, our voice.
Silence is a body, our body.
turns and turns on the crystal glass breathing in our body.
I invite you to breathe.
I invite you to imagine the silence.

Jaume Plensa. Chicago, October 2003