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Following the new guidance issued by the government, Modern Art Oxford will be closed from Wednesday 23 December, until further notice. We look forward to welcoming you back to the gallery as soon as we can.

Breathworks is a participatory digital project exploring everyone’s unique experiences of breathing.

Throughout August 2020, Modern Art Oxford invited you to contribute your own ‘breathwork’ by capturing an experience of breathing via an image and sound recording. The result, is a fascinating and timely collection of personal stories that shed light on how we all experience breathing.

Breathworks was started by Modern Art Oxford’s Creative Associate (Digital), Lucy Sabin before the 2020 health crisis began. The idea behind Breathworks was to explore the diverse range of scenarios that remind us of our breath, from illness to new life and everything between.

Selected breathworks are displayed at Modern Art Oxford as part of the exhibition, Responsive Space (2 October 2020 – 3 Jan 2021). Responsive Space invites you to explore the imaginative participatory art projects which have helped us to remain connected in the wake of the pandemic.

Experience the breathworks on display in the below video.

You can discover Breathworks on Instagram and in the below online exhibition. 

Still want to take part? Although the Breathworks digital project is finished, we wanted to keep it open for a little bit longer to accompany our exhibition, Responsive Space. Visit our Take Part page to discover more.

The Breathworks public programme is part of the Humanities Cultural Programme at TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities). The Breathworks Principal Investigator for TORCH is Derek McCormack, Professor of Cultural Geography, The University of Oxford.

 

 

Breathing Worlds
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Re-visit this full talk to hear more about the #Breathe846 digital mindfulness project. Inspired by George Floyd, it was led by one of our Breathing Worlds speakers, @wordsofcolour Creative Wellbeing Associate, Patsy Isles - in association with @BlkOutUK & @survivorsukcharity
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Follow the link in our bio to watch the talk, which brought together researchers, artists and practitioners to journey through the topic of breath. Breathing Worlds accompanied our digital project #Breathworks and was supported by @torchoxford as part of the Humanities Cultural Programme. #OnlineTalk #BreathMindfulness #DigitalWellbeing #GeorgeFloyd
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What does it mean to come together online in the current climate? 🌏
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THIS EVENING our #OnlineTalk with @torchoxford is Spaces In/between, an exploration of critical approaches to care and collectivity online. We welcome writer @oritgat > design activist Maral Pourkazemi > Dr. Francesca Sobande, lecturer in digital media studies at @cardiffuni > chaired by our own @jesscrobertson
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>> There’s still time to join us at 6.30pm, booking link in our bio #Breathworks #selfcare #digitalcommunities #collectivity #digitalactivism #DigitalWellbeing #OxfordTalks #MyResponse
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What are the political, personal and environmental worlds we breathe in? 🌏 ⠀
THIS EVENING our #OnlineTalk with @torchoxford is Breathing Worlds, where we'll explore breath in 2020 and beyond.
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We welcome Alice Sharp, @invisible_dust; Derek McCormack @oxford_uni; Patsy Isles @wordsofcolour; Lucy Sabin, creator of our digital project #Breathworks & Emma Ridgway, Head of Exhibitions & Learning at Modern Art Oxford. Free, 6.30pm. Booking link in our bio. #BreathingWorlds #BreatheTogether #breathwork #EnvironmentalArts #OxfordTalks #MyResponse 📷 Breathwork by @aniaready
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What’s Left Unsaid, Day and Night
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Day: The breath between words, reflecting the rise and fall of emotion, an arrhythmic breath.
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Night: The rhythmic rise and fall of deep sleep. A sleep state, only expressed through changes in breath.
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During the day our breath reflects an internal response to our external environment – relaxed, anxious, excited – however, when we are asleep our breath suggests at an internal world of internal thoughts or dreams and the workings of our autonomic system, breathing without conscious effort. The first part of the recording is an edit of the breaths taken between the words spoken by an excited child immersed in their day’s play; followed by their (unedited) breathing, relaxed at night.
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This beautiful #Breathworks contribution is by Victoria Mitchell @artvmitchell #YouthMentalHealthDay
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Breath basket
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I made this basket out of the ties I cut off face coverings. Wearing a face covering makes me feel that my breathing is restricted. I take short, shallow breaths. Tying the face coverings around my head made me feel like my head was being bound. I thought changing to elastic would be more comfortable but it makes my ears hurt. I made the Breath basket to represent the hope of returning to the freedom of breathing without constraint.
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#breathwork by A.M.Edward @a.m.edward #Breathworks #breathing #breath #BreathBasket #basket #FaceMask #FaceCovering #freedom #sculpture #FoundObject #BreatheDeep #2020 #artist #sculptor #recycle #RecycledMaterials
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Ghost of A Breath
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During the first days of lockdown I went out on my bike and brought back an early dandelion seed head. I intended to use it in a printmaking experiment about breathing and time for an online collaborative project with 16 other artists. I blew these seeds onto an inked up gel-plate and took a series of monoprints and ghost prints from the seeds where they landed, and the traces they left in the ink, filming the process. This print is a visual record of a single breath from that day. A ghost print.
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#breathwork by Linda Newcombe @linda_newcombe #Breathworks #breathing #breath #DigitalProject #lockdown #print #monoprint #dandelion #ghost #GhostBreath #seed #DailyBreath #ShareYourBreath
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Assistance
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I chose to create this piece of work in response to being recently diagnosed with sleep apnea. At night, my breath is interrupted several times an hour. I had to make peace with the mask, so I decided to draw it, study it, and absorb it. I drew it several times with my non-dominant hand in response to how uncomfortable the mask makes me feel.  I don't like it but I have made peace with it. The sounds you hear are the new sounds I hear at night, disturbing me but keeping my breath steady. Sleeping is healing.
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A fascinating #breathwork by Heather Nottage @heathernottageart #Breathworks #sleep #SleepApnea #assistance #LosingSleep #BreathSounds #BreathingMachine #drawing #draw #diagnosis #mask #FaceMask #ShareYourStory #DigitalStorytelling
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Third Attempt
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As an asthmatic I have had to provide many 'peak flow readings' over the years, exhaling sharply to see how quickly I can blow air out of my lungs. These readings have always been lower than expected, resulting in the Nurse Practitioner inevitably encouraging three attempts to improve them. For 'Third Attempt', I take a deep breath, and exhale slowly to see how long I can make this third and final breath last.
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#breathwork by deirdre kashdan @deirdrekashdanart #Breathworks #asthmatic #PeakFlowRecording #AsthmaAwareness #asthma #ShareYourBreath #nurse #ThirdAttempt #DeepBreath #FinalBreath #DigitalProject #DigitalStorytelling #ArtinHospitals @asthmauk @britishlungfoundation
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...and relax...
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Breath refers to the full cycle of breathing; it is the body’s most important function and affects all parts of the body. An automatic and rhythmic act that also has the ability to be controlled and the pattern of breathing changed. Deep breathing can be relaxing and relieve stress. On average, you take approximately 20,000 breaths per day but just how many do you notice?
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#breathwork by @v_a_esp
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From this October, experience #Breathworks in Modern Art Oxford’s exhibition, Responsive Space. We can’t wait to see some of your works in the gallery – stay tuned for updates #TakePart #DigitalStorytelling #Breathworks #stress #StressReliever #BreathPattern #rythmic #shadow #portrait #selfportrait @torchoxford
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morning breathing
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abstract images quietly responding to breathing
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#breathwork by @jonnieturpie
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#Breathworks is an online project that captures your unique relationships with breathing. There’s still time to take part >> link in our bio #breath #abstract #BreathResponse #ShareYourBreath #light #iphone #morning #MorningBreathing #mobilephone #rainbow #EverydaySounds #MorningLight #beauty #TellYourStory
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Nafas (نفس) = Breath
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There is a curious connection between how a language forms us as we speak words through our breath. Have you ever wondered, for a moment, what it is like to speak in another language and how your breath pattern changes?
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I believe language has a strong power to express our feelings. There is always a connection between a word and breath. This is a breath that makes the words sound differently and creates a rhythm beyond meaning. We would not be able to speak if we could not control our breathing.
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I use the word ‘Nafas’ meaning breath for something that is not only a word nor an analytical narrative, but it is something beyond which engages deeply with the sensuality of a word. In Persian, Nafas is a common word that contains a meaningful sense of feelings in Persian poetry and also refers to several interpretations, including breath, breeze, air, wind, and life as a time-line.
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Every single word we speak is a breath of emotions not just words on its own and yet in a poetic way can be like sounds of leaves, grass, and trees swaying in the wind when the moment comes to settle pleasing the perfect pitch and gives a sense of relief, joy, and comfort.
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My attempt was to connect the sound of rattling trees and leaves to the origin of a word, Nafas, which aims at empowering the notion of breath more than just to inhale or exhale but to give a metaphorical meaning to our breath as a symbol of peace and freedom, peace of mind and the joy of liberty.
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#breathwork by Hamideh Rimaz @hamidehrimaz #Nafas #language #spokenword #blue #feeling #poetic #Persian #PersianPoetry #breeze #air #joy #liberty #ShareYourBreath #TakePart #DigitalArt #ParticipatoryArt
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Homo Bulla
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When my identical twin sons emerged into the world prematurely at thirty-two weeks, they were immediately placed in incubators and their breathing aided by ventilators. These two small plastic pots containing their umbilical cord clamps and identity bracelets are reminders of their first days of life. Now sixteen years old, the sound is their combined breath.
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#breathwork by Heather McAteer @heathermcateerart #Breathworks #IdenticalTwins #CombinedBreath #BreatheTogether #premature #bornpremature #incubator #ventilator #identity #memory #son #mother #breathstory #shareyourbreath
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Modern Art Oxford is grateful to its Breathworks Ambassadors: Derek McCormack, Professor of Cultural Geography, The University of Oxford; Alice Sharp, Artistic Director, Invisible Dust; Emma Garnett, Research fellow, Kings College London; Becca Rose Glowacki, Doctoral Researcher in Design, Goldsmiths University; Kyle Pattinson, Senior Clinical Research Fellow, Associate Professor, The University of Oxford; Sarah FinneganPostdoctoral Research Scientist, The University of Oxford; Havi CarelProfessor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, The University of Bristol; Dr Kate McLean, Programme Director Graphic Design, Canterbury Christ Church University.