Performance Art and Irigarayan Renaissance: Anxiety, Wonder and a Poetics of Breath

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Copyright: White, Cecilia
This practice-led research project creates and analyses five performance art interventions, The Breathing Space Projects, driven by an urgent coincidence of global, professional, personal and creative concerns and lived experiences relating to breath and the affective states of wonder and anxiety. Interdisciplinary debate by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Luce Irigaray, Jill Bennett, Sreenath Nair, Hossein Valamanesh, Jill Orr, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba establishes compelling arguments to address ways we frame and experience our lives. Crucially, calls by the WHO and Luce Irigaray for innovative attention to breathing crises and the impact of underlying drivers of globalisation on the sense of self and community reveal an affective gap in their approaches that may impede movement towards an Irigarayan “renaissance.” This project proposes a block exists between anxiety and wonder that constrains breath and creates suffering for both women and men. This project focuses on the breath’s transformative pause as a methodological frame, ‘a poetics of breath’, to articulate space and sensation. Through this air-conditioning it explores the capacity of interdisciplinary performance art to create an intervention, a meditative poetic ‘breathing space’ as an alternative respiratory system, to reground connection within and between self and other and facilitate a receptivity to the flux of living, the ‘in(de)finite’. It reveals a self passing through the breathing and affective experiences of awareness, vulnerability, resilience and connection, discovering along the way the contributions to living by the allegorical, the elegiac, the epic and the lyrical breath. The ability to observe as an artist enables significant reflexive shifts in each of my creative works. Works become increasingly immersive meditations of visual, corporeal and literal language eliciting a material sensescape across time using selected sites of historical existence. Each manifests ephemeral space for reflection, encouraging movement through transformational stages of radical action, radical relation and radical difference. This project includes an understanding of ‘poetic’ in interdisciplinary performance art. It confirms a previously undocumented affective flow between anxiety and wonder to write a preparatory step to Irigarayan “renaissance” and Philosophy of Breathing and suggests the role of artist be added to WHO’s list of innovative practitioners.
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White, Cecilia
Kelley, Lindsay
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PhD Doctorate
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