Shilo Shiv Suleman and Saba Ghole

Project Summary

Visualized as a grove of beautiful low hanging trees, Grove is an interactive art installation that uses breath sensors to create a meditative and immersive experience. A reflection on the interdependence of breath, Grove uses biofeedback sensors, connecting our inner workings with tangible art installations.

Physical Description

From the lead artists behind Pulse and Bloom, Grove brings together artists from India with neurotechnologists and architects from America, making it a truly global collaboration. Grove is a meditation on the interdependence of breath. Every time we breathe in, we inhale the ‘out breath’ of a tree around us, placing ourselves in a constant state of union between the macro-forest outside, and the micro-forest of alveoli within our lungs.

While Pulse and Bloom 2014 ( explored biosynchronicity between people and their heartbeats, Grove uses technology related to the quantified self, to break down the idea of self entirely and to remind us that we are all interconnected, through breath, to every living creature on this planet; from the leaves on trees to the sand of the desert.

Grove reminds us that we are constantly in union with the natural world. Sit beneath a large desert tree within a Grove, in an oasis of LED lights, and smell the beautiful flowers that hang off the tree. As you take a deep breath in and inhale the fragrance of the flower, you empty the tree of its oxygen (visualized as light). And as you breathe out, you fill the tree with the light of your breath, reminding us of our symbiotic relationship with the natural world. Breathing becomes the thread that connects all things, as we feed the macro-forest around us with Co2, and they in turn fed us with oxygen, creating a cycle of connection.

Moreover, the LED undergrowth of the forest integrates motion sensors, creating an under bed of gently glowing and swaying LED pods that react to the motion of people around them like touch me nots, but also the wind currents in the playa. By connecting breath to wind using technology, we are reminded that the force touches all things. As the winds on the playa get more and more intense, the undergrowth in the forest begins to glow bright, inviting people to come and take shelter in the grove.

Like Pulse and Bloom, Grove creates an oasis of calm and interconnection. Inspired by the works of Davinci, Grove explores the connections between our deepest anatomies, technology, math and beauty. It makes our invisible worlds visible using technology and brings people together. We aim to draw people in, suggest that they work together, and give them a beautiful reward when they synchronize their breathing.

As the piped tree trunks wind up to create the canopy above, they will sway and come together to hug each other to create spaces both intimate and large. The tree trunks will help to create intimate nooks for smaller groups of 3-4 people to gather and wider domed spaces for larger groups of people (15-20) to gather and relax. By creating a variety of spaces within the Grove, people can meander until finding the perfect spot for them to connect with one another and with the trees and community around them.


‘Grove’ brings together the latest medical grade sensors with beautiful artisanal design and craftsmanship from India. Each tree has 2 breath sensors inside hanging vines on opposite sides. As the two participants make eye contact, to bring people together (no judgement of course about relationships with >2 people!) the tree will slowly pulsate a different color in sync with each participant's breathing rhythm.

As the two participants’ breathing rates and phase start to sync up, the tree will start to pulsate in a more elaborate, detailed and beautiful pattern as a celebration of that moment of union. As the breathing rate of participants of adjacent trees begins to sync, those trees will start to pulsate in sync and also light up in patterns that show that those trees are “All one” and in union ( but not in the Dr. Bronners sense, more existentially). Our work comes out of research examining biosynchronization, lots of studies show that the breath rates of teachers teaching a class and lovers and close family members often sync up when in an intimate environment. Upon receiving feedback from the tree, the participants will also consciously start to breathe together, making the grove brighter and illuminated. Once everyone is breathing in sync, the trees will light up in to create in a mystical bright white glow, creating an even heightened sense of connection and energy amongst the participants.

The second and more subtle layer of interaction happens in the dense LED undergrowth of the forest. While breath is one of the invisible and subtle workings of the body we’d like to bring to light, there are much larger forces of nature (like wind) that connect us to all things. Being on the playa, one surrenders to the forces of nature, and as the winds blow across the white sand, LED pods that surround the tree start to glow and sway in response. While sand covers the horizon, a glowing grove of lights guides you and creates an oasis to wait in while the storm passes.


Shilo Shiv Suleman

Small scale prototypes

Shilo Shiv Suleman