Breathing and Moving: A Gestural Orchestra


Breathing and Moving: A Gestural Orchestra
Durational participatory relational aesthetics project
Darling Foundry (Montreal), Situations (Chicago), ASTR (Minneapolis)

Dissolving into the time-space context of Words and [ ] – a Durational Conference of Art & Thought / Situations Love Symposium / ASTR 2016: Trans-, this relational aesthetics project curates situations for participants to intentionally breathe and move, collaboratively and individually, throughout the entire duration of the conference. Structured in three 18-hour cycles, “Breathing and Moving” subtly activates a complex score for movement, breath, sound, and gesture.

The material dimension of the project is a table displaying a set of time-stamped instruction cards, spanning the entire event. Participants are invited to choose a time-stamped instruction card, open it at the designated time, and perform the instructions. Each card instructs the participant to perform a breathing exercise, movement exercise, or breathing-movement exercise. First the action is performed with a small group (small groups are distributed across the arc of the event), and later it is performed alone (everyone performs it alone, but all at once).

“Breathing and Moving: A Gestural Orchestra” mediates between the intimate and the expansive, layering individual, small group, and collective experiences to create an (imperceptible) whole. An individual participant enacts an instruction card, but other participants are also enacting instructions in small groups and alone, creating a collaborative, large-scale performative gesture. Though “Breathing and Moving” imposes a structured time system and score, it also creates spaces and gaps between timecards, emerging and then disappearing into the subtext of the event. The project negotiates individual and collective agency, script/performance dynamics, temporality, (in)visibility, and disruption.

We have presented iterations of this project at “Situations’ Love Symposium” (Situations, Chicago, IL), The School of Making Thinking’s “Words & [ ] – a Durational Conference of Art and Thought” (Darling Foundry, Montreal), and ASTR 2016’s “Trans- Performance Program” (Minneapolis, MN).