Download or view the Heavy Breathing Reader (2016)

Produced in collaboration with the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Arhive (BAMPFA)

Download or view the Heavy Breathing Catalog (2015)

Designed by ALTR Studio and Printed by COLPA PRESS

Order a Heavy Breathing Poster (2015)

Designed by ALTR Studio and Printed by COLPA PRESS


Wipe your sweat away! Order a Heavy Breathing Bandana

Designed by Savannah Rusher



HB/AV is a series of artist-led movement seminars designed for audio/video download. The concept of HB/AV is the same as HB's workshop series: artists bring together somatic exercises with critical discourse that might take the form of a lecture, a dialogue, a guided meditation, and/or other modes of experimental and performative texts - basically “Heavy Breathing on the Go”

Jean-Thomas Tremblay, Breath/Measure/Commons
(2020, 10:56)

Works Cited and Consulted

Crawley, Ashon. Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility. New York: Fordham University Press, 2016.

Gumbs, Alexis Pauline. “About.” Black Feminist Breathing Chorus, 2014,

Parikka, Jussi. “The Sensed Smog: Smart Ubiquitous Cities and the Sensorial Body.” The Fibreculture Journal 29 (2017):

Reagon, Bernice Johnson. “Coalition Politics: Turning the Century.” In Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology, edited by Barbara Smith, 356–368. New York: Kitchen Table Press, 1983.

Richmond, Scott. Cinema’s Bodily Illusions: Flying, Floating, and Hallucinating. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016.

Sharpe, Christina. In the Wake: On Blackness and Being. Durham: Duke University Press, 2016.

Simmons, Kristen. “Settler Atmospherics.” Cultural Anthropology, November 20, 2017,

Taylor, Dorceta E. Toxic Communities: Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution, and Residential Mobility. New York: New York University Press, 2014.

Tremblay, Jean-Thomas. “Aesthetic Self-Medication: Bob Flanagan and Sheree Rose’s Structures of Breathing.” Women & Performance 28, no. 3 (2018): 221–238.

Tremblay, Jean-Thomas. “Feminist Breathing.” differences 30, no. 3 (2019): 92–117.

I am writing a book on aesthetic responses to a contemporary crisis in breathing. This social, political, and environmental crisis is typified by the increased pollution, weaponization, and monetization of air and breath, the consequences of which are unevenly distributed. Breath/Measure/Commons is an experiment that transposes the questions of exemplarity and generalizability I have been considering into the form of the meditation. Reading about other people’s breathing makes me aware of mine—but my breathing tells me very little about other people’s experiences. This is what I try to convey in a meditation that centers engagements with breathing within Black and Indigenous Studies: the limits of what breathing enables us to measure, or, put differently, how breathing registers the unevenness of the atmospheres we inhabit.

The track includes instructions for a creative exercise. Listen on your own or with others, indoor or outdoor. As long as there is an environment to be sensed.


Jean-Thomas Tremblay is an assistant professor of English at New Mexico State University. Their scholarship in the environmental and medical humanities, literary and cultural studies, and feminist, queer, and trans studies, has been published in differences, Women and Performance, Criticism, Post45, New Review of Film and Television Studies, and Critical Inquiry. Their public writing has appeared in such venues as the Los Angeles Review of Books, Public Books, The Rambling, Full Stop, Arcade, Make Magazine, and Chicago Review.

Jean-Thomas' monograph in progress, Breathing Aesthetics, argues that breathing has emerged, since the 1970s, as a medium that configures embodiment and experience as effects of biopolitical and necropolitical forces. Within a crisis in the reproduction of life marked by the air's pollution, weaponization, and monetization, articulations of individual and collective survival and persistence must grapple with the management and dispersal of the risks of breath. Breathing Aesthetics surveys minoritarian contexts where the aestheticization of breathing generates medium-specific and historically, culturally, and environmentally situated tactics and strategies for living under precarity. Jean-Thomas is also editing, with Drew Strombeck, the collection Avant-Gardes in Crisis: Art and Politics in the Long 1970s.

More information on past and upcoming projects is available at

Layton Lachman and Samuel Hertz, The more a path is used, the more a path is used (2020, 51:21)

Layton Lachman and Samuel Hertz draw from their long-standing artistic collaboration--as well as Lachman’s practice of Open Source Forms--in order to offer a guided movement experience. This workshop gives a taste of an Open Source Forms class, which is usually facilitated in a group setting, and is set to a soundscape composed by Hertz. Open Source Forms, developed by Stephanie Skura, is deeply rooted in & fluidly expanded from Skinner Releasing Technique, utilizing images and hands on exercises to instigate a letting go into new modes of moving. The work is based in improvisation and a journeying together through different energetic states, with the desire to access different awarenesses in ourselves. We will traverse personally and collectively, sometimes diving headlong into a concept, while other times listening and looking at it obliquely. As well as moving, we will spend time writing and reflecting on our experiences.

Some things to note:

The session is experiential, meaning that whatever sensation, imagination, feeling, emotion...whatever comes up during the next hour is a valid experience! There is no one way in which to experience this session. It need not look a certain way.

Make sure that you have some space to move around. Also make sure that you feel comfortable in whatever space you are in (a closed door in often helpful) because we might find ourselves in some states of consciousness that are deep and possibly vulnerable.

This session is best listened to through a sound system to prevent obstructions to movement, however, is it also possible to listen to it on headphones.

Let things take as long as they need. Your timing might be different than the pace that we suggest, however, feel free to let your own interest and internal timing guide how long you stay in something. You can always pause if you need more time.

At the end of the session I will say, “now we can move into writing.” It’s nice to have your notebook and pen ready. This writing period is to digest our experience. It can be written in stream of consciousness, it can be a drawing, or any kind of marks on the page that help us process our experience. Give 5-10 minutes to this processes of reflection.
Additional Reading & Listening:

(using the WayBack Machine for which is located in Oakland)

Pauline Oliveros. "Auralizing in the Sonosphere: A Vocabulary for Inner Sound and Sounding" in Journal of Visual Culture 10(2). 2011. pp. 162-168.

Sara Ahmed. "What's the Use." Duke University Press. 2019


Samuel Hertz is a Berlin-based sound artist and researcher working at intersections of Earth-based sound, sonic sensualities, and climate change. Alongside his performances exists a strong research component based in Anthropocene studies, encompassing relationships between sound, geography, climate, and social ecologies working with institutions such as HKW/Max Planck Institute (DE), RHUL Centre for GeoHumanities (UK), and the University of Leeds (UK).

Layton Lachman After working in the San Francisco Bay Area for seven years, Layton Lachman is now emerging as a Berlin-based artist. They are working in dance performance and continue to be deeply invested in the politics of alternative modes of artistic collaboration, curation, and social organizing. Their research is often in the realm of somatics and finding methods of utilizing these experiential practices in the creation of immersive worlds of sensorial complexity and perceptual disorientation.

Danielle Wright
White Culture, White Privilege and Your Mind/Body
(2018, 18:33)


Paying Attention to White Culture and Privilege: A Missing Link to Advancing Racial Equity by Gita Gulati-Partee and Maggie Potapchuk…lati_AB3.pdf
"I May Have Privilege If ..."…e_privilege_if.pdf
The Problem with Privilege by Andrea Smith…andrea-smith/
Citizen by Claudia Rankine
Racism 101 by Dr. Joy DeGruy
Angela Hennessy's work (esp. the School of the Dead manifesto)
Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo's work
A mindful approach to racial equity work.

Danielle Wright is a interdisciplinary visual artist drawn to the politics and poetics of witnessing. Her work examines language, materials, and the language of materials while exploring how notions of identity, intimacy, and trauma overlap/intersect. She is fascinated by where “you” end and “I” begin. As such her work aims to soften delineations between artist and viewer/participant. In addition to her studio practice, she serves as a Teaching Artist at Creativity Explored, a nonprofit art gallery and studio for adults with developmental disabilities in the Mission District of San Francisco.

IG: @mzwrightnow

Carrie Hott
Ten Machine Sleep Session (2018, 17:21) 


Listen in a dark room, lying down, eyes closed, and imagine being surrounded by ten sound machines and a coach, guiding you through sleep therapy on a megaphone. This track was made by collaging together and adapting segments from several sleep scripts found online, accompanied by all ten tracks from one Conair Sound Therapy Machine, including Tropical Forest, Thunderstorm, Summer Night, Ocean Waves, White Noise, Heartbeat, Songbirds, Waterfall, Running Stream, and Rainfall. As someone who struggles with sleeplessness and insomnia, I created this from various sources for others who have trouble sleeping, and need to drown out as much as possible.

Carrie Hott is an interdisciplinary artist based in Oakland, California. Her work is informed by a roving research practice that explores the current and historic infrastructural systems that mediate our collective experiences and perceptions.


Christian Nagler
Cosmoconvulsive Anxiothenics
(2018, 22:28)


1. Ulrich Beck, Living in the World Risk Society, 2006
2. Michel Foucault, Security Territory, Population, Lectures at the College de France, 1979 (especially lecture #2)
3. Benjamin Lee and Edward Lipuma, Circulatory Risks and the Speculative Habitus
4. Dusan Makavejev, WR: Mysteries of the Organism, 19715. Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, 1933 and Character Analysis, 1933
6. Claire Souch, Pushing the Boundaries of Catastrophe Modeling, 2014
7. Peter A. Levine Nature's Lessons in Healing Trauma

In this session we will delve deeply into some embodied non-solutions to the problem of global risk management. What are global risk management practices and how do they relate to our nervous systems? Listen, follow along and engage in an athletic and de-armoring session of Reichian somatics, full-corpus spasms, and galactic tingles. Wear comfortable clothes. Prepare to move, breathe intensely, yell, and freak out a little.

IG @christiannagler

Performer Bios

Amelia Charter is an artist, performer and teacher living in Los Angeles.
Kevin Nagler is an artist currently located in Abiquiu, New Mexico
Susannah Schoff is a teacher who lives in Alameda, CA

Chani Bockwinkel
Sappho and Sweat
(2018, 23:06)

A luxurious and sweaty strange dance class to perform alone in your room. A thunderfuck of somatics, athletics and the burning words of Sappho's poetry.

"...that loosener of limbs, bittersweet creature against which nothing can be done.” — Sappho

Thank you to: all of the incredible musical artists on my Sappho Playlists, your music makes it all possible. To all the beautiful bodies I've danced with in group Sappho class. And all the freaky dance teachers who comprise my lineage.

Anne Carson, If Not Winter, Fragments of Sappho
Tom Meyers, Anatomy Trains
Irene Dowd, Taking Root to Fly
Mary R. Lefkowitz, Women in Greek Myth

Christina Linden
Monsters Herding Cats, and Ducks In A Row (2018, 10:00)
Audio guide for a session of stretching, rolling, crawling, and light contact improv for adults and their baby or toddler friends. Readings of selected excerpts from children's books and Moyra Davey's Mother Reader. Bring your own music.


Claudia La Rocco
If we are to have magical bodies we must have magical minds
(2018, 18:40)
This is a somewhat condensed version of my contribution to the Heavy Breathing series, which I performed at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in 2017. It is a splice of my two practices, shuttling between very different or maybe very similar modes: my writing, and my teacher’s notes. Some of the writing is new and some of it is previously published; some of the notes are edited, and some are not.

Kate Rhoades + Eli Thorne
Dirty Work
(2018, 22:11)
We lead couples in a strength training workout based on a chapter from Ann McClintock's book, Imperial Leather which investigates gender, violence, class, and BDSM in Victorian England. Participants will take turns being submissive or dominant and get dirty while building muscle.

Special thanks to Stephanie Ellis.

Tom Comitta
Born to Run
(2018, 45:34)

Born to Run is an audio chapbook that collages descriptions of running and jogging from over 60 novels. There's everything in here from Stephen King's The Running Man to Cynthia Voigt's The Runner, with a sprinkling of Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie and Samuel R. Delany. To experience this piece, a listener would get on a treadmill, elliptical or any artificial exercise device, put on headphones and press play.

Thank you to Sophia Wang and Lisa Rybovich Crallé for creating a space and context for this piece. For more information on literary supercuts — mine and others — check out this conversation between me and Jez Burrows published by The Believer in May 2018:

Tom Comitta is the author of ◯ (Ugly Ducking Presse), Airport Novella (Troll Thread), SENT (Invisible Venue) and First Thought Worst Thought: Collected Books 2011-2014 (Gauss PDF), a print and digital archive of 40 "night novels," art books and poetry. In 2017 he and Fire Drill staged Bill: The Musikill, an experimental musical, as part of Minneapolis's Momentum dance festival, commissioned by The Walker Art Center, The Cowles Center, and other local organizations. Previously based in the Bay Area, he now lives in Los Angeles.

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Heavy Breathing ︎ 2018

Critical thinking often feels heady, abstract, and divorced from the body. How do conversations change when we are moving our bodies and out of breath? What new modes of thinking become possible?