In and out breath

A drawing experiment

This experiment began through the simple choreographic instruction: draw a straight line on each outbreath with each line corresponding to the length of the breath, and each line drawn beside the previous breath-line. Initially I did this over a period of one hour. There is no controlling of the breath, no pre-set timing. The act of drawing follows the event of breathing –  though it happens simultaneously with the breath. The breath itself is changing through the activity of giving it attention and perhaps also through knowing that the activity will continue for quite a long time. The length of the line changes as the breath lengthens or shortens. And it changes in other ways too. A slight slip of the pen on the paper, a momentary loss of concentration, an awkward placement of the hand or arm. Small bends and wobbles appear. I called these ‘deviations’. In following the instruction to draw the line beside the previous breath-line, I began to go with the deviation – to draw the next line following the small bends and wobbles that had appeared, so that the instructions became ‘draw a line and copy it’ – and alluding to the score ‘Draw a Straight Line and Follow it’ by La Monte Young.

I began to do the experiment on the inbreath and the outbreath, making the decision to restrain the extent of the deviations – to keep the inbreath-line which goes up and the outbreath-line which goes down in a paired relationship. I’m working with different papers and drawing materials with the length of the paper defining the duration of the drawing

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