Mediated Breath

By Sozita Goudouna.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Artists have evolved techniques of concentration on aspects of the physical and have looked at the different manifestations of breathing and the ways in which it becomes perceptible, through the use of diverse artistic mediums, such us theatre, painting, sculpture, dance, video, film, sound art, performance art, land art, kinetic art, environmental art and projective prose. This paper puts on view Breath’s intrusive actuality and immediacy into the field of representation, by means of an inquiry into the modes that these artworks depict human Breath, as a zone of evaporation that separates life from inertness. The minimal setting of breathing is displayed in these works, as an exercise in enquiry on embodied experience; thus Βreath becomes a bioscope (view of life), that is to say, a medium, of recording life as such. The influence of Breath on the work of theorists and practitioners and its manifestations in culture has not been extensively theorized, yet, currently, we notice an interdisciplinary interest on the social, cultural and scientific ramifications of breathing. The revival of interest in breath in the new millennium is suggestive and is partly the outcome of the reconsideration of the body both in ‘real’ and aesthetic forms. Scientists have argued that Breath is part of the body’s sensorial spheres; its formless and immaterial spectrum, mediates between the inner and outer space of the material body; it is, both, integral to the invisible components of the body and exterior to it. In the context of art, Breath marks a constitutive ‘invisibility,’ as Merleau-Ponty argued, at the heart of the visible, there is always something, that cannot be seen, that is beyond ‘appearance.’ Breath is in essence, beyond appearance; as a result it becomes crucial in working out the relationship between visuality and representation in art.

Keywords: Representation, Visibility, Invisibility

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.115-130. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.843MB).

Dr Sozita Goudouna

Student, Royal Holloway University of London, london, Britain, UK

Sozita Goudouna is an associate editor for the academic journal “Studies in Theatre and Performance Journal (STP)” and contributing editor for the contemporary literature department of Routledge Taylor & Francis group. She is the founder of ‘Out of the Box’ art company and has worked as a director, assistant director and art curator in London, in association with The Place London, The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Notting Hill Arts Club, and in Athens in association with the Benaki Museum and other galleries. She studied for an MA in Directing at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and the English Department, Kings College University of London, 2000. She holds a BA (Hons) in Philosophy and Theatre Studies from London Metropolitan University, 1999 and is currently completing a PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London, entitled ‘Mediated Breath: the Intersection of Critical Discourses in the Visual Arts and the Theatre.’ Sozita’s research interests focus upon interdisciplinarity across the arts, she has contributed to periodicalsand conferences on subjects like education, theatre and the visual arts.


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