Scandinavian artist Olafur Eliasson had been commissioned to create the centerpiece project of the London 2012 Festival, but the Olympic Lottery Distributor (OLD) refused the application for its’ £1m funding saying the piece no longer met its criteria.
The proposed installation, Take A Deep Breath, would have invited people to inhale and exhale on behalf of “a person, a movement or a cause” and record it on a website in a personal “breath bubble”. At a board meeting, concern was expressed that the commission had “changed significantly since its inception”. The project would have cost some $1.5 million, out of an overall budget of $26.2 million for what organizers call the Cultural Olympiad and the board struggled to justify the sum. In a video about the project, the artist apparently said, “There’s not a lot to celebrate in the Olympics and I thought I would make a work of art that exposes some of the weaknesses of the Olympics,” which could have had something to do with the decision. Olafur Eliasson is most known in Britain for creating The Weather Project, (2003) in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern.