Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Breathless Moment Pilot

Breathless Moment Pilot is a Klejs & Rønsholdt production commissioned as a research project by The Royal Opera House in London, produced in collaboration with TEKNE Production, CAVI, DR’s Radiokor, and EditionS, and will be available as an app in the future. This article describes Breathless Moment Pilot which is separate to the newer project named Breathless Moment.

Breathless Moment interprets the ancient story of Iphis and Anaxarete, as told in Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Bk. XIV, 698-771): The cold-hearted princess Anaxarete rejects the wooing and persistent declarations of love of the young Iphis. Finally, broken hearted, he gives up, and hangs himself. Anaxarete is punished by the gods, and “the stone that had long existed in her heart possessed her body” – she is turned to stone.

The app is presented as a frozen moment in time. The user experiences and explores this moment, and gradually unfolds the drama by moving around in virtual space. “The frozen moment” describes the public funeral procession for Iphis, who lies on a bier with his grieving mother beside him, and the crowd following them, while from a distance, from an apartment window, Anaxarete is watching, as she turns to stone. This is the first moment of her breathless eternity. 

A square/corner in present day London. A funeral procession for Iphis takes place in the middle of this space. Iphis lies on a bier, with his mother beside him. Further away, Anaxarete watches the scene from an apartment window, as she turns to stone. This is the moment in its entirety. The user is only able to access limited parts of the space at a time, however. This is how the drama unfolds, and the story is told – not in time, but in space. We call such a limited part of the larger space a “zone”, within which the user may move freely.