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Breathing with Yeast


Keyan Huang

“Breathing with Yeast” is a performance experiment inspired by the sugar yeast balloon experiments conducted in many chemistry classrooms. Due to being microfungi and invisible to the naked eye, yeast is not recognized as a living thing by the general public. Giving a voice to yeast, the project draws a parallel line between the biological features of humans and yeast in their way of consuming sugar and releasing CO2 which proves the liveliness of this creature and advocates for its existence beyond the conventional uses in the culinary world.

In the shared time and space, both humans and yeast coexist without the pressure of tasks or productivity, emphasizing the beauty in the act of being. It's a meditative pause, a celebration of the present moment where the sweetness of life is savored, and the breaths taken become a shared rhythm in the symphony of existence. The contrast with the usual roles of yeast in bread and wine fermentation also invites contemplation on the diverse roles and expressions of living organisms. In addition to breathing, the artist also consumes sugar-rich food with the yeast to emphasize the parallel in our abilities, even though we are so far apart on the evolutionary map. To breathe is to exist; to eat is to exist. The yeast and humans both consume and breathe into balloons to visualize the process and the result of this experiment. To further develop the concept, I would love to integrate temperature and activity levels into the parallel.

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