Mary Magsamen & Stephan Hillerbrand, "Push", 2003, inkjet print, 18x24".

Mary Magsamen & Stephan Hillerbrand, “Push”, 2003, inkjet print, 18×24″.

Mary Magsamen & Stephen Hillerbrand

The “air-hunger” project consists of 18×24” digital inkjet photographs and two videos. Each photograph was shot from the inside of a bubble being blown, adopting the look of a medical or biological image. These organic and abstract images blur even further the distinction between the individual blowing the bubble and the bubble itself. The participants, trying to expand their world with this action, actually become lost in a smaller cellular world.

The term ‘air-hunger’ comes from a medical condition, Kussmaul Breathing, which is the rapid, deep, and labored breathing of people who are in a diabetic coma.

This project explores issues of communication, sexuality, and trust in relationships through the metaphor of what is traditionally seen as a children’s activity – chewing bubble gum.

The video presented shows the same image of someone blowing a bubble in a cathedral-like environment. The man and woman interact by blowing bubbles. These bubbles hit and miss. When the bubbles do connect, their air is shared and the sugary bubble gum provides a life-sustaining medium for a few seconds.

about play:

Without play things are just boring. It keeps things fun, personally and professionally.

– Mary Magsamen & Stephan Hillerbrand, 2005

Based in Bowling Green, Ohio, wife and husband, Mary Magsamen and Stephan Hillerbrand, have been working collaboratively since they first met at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, where they received their MFA’s. They have had a solo exhibition at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio and participated in group shows and screenings at the Toledo Museum of Art, the Acorn Gallery in Los Angeles, the New York Underground Film Festival, and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art in the Netherlands. They have been awarded a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Residency, two residencies at the Experimental Television Center, and an Ohio Arts Council Creativity Award. Magsamen has been granted a residency at the Longwood Cyber Residency Program and a Finishing Fund from the Experimental Television Center. Stephan Hillerbrand is a National Endowment for the Arts and Art Matters Grant recipient, a MacDowell Colony Fellow, and was a two-time Fulbright Fellow.