Being-in-the-Breathable: An Annotated Walk
This article explicates Robert Bean and Barbara Lounder’s 2017 collaborative artwork and public pedagogy project, Breathing-in-the-Breathable: An annotated walk. The authors contextualize the artwork in relation to its site, the ruins of a nineteenth-century tuberculosis sanatorium in the small Polish town of Sokołowsko. This site is a place historically associated with disease, healing and deadly conflict. The participatory project utilized an event score, objects, sound and embodied movement in exploring how the atmosphere and environment became explicit and weaponized by the use of gas warfare during the First and Second World Wars. Along with the site itself, the concept of ‘Being-in-the-Breathable’ (Sloterdijk, 2009) provided Bean and Lounder with a framework for this collaborative public artwork. The artists adopted walking as a creative method that disturbs histories, ideologies and habits, while simultaneously creating new networks of meaning spanning temporal frames, spaces, disciplinary boundaries, and embodied sensorial modalities (Ingold & Vergunst, 2008). The authors illustrate key points in the 90-minute artwork with colour images documenting the event.