Restoration of Breath: Consciousness and Performance

Front Cover
Rodopi, 2007 - Art - 198 pages
Breath is the flow of air between life and death. Breathing is an involuntary action that functions as the basis of all human activities, intellectual, artistic, emotional and physical. Breathing is the first autonomous individual action that brings life into being and the end of breathing is the definitive sign of disappearance. Starting from the question how breathing affects the body, levels of consciousness, perception and meaning, this book, for the first time, investigates through a variety of philosophical, critical and practical models, directly and indirectly related to breath, aiming to establish breath as a category in the production and reception of meaning within the context of theatre. It also explores the epistemological, psycho-physical and consciousness-related implications of breath. Aristotle dedicated a volume to breath exploring and enquiring in to its presocratic roots. For Heidegger, breath is “the temporal extension” ofBeing. Artaud's theatricality is not representational but rather rooted in the actor's breathing. Jacques Derrida and Luce Irigaray investigate the phenomenon of breath in order to explain the nature of human consciousness. Breath as a philosophical concept and as a system of practice is central to Indian thoughts, performance, medicine, martial arts and spirituality. As the book argues, individual consciousness is a temporal experience and breath is the material presence oftime in the body. Cessation of breath, on the contrary, creates pause in this flow of the endless identification of signifiers. When breath stops time stops. When time stops there is a 'gap' in the chain of the presence of signifiers and this 'gap' is a different perceptual modality, which is neutral in Zero velocity. Restoration of Breath is a practical approach to this psychophysical experience of consciousness in which time exists only in eternity and void beyond memory and meaning.
 

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Contents

III
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Page 29 - In the theatre of repetition, we experience pure forces, dynamic lines in space which act without intermediary upon the spirit, and link it directly with nature and history, with a language which speaks before words, with gestures which develop before organised bodies, with masks before faces, with spectres and phantoms before characters - the whole apparatus of repetition as a 'terrible power'.
Page 26 - ... being straight line and empty form, is the time of events-effects. Just as the present measures the temporal realization of the event — that is, its incarnation in the depth of acting bodies and its incorporation in a state of affairs — the event in turn, in its impassibility and impenetrability, has no present. It rather retreats and advances in two directions at once, being the perpetual object of a double question: What is going to happen? What has just happened? The agonizing aspect of...

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