The Life of Breath team and guests gathered at Royal Fort House on 14 May 2015 to launch the project at the University of Bristol.
The film gives a flavour of the various parts of the day, introduces core members of the project team and some of our speakers, and includes footage of the vocal workshop with which we rounded off the occasion. It was made by Steve Gear and Sophie Marsh from Bristol film company Calling the Shots.
The morning was a chance for the core team to catch up before the afternoon’s workshop, at which speakers discussed different perspectives on the phenomenology of breath. Havi Carel gave a general introduction to the phenomenology of breathing and was followed by Petri Berndtson (The phenomenological ontology of ‘we breathe air’), Anya Farennikova (Is it possible to feel breathless?), Tina Williams (Dyspnoea and intentionality), Luna Dolezal (The phenomenology of breath awareness and controlled breathing in introspective body practices) and Ulrika Maude (“My Quiet Breath”: Keats and Beckett writing breathing). These talks are now available to listen to as mp3 files below.
Taking inspiration from the idea of embarking on a journey, the evening’s festivities began as guests were ‘piped aboard’ our metaphorical vessel with a hornpipe, arranged for the occasion and performed by flautist Jana Thiel from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (the film above begins and ends with extracts from Jana’s performance). Jane Wright was unwell on the day, and so her words on the relationship between poetry and breathing were read by John Lee. Prefaced by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Guy Orpen, Jane Macnaughton and Havi Carel introduced the Life of Breath project. Finally, we were treated to some wonderful live a capella singing from the Barefoot Quartet, followed by a vocal workshop for the whole group, considering our own breathing, what we can do with it, and what it means to breathe ‘like a singer’.