Breath(e) + -ing: OPENLAB session on Friday 27 September 2013

Breath(e) + -ing


… bliff, blaff, bluff; chihuahua!

Breathing as…

… exchange of air and its movement; inside/outside, pulmonary breath

… permeability and osmosis: membranes exchange, air dissolution within the bodily fluids

… the concomitant movements of adaptation to those above, ripple effect through and out the body; without them the other ones couldn’t even start happening

… cellular breathing: tiny version of exchange and its movement, permeability and dissolution, concomitant pulsation

Exploring the limits/limitations of the breathing:

b r e a t h   i n   a n d   b r e a t h   o u t

breath in and out but never holding, without closing the epiglottis, without holding any muscle (each muscle can behave as a closing epiglottis); no, please don’t close your epiglottis, none of them

s a m e   s a m e   b u t   g o i n g   e v e n   d e e p e r ,   g o i n g   d e e p e r   i n   t h e   b r e a t h   o u t   o v e r a l l

And after the maximum breath out has been found, what if the breath in is not an anxious gulp… what if we could abandon the fear and just let the air come in by itself.

This exercises is a description of a material and physiological breathing exercise. From this physiological breathing characterised by softening and by the release of what was fixed, so fixed that was even unnoticed, we can fall in an state of breathing characterised by the experience of spaciousness… characterised by space. Space like in the skin that breathes, porous; space like in the soil that breaths; recently dug and stirred up; space like in wine that breaths, waiting at the table for the gourmet to pour it into the glass.

Space calls for more space.

I’m watching… she is there before us and I think of the way she allows herself to delve deeper into a performative total “breath.”

It makes me think that as well as having the material breath and the state of space, one could even go further and use the exercises of breathing deeper by letting go in a metaphoric way.

The mind is a body, more than a muscle a body that also breaths in and out. A body with muscles that allow you to breath: in, out; but also muscles that as much as they allow you to breath they also limit your breathing, holding it. What if we let the breath of our mind to go deeper: deeper in, deeper out; and in this way letting the air happen because there is not holding.

My doings, my makings, even my being are like bodies also. What if I could let them breath.

What if letting go is not accessible? Maybe by contrast you can define it… holding your breathing may help to define and differentiate what’s letting go…

At this session we were Mira Kauto, Manou Koreman, Penny Levick, Jiska Morgenthal, Thelma Sharma and myself.

Next session:     Breathing — Self      //      Floor — Environment

inner space                         outer space

Back to school: OPENLAB session on Friday 20 September 2013


Isn’t it magical that sensation of both absolute satisfaction and cumbersome frustration that comes with the first day back to school? Just like the side effects of a potent muscle relaxant…



Today, and after a long break for the summer (our last session had been on 5 July) we were a big bunch in the studio. Some new faces, and many old ones. In the studio we had Jiska Morgenthal, Manou Koreman, Margot Newkirk, Penny Levick Petra Söör, Sarah Kent, Thelma Sharma, Yong Ming Cho, as well as myself.

It was wonderful to feel this morning how at ease I was, how promptly ready I felt to speak and start the class, almost as second nature. However, I also could feel how complicated is to explain things… I usually feel the same anytime I stop doing things for a while and I come back to them. Somehow, it’s surprising when after your return you see that certain things you didn’t expect to improve now just flow although other things that you expected to maintain -because you had worked hard the previous season- have now rusted away; and it seems that it’s always the opposite way you would expect them to be.

Maybe it’s my fault as I keep doing the same. Each time, I try to cover:

E V E R Y T H I N G .

Yes, I mean   E V E R Y T H I N G   like that; in capitals and taking extra space, that’s how much everything it is what I tried to cover. And of course, not only I try to cover everything but also I try to explain it all… so even when I say ‘and now I’m going to be quiet,’ it takes may a good few sentences until I manage to stay silent for a bit (not for long though).

I was tempted today. I was tempted to pick it up where we left it. I was tempted to do a summary somehow of all we have done in the last year and a half. I was tempted to introduce the basics to the new comers. I was tempted to start conventional-wise as if it was a class and not a lab. I was tempted to talk about the new ideas for the new season of sessions that start today. I was tempted to create a series of guidelines for all of us to facilitate the sessions. I was tempted to make up a movement sequence and teach it at the same time and to try to learn left even before we had learnt right. I was tempted. I gave in to many of these temptations… too many of them, and the result was this feeling of being rusted and not really able to function. But hey, it is not just about me. I hope what ever I gave served as a platform for all to feel free to jump into their own exploration and for all to come back whenever they needed it.

To close this post I would like to remind the changes happening and propositions for the running of the sessions for this season:

Let me know summarise the changes that will come:
– Time:  sessions will take place on Fridays, 10am-12pm.
Rotating roles: potentially each session could be led by a different openlabber. If you are interested in taking the role of facilitator e-mail Antonio.
– Contribution: So far I have been “paying” for the space with my volunteering hours. The idea is to contribute on a pay-what-you-(fairly)-can basis. In this way we may cover the £18 the studio costs for 2 hours. In case we don’t cover the space I will use my volunteering hours in Chisenhale office to cover what’s left. In case we cover expenses the rest of the money will go to the person facilitating the session up to £30 (@ £15/hour per 2 hours), and if there is still money remaining it will cover the admin time I spend with OPENLAB up to £30 (@£15/hour per 2 hours weekly). If there is still money after paying expenses, teacher and admin the money will be kept for future session in which we may not cover expenses.
Facilitators: When you facilitate a session the session will keep the ethos of OPENLAB. Technically the session can have any form but it should try to answer the question: what does to perform entail? and try to investigate ways of training what the answer you think it may be. However, the idea is not to come with answers but with hypothesis that we will put into action. Under this description you can do practically anything but it is the attitude towards what you facilitate that it’s important. It should encourage that anyone puts into practice your suggestion the best they can but also the best way this suggestions suit them. As facilitator on other task you would have to follow is to write a post for the blog about the session. This can be a summary of what you have done but it doesn’t have to be that, it could be a reflection about your experience or anything related with the session but without having to tell us the session.
– The rules of the game: I have been thinking that if we establish OPENLAB in these way we may have to put down a set or allowances and restrictions about what people can do and what they can’t do. This is because if we encourage the idea that each person can bring their own research/work/practice and use the guidance the best way this suit them, it may happen that people ends sometimes not following the instructions, of changing the instructions, or ignoring the instructions. In that case potentially someone could interfere with the others. Maybe a restriction is that whatever you do doesn’t interfere with the others. I’m thinking on a set of rules similar to open space technologies (which I don’t know much about but I’m sure some of you do). If you think you would like to have a say on this please let me now!