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An Interactive Installation Exploring Interconnectedness, Mirror Neurons, Contagious Empathy and Behavioral Ecology.
An Interactive Installation Exploring Interconnectedness, Contagious Empathy and Behavioral Ecology.
An Interactive Installation Exploring Interconnectedness, Contagious Empathy and Behavioral Ecology.
50 backers pledged $2,242 to help bring this project to life.

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Yawning Booth

The Yawning Booth is an interactive installation; a booth where people go to yawn.

It is a little shack that comfortably fits one person. The exterior is made of wood. The interior is soft felty fabric and comfortable. It is an embracing space of limited focus: to experience the environment and sounds.

The function of the Yawning Booth is to simultaneously observe and enact interconnectivity through an experiential exploration of mirror neurons and sympathetic response. It is a place to observe the exterior environment as it is absorbed into the body, digested, then reflected back outside of the body. It is also a nice time out for some deep breaths.

A visitor experiences the Yawning Booth. Redhook, Brooklyn, NY. 2012
A visitor experiences the Yawning Booth. Redhook, Brooklyn, NY. 2012

Inside the little booth, sounds of yawning, one after another potentially activate a sympathetic response by creating a yawn in the person listening. The yawn is passed from me, in the sound of the recordings, through the ears, mind and body of the guest. In the New York show, that was it: a room to receive yawns. The San Francisco show will have an additional video element, so when the yawning guest sits in the booth, a camera, facing the guest, will be live video displayed in another part of the gallery where an observer of the video may receive the Yawning Booth guest's yawn. Perhaps a person in another area in the gallery will then view the video observer yawning across the space and catch their yawn, causing a symphonic embodied realization of interconnectivity. 

There are many ideas about why we yawn, but no one knows for sure. Relaxation.. To stay alert.. Many different animals yawn including dogs, cats, fish and birds. Yawns can even be passed between animals of different species. Sometimes a yawn is a relief, while in other contexts, like in a meeting or a friend is sharing a meaningful story, it could be considered rude. Ideas about why we yawn abound, however the Yawning Booth does not necessarily seek to identify one cause of yawning. The Yawning Booth explores the experience of interconnectivity.  Its purpose is to create a platform of experiential understanding of empathy, environmental sensitivity and the connection between the exterior and interior spheres of existence.

The first Yawning Booth was on display in the sculpture garden at The Intercourse in Redhook, Brooklyn, NY. It was destroyed by hurricane Sandy, picked up like a boat, found on its side 30 feet from where it originally stood. 

The Yawning Booth, Redhook, Brooklyn NY, destroyed by Hurricane Sandy,
The Yawning Booth, Redhook, Brooklyn NY, destroyed by Hurricane Sandy,

I am exited to build the next one soon; to create an external space that brings people further into their interior environment, and likewise deepens the reflection of the internal to the outside. The added video element in the next booth will circulate the yawns even more through the space. With the video, the booth becomes an internal space with a visual field of expression of it's insides. 

The added element of the kickstarter fundraiser for this project has opened the Yawning Booth up to more people than can actually visit the place. I am so exited about the YAWN T-Shirts and investigating what kind of sympathetic reactions occur through reading the word "YAWN"; how the word brain reacts. The shirts are an informal experiment about mirror neurons in addition to being a vehicle to open a dialogue about interconnectivity, empathy, otherness, suggestion, boredom, and breathing. 

Dial Collect is a group exhibition of large-scale audience-interactive installations at SOMArts. Open April 5–26, 2013. Opening April 4, 6-9pm. Curated by Calcagno Cullen. "Works by exhibiting artists will provide dynamic viewing opportunities that allow gallery visitors to interact with the art and with one another." In addition to the Yawning Booth installation, I will be hosting an Art Music Tea Party at SOMArts on April 18: A night of sharing, showing, telling, songs, surprises and tea.

Material Needs:

  • plywood
  • 2/4's
  • hinges
  • interior+ exterior light
  • power chords
  • video camera/ baby monitor
  • amplifier
  • speaker
  • mp3 player
  • yawn recordings
  • shingles
  • screws/drill
  • door handle
  • fabric interior
  • staples/staple gun
  • transportation
  • soup, rice, tea
  • nail gun, nails
  • upholstery tacks
  • t-shirts, ink, screens etc.
  • paint

Thanks you !

~Adriana Atema

Risks and challenges

I think this whole project is a risk and a challenge.
The Yawning Booth incorporates sculpture and structure, is furnished with fabric wallpaper and ambient sounds, there is a video element, lighting, carpentry, forklift, transport.. Not to mention painting paintings and hand-printing t-shirts and trips to the post office for all the rewards... What could possibly go wrong when building a multi-multi-media experiential conceptual public installation?!
.. Past projects prove that this is all within the realm of actualization. My focus is unrelenting, and with the help of a few gracious talented friends, each of the many elements of this project will become a vehicle of awareness of interconnectivity.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    I will say, "Thank You ...(your name)....", out loud, alone in my studio.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Postcard Print Surprise!
    4/6" mailed the old fashioned way with a Thank You note from me!

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    "Yawning Medicine"
    A special download link to bring the sounds of the yawning booth into your very own home! Experiment with activating mirror neurons, listen with friends, breath deeply, use for relaxation. Each yawn I recorded was created as a result of listening to my previous yawn.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    "Yawning Medicine" link and a Thank You Postcard Print!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    YAWN T-Shirt!
    Not only is this T-Shirt devastatingly gorgeous, funny and ironic in a blase making fun of blase way, but it is also a part of an Informal Experiment i will be conducting with those who get back to me. My Hypothesis is that just Reading the Word "YAWN" on a T-Shirt will start people Yawning. Looking forward to hearing from everyone! Perfect for baristas, bartenders, scientists, golfers, parents, children, people who work, the unemployed, tired people, wild people and very intelligent people. Sizes S-M-L, Colors: White or Surprise, all with Hand-Printed Florescent Coral Lettering. Comes with a download link too.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Original Hand-Painted Postcard Painting! about Interconnectivity and Breathing. Mounted on Wood Block Frame and Sent to You! Includes link to the "Yawning Medicine" recording.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    Super Sweet Package! : ∞ The YAWN T-Shirt + Original Hand Painted Framed Postcard Painting + "Yawning Medicine" Sounds !

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Original Hand Painted 12" Painting on Wood about Empathy and Color Medicine, Painted with my Left and Right Hand at the Same Time and this will be sent to you with the "YAWN" T-Shirt, in addition to the Download link!

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    A Personal Tour of the Yawning Booth at SOMArts in San Francisco (this part for Bay area folks between April 5-20) and I take you out to Tea to discuss interconnectivity, empathy, consciousness, sports or whatever. During tea I will Draw a Live Portrait of You, for you, with Both Hands at Once, Not Looking at the Paper at all, as a token of Memorabelia and Thanks for your support. Plus the "YAWN" t-shirt, and a link to "Yawning Medicine".
    (Tea time portraits will be available to those outside the bay, sans Yawning Booth, in other cities by appointment.)

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Original Hand Painted 24" Painting on Wood about Yawning and Interconnectivity, painted with my left and right hand at the same time. Plus the "YAWN" T-shirt and the sounds download.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Take the Yawning Booth home with you! Time Out/ Time In, Anytime! Free delivery in the Bay Area after April 26. Transport fees elsewhere not included.

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Funding period

- (7 days)