we are not making music - it may be boring and that is ok - don't have ideas about what would be "good"
... respiring ... respiring, blowing, sighing, suffocating, holding the breath, gulping, panting, wheezing, gasping, sighing, puffing, inhaling, exhaling ... inhaling, exhaling ...
11. Sept, 19:00 - 19:30 Linz time (GMT+2)
Live-Stream + Screening in the Club Venue
STWST48x6 MORE LESS
48 Hours Distributing Less.
If you want to assist connect at 18h55 to
Technical assistance: Heather Pynne
Using a set of individual audio triggers, we weave an intimate, healing-breathing soundscape. By wearing blindfolds we resist distraction from the intimate imagery our bodies produce in the interface and will focus solely on the listening and the unveiling of each respiratory input. To keep our bodies alert in front of the screen and to make way for Breathing as a sort of blind dance, we will also use motion triggers.
What happens when a largely unheeded biological process is brought to awareness? What memories are activated through each other’s breathing? What do we do with this? What stretch of play can my breathing endure? What space does your breath take next to mine?
Bits and pieces of a group discussion via email:
Breathing constraints. Sounds dangerous.
Starting with not breathing (holding your breath) until you can't anymore, recovering, returning to normal. Same at the end. Holding our breath, recovering, end. Each of us using at least also one movement trigger, so we not only make the relation to the "I can't breathe" manifestations, but also to "dance".
"I don't want to be part of your revolution if I can't dance" (Emma Goldman)
I'm concerned that it is may come across as exploiting someone else's misfortune. It might seem callous/priviledged/detatched for a bunch of artists to hold their breaths until they are simply tired of holding their breaths, and then just breathe whenever they want to.
Breath is something so inherently universal, not only with humans but also plants and animals, it is part of so many practices. We can't reduce not breathing to George Floyd's death. Breath is part of what keeps us alive. Connecting to our breath, (and also a lack of it) means connecting to our deepest selves and also the world around us. Connecting to our breath means also nourishing our voice.
Yes it is tricky to use the phrase "I can't breathe", but I have the right to use it because I can't breathe - the world becomes unbreathable, I am crushed by all kind of injustices. I also have another more personal reason to do this. I only have 67% of my lung capacity left. I always pant when I have to climb stairs. On long walks I have to rest in between. Covid, was and still is very dangerous for me - Most of the time I am not aware of my anxiety, but sometimes I wake up at night from nightmares where I am intubated. Covid makes me feel threatened .... . Some countries make rules to not help people like me (over 60 and with an illness) if there would be a second Covid pandemic.
I also agree that breathing is both broad and personal. And hardly something I own, it permeates my life mostly without my intervention. In our last iteration, I knocked myself out because I manipulated my breath. For better or worse, breath is self-regulated. This is a powerful insight and it keeps me from letting any person or viewpoint claim to know how I should breathe, in life and art.
Air is part of the commons and as such breathing is a common, natural, process intrinsic to all of us and in our case we decided to breathe, or not to, together, communicating through it beyond our skins.
My issues are probably something more related to my own particular context. As a white male in the US (particularly in the southern US), I inordinately benefit all day long from structural racial inequities that have been in place in this country since before its inception. I can breathe quite well. As they say, it's not that I haven't had any troubles in my life, but none of my troubles have ever been related to being black in this country. During local marches here in Asheville, the black community lead, and the white folks follow. For me, it has been a time to try to support rather than proclaim, a time to relinquish rather than shine. So although nobody owns breathing, and although breathing has been important to my own practice (cf: deepyoung.org/current/breathing/ ), it feels a bit discourteous for me at this historical time to make work where I'm holding my breath until I can't hold it anymore. But that's just me as a white male from the southern united states. The world is not the united states.
In these situations, as an artist, I return to the aesthetics of my practice >> To make work that is, rather than work that seems. To make work not "representative" or "symbolic" of anything, but work that does what it does in and of itself. So I hope we pursue breathing in and of itself, rather than as "symbolic" of any single event. It is indeed a precarious time historically to be breathing. But that precarity is not universally and equally distributed. It is more precarious for black folks in the US than for me.
Let's leave it to each of us individually to use "holding the breath" or not. No protocol, just triggers.
An exercise from "Sonic Meditations" by 10 Deep Listeners.
on breath and
19h Start - we put on blindfold
19h28 Moderator warns - we take of our blindfold
Personal triggers / constraints:
Annie: When I hear expressive breathing I put my hands in front of my face. - When I hear regular breathing for more than 1 minute I balance my body, which will eventually change my own breathing.
Daniel: When I hear that someone might have stopped breathing (clear) i'll come closer to the webcam/mic - as if 'waiting to hear that breathing again' - I stop breathing until when it's possible for me when hearing simultaneous breaths.
Nerina: - if I hear a loud breath, to breathe in and out through my nose (not using my mouth) - if I hear something that isn't just breath, to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth - if I hear just one person breathing, to stop breathing
Constança: whenever i hear an especially audible exhale, i resort to a short exhale that persists like a metronome for 30 secs - when i perceive a long silence, i will inhale/exhale arching my back and hold that position while comfortable.
Curt: When I hear something that seems dangerous, I will breathe calmly and put my hands over my eyes. - When I hear something that seems calm, I will clench my fists and breathe through my teeth. - When I hear silence, I will hold my breath and put my hands over my mouth until I can't hold my breath any more.
View recommendations :
When you enter, your video and audio will be turned OFF, please leave it that way, if you click on the "up arrow" next to your camera icon ((lower left-hand toolbar) your VIDEO SETTINGS can be accessed, go to “video settings”, click the box "Hide non-video participants". Then the performers only will be visible. Select "Gallery View" in upper right corner of the ZOOM window to see the group.
Times from Today's Performance:
Initial Connection: All present by 18:35 (Paris)
Warm-up Began: 18:47
Blindfolds Off/Warm-up Ended: 18:57
Blindfolds On/breathing began: 19:00
Blindfolds off/breathing ended: 19:28
Dump non-performer participants: 19:30
Post-performance meeting wrapped-up: 19:40
Notes from the post-performance meeting:
Everyone seemed to feel good about this experience.
Close to bare being/breathing/staying alive
Did anyone else leave their body during this one?
Forced meditation in the best way
The curve is feeling more and more synchronous across the group
Having fewer "tricks" or constraints is possibly working better
The sound being sparse or uneven at times made me super aware of tiny elements on the visual field. At some point, it's hard to tell if we are indeed all breathing or if there's a ventriloquist/body relationship between some of us...
Excerpt of the performance. Video edit by Daniel Pinheiro
Projection at STWST
Video included in COVID E-lit exhibition. May 1st 2021 Opening.
"Digital art in a corona age: Who is behind the screen?" by Søren Bro Pold.