Breathing: Art as Memorial

Art & Design


The Breathing, a memorial to all the journalists, cameramen and crew killed while reporting the news has become the latest addition to the skyline of London, England. The BBC commissioned Spanish artist Jaume Plensa to design the 30ft high, inverted steel and glass cone, which together with BBC radio mast and the spire of All Souls Church, forms a trinity of spires. The words engraved around the sculpture, which is shaped like a listening glass, evoke the themes of speech and silence, life and death: Life turns and turns on the crystal glass, silence is a voice, our voice.
United Nations Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon unveiled the sculpture, which sits on top of the new wing of Broadcasting House, today. The sculpture will
be illuminated for 30 minutes each evening by a beacon that shines half
a mile into the sky.
Along with the Breathing sculpture the BBC commissioned poet and ex-war correspondent James Fenton to write a Memorial Poem

We spoke, we chose to speak of war and strife –
a task a fine ambition sought –
and some might say, who shared our work, our life:
that praise was dearly bought.

Drivers, interpreters, these were our friends.
These we loved. These we were trusted by.
The shocked hand wipes the blood across the lens.
The lens looks to the sky.

Most died by mischance. Some seemed honour-bound
to take the lonely, peerless track
conceiving danger as a testing ground
to which they must go back

till the tongue fell silent and they crossed
beyond the realm of time and fear.
Death waved them through the checkpoint. They were lost.
All have their story here.

The column of light is a reminder that more than 200 reporters across the world have lost their lives since the start of 2007 through kidnapping, acts of war and terrorism .

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