“With breath comes imagination. With breath comes possibility. If queer politics is about freedom, it might simply mean the freedom to breathe.” Sara Ahmed, The Promise of Happiness
I am blowing up the system today. I’m letting all this pressure out of me. I’m purging myself of the accumulated malignancy of normative life. I’m intentionally blowing up balloons—filling them up with all the ways society has told me to behave or feel: “be happy”; “get a good job”; “get married”; “man up”; “you’re such a downer”; “don’t be so critical”; etc. Would you please join me in a breathing ritual? Sit down here with me, choose a balloon, and then we’ll exhale those pressures we feel coming at us, building up inside, together.
Breathe Out With Me is a one-to-one performance that has never been shown. Participants will be invited inside a mesh or see-through tent to breathe out with me. Asking each participant how the system has scolded them, suffocated them, we will then focus on releasing some of that built up tension into the balloons. To encourage intimacy and proximity between myself and the participants, we will use a double-tubed system that will allow us to blow a single balloon up at the very same time. Our mouths will never touch, but our exhalations will gather inside the balloon. As the day progresses, I hope to be gradually encumbered by all the balloons; these pressures physically manifested, trapping me inside the tent. At some point, participants will no longer be able to enter. There is a durational component to this iteration, as well. I hope to entice visitors to free me by popping balloons at the end of the day—releasing me from my stifling confinement.
Breath should be priceless; but how is it taken away from some and not others?