Desert Breath is a land art project created by the D.A.ST. Arteam. The team was founded in 1995 by Danae Stratou (installation artist), Alexandra Stratou (industrial designer & architect) and Stella Constantinides (architect) for the purpose of creating this specific project.
The project is rooted in the team’s mutual desire to work in the desert. For D.A.ST. the desert was a place where one experiences infinity. They 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.
Sponsored by Orascom Development, Desert Breath expands in an area of 100,000 m2 (1,076,390 sq. ft) in the eastern Sahara desert bordering the Red Sea in El Gouna, Egypt. It is a site-specific work that involved the displacement of 8,000 m3 of sand 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 180 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.
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 and still exists today. Although it is slowly disintegrating, it stands as an instrument to measure the passage of time. You can see the artwork as it looks today on Google Maps/Earth by entering the following coordinates: 27°22’50.10″N, 33°37’54.62″E