BREATH: Fear & Medicine

PV Thursday 23rd August 2018 6.30pm - 9:30pm

Friday 24th 11:00am - 6pm and Saturday 12:00pm - 5pm

Gordon House presents 'Breath: Fear & Medicine', an investigation of breath through sound, installation and philosophy by artists/makers in residence Anna Westin and Ruth Fox.

From August 17th, Anna and Ruth engaged with spaces during their residency at Gordon House.  They explored how a breath can be a messenger and signifier of the body's states of being, whether it is calm, happy, content or alarmed, anxious or threatened.

Ruth said, "Our breath is a signifier of our body's comfort or discomfort, usually governed by our brain alerting it to a situation which can evoke a flight, fight or freeze response. The breath can be seen as a product of inner unity or inner conflict."


BACK (fear embodied)

It used to come easy


basic thing. Now, rupture and

labour without

food for feeding.

Lungs are still

hungry for



Space shrinks and body

plays a fatal

game of catch up. A poor whispered exchange

of grey

air on paper lungs.

These bones are raw white

cold hard and clean.

but I used to be

a living thing.



The tidy bone piles

can’t speak

can’t scream

can’t whisper or sing.


So what will

bring breath

back into being, make me

live again?



She speaks

breath with a regular rhythm

without needing to think.

Her freedom is

that she just is.

Just living.



Inhale slow.

Cool breath blowing

billows from the sea

into the cavernous

lung depth of me.

And I and the sea and wind sky

are now

essence of one thing


Anna Westin is a folk singer-songwriter who has performed internationally across the UK, in the Middle East and Canada. She also holds a PhD in the philosophy of addiction, engaging in the existential and phenomenological approach of Levinas and Kierkegaard at St. Mary’s University, London. Anna has published in places such as the Journal of Medical Ethics and the New Bioethics Journal and is a visiting lecturer at LST and Canterbury Christ Church University. She is the Director of The JAM Network UK, a creative anti-trafficking collective and is involved in various independently affiliated research projects and creative collaborations.


Ruth Fox is a textile and sound artist exploring the body as a home and new ways of seeing that channel a reconnection with our bodies whilst celebrating diversity. Following a successful solo show featuring abstract and figurative body portraits stitched on to denim, silk and neoprene, as well as a few group shows last year, Ruth also released her first sound art work on vinyl, Sounds of My Skin in 440hz about the awkward mind/body divide with psychedelic rock musician and composer, Steven Young. She is now working on her second vinyl, A Symphony of Salt, a joint show in London with a filmmaker artist and more group shows.  She has also been invited to give a TEDx talk in November about the body as a home, the body's relationship with water and the ego as an assassin and assistant to body 'image' at Royal Holloway University. 

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