bret battey • bat hat media


Three Breaths in Empty Space

Video + Sound Installation (2019)

Three Breaths in Empty Space is a contemplative audiovisual installation for two-screen-wide projection and quad sound.

Phenomena arising and passing in Emptiness.
Striated nerve patterns in the body-mind,
Quantum foam on an invisible wave,
Fragments of a vast nebula.
Shimmering instabilities.

Is this how essence hides?

Three Breaths in Empty Space was commissioned by Phoenix Cinema and Gallery, Leicester, with the support of Arts Council England, to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Phoenix's move to Phoenix Square. The installation premiered Nov 19 to Dec 31, 2019.


Technical Details

I manipulated the visual mechanism that yielded the closing moments of Estuaries 2 to create a fourteen-minute seamless loop organised into three vast “breaths”.

I developed the visual material with my OptiNelder plug-in filter for Apple’s Motion 5 video effects software, providing hundreds to thousands of mathematical algorithms exploring an input image to discover the brightest points.

The audio entails a continuous chord created with my compressed-feedback synthesis algorithm, expressing a harmonic field derived from the opening of Ravel's piano piece Ondine (1908). Custom code in Max controlled audio granulation and filtering of this chord. Additional material arose from time-stretching and convolution of samples from Ondine, plus slowed, sequenced melodies from its opening section sounding at the peak of each “breath”.

Presentation Details

Image size: 3840x1080 (2x HD width)
Sound: 4-channel surround


  • Installation
    • Nov-Dec, 2019 – Phoenix Cinema and Gallery, Leicester, UK [premiere]