Desert Breath is a Land Art project created by D.A.ST. Arteam. The team was founded in 1995 by: Danae Stratou (installation artist), Alexandra Stratou (industrial designer & architect), Stella Constantinides (architect), for the purpose of creating this project.
The project is rooted in our common desire to work in the desert. In our mind’s eye the desert was a place where one experiences infinity. We were addressing the desert as a state of mind, a landscape of the mind. The point of departure was the conical form, the natural formation of the sand as a material.
Desert Breath expands in an area of 100.000 m2, in the eastern Sahara desert bordering the Red Sea in El Gouna, Egypt. It is a site-specific work that generated out of our perception of the site itself. Its construction consists of the displacement of 8.000 m3 of sand formed so as to create precise positive and negative conical volumes. The conical volumes form two interlocking spirals that move out from a common centre with a phase difference of 180o degrees in the same direction of rotation. The centre is a 30-metre diameter vessel formed in a W-shaped section and filled with water to its rim.
Located between the sea and a body of mountains at the point where the immensity of the sea meets the immensity of the desert, the work functions on two different levels in terms of viewpoint: from above as a visual image, and from the ground, walking the spiral pathway, a physical experience.
The construction of Desert Breath was completed in March 1997. Desert Breath still exists becoming through its slow disintegration, an instrument to measure the passage of time.
To view Desert Breath on Google Earth go to coordinates: 27°22’54.59″N, 33°37’48.46″E
I imagine two parallel realities in the way that we view the world. There is the world inside and the world outside of us. It is through the senses that we are able to connect the inside to the outside world. My whole life, including the choice to become an artist, has been an attempt to re-search, to understand, and to connect these two parallel realities. To bridge what is within to what is without…
Naturally my works are triggered or have a point of departure either in the external or in the internal world. Initially, an idea is generated in the form of an internal image, which in turn needs to be answered intellectually and put into context. This process seems to me to have its point of departure in the world of the subconscious, which then surfaces into the conscious realm. Following from there, the initial idea decodes itself as it evolves into realisation and ends up ‘translating itself’ in to an artwork. It is a bit like a journey, which slowly reveals itself as I journey towards it.
The reason why most of my work takes the form of tactile, multimedia installations lies in my aim to involve the viewer in a physical way; to enable her or him to become immersed into it. In order to achieve this physical ‘pull’ I often use rhythm and repetitive movement. They reflect the pulse and recurrence that are constitutive of life. They are basic elements of life itself. Rhythm and repetition help open up and prepare the mind for the elusive connection of the conscious and subconscious worlds.