Dresden, Germany – February 13, 2015, marked the seventieth anniversary of the WWII bombing of Dresden.

On that date, Lebensatem/Dresden (Breath of Life/Dresden)—a new project by New York artist Stuart Williams—began to illuminate the exterior of the restored Dresden Cathedral with waves of colored light that rise and fall at the pace of human breath.

Ten thousand people formed a human chain around the old city, all the church bells rang for ten minutes, and crows flew overhead as the cathedral appeared to breathe. The project ended in March.

“Given Dresden’s nearly total destruction in in the closing days of WWII, I think the vision of one of its greatest historic landmarks appearing to breathe is extremely moving. There is a personal element to this project for me, given that my father was fighting with the Allied forces in Germany in 1945. Now, seventy years later, I am honored to have been welcomed to install Breath of Life/Dresden at the historic Dresden Cathedral. I see the project as a breathing beacon of hope, and a compelling message for world peace.” — Stuart Williams

A documentary about the project by New York filmmaker Christopher Burke and French cinematographer Martial Barrault is in the works.

An interview with Williams can be found here.