Travelers and tourists to an isolated desert region near El Gouna, Egypt, have long wondered about the origins of a formation known as the Desert Breath. Is the spiral formation terrestrial or extraterrestrial in origin?
At first glance, the Desert Breath may appear very similar to the infamous crop circles that have been found across various countries. While the formation in the middle of the Egyptian desert may seem otherworldly, the Desert Breath is actually the result of painstaking work by a group of artists.
The Desert Breath is a giant art installation that was designed and built by the D.A.ST. Arteam. The team behind the enigmatic installed includes the installation artists Danae Stratou, the architect and industrial engineer Alexandra Stratou and the architect Stella Constantinides.
"The project is rooted in our common desire to work in the desert. In our mind's eye the desert was a place where one experiences infinity," said the artists in their official site. "We were addressing the desert as a state of mind, a landscape of the mind."
The entire installation was build on a 100,000 square kilometer plot of land a short distance away from the Red Sea. The team who worked on the project designed the installation based on what they saw in the site itself.
"It is a site-specific work that generated out of our perception of the site itself," the D.A.ST. Arteam said. "Its construction consists of the displacement of 8.000 m3 of sand formed so as to create precise positive and negative conical volumes."
The Desert Breath consists of a number of smaller conical "hills" made of sand that form two spirals that come together with a common central point. From above, the giant artwork may seem alien in origin. However, this is just one of the possible viewpoints for the installation. Back on the ground, the spirals serve as a pathway that tourists and visitors can walk through, creating a unique experience that is both visual and interactive at the same time.
Since it was completed back in March of the year 1997, thousands of curious tourists have already visited the site to enjoy the unique experience. However, the installation is gradually eroding due to the harsh desert winds. The artists behind the project currently have no plans to conduct further maintenance on the Desert Breath since they view the gradual destruction of their magnum opus as an "instrument to measure the passage of time."