In October and November 2016, Breathing Lights illuminated the windows of hundreds of vacant houses in Albany, Schenectady and Troy, NY. Warm light filled each window with a diffuse glow that mimicked the gentle rhythm of human breathing. Concentrated in neighborhoods with high levels of vacancy, Breathing Lights transformed abandoned structures from pockets of shadows into places of warmth. Lead artists Adam Frelin and Barbara Nelson worked with dozens of regional partners to secure and install at 200 sites and to produce eight months of programming and events, including youth media projects, building reclamation clinics, community arts presentations and policy discussions. The unprecedented, multi-city installation reinvigorated partners around the Capital Region’s most visible symptom of decades of disinvestment. At the end of the installation, houses – one by one – fell dark. In sharing a sense of loss came a stir to action. Breathing Lights illuminated windows in 200 vacant houses in the New York Capital Region cities of Albany, Schenectady, and Troy. Most houses lit were owned by cities, counties or land banks. Breathing Lights lit approximately 10% of the 2,000 vacant buildings in the region. Not surprisingly, the vacant houses were concentrated in the most disinvested neighborhoods in each city –Arbor Hill and the South End in Albany, North Troy, and Hamilton Hill and Mount Pleasant in Schenectady. Full maps can be viewed at www.breathinglights.com/locations.
City of Schenectady, NY
City of Troy, NY