I Breathe, You Breathe, We Breathe: How a daily habitual movement appears as an action and grows into a gesture through listening


  • Leonie Persyn S:PAM - Studies in Performing Art and Media (Ghent University)




non-breath, the in-between, action, gesture, motion, intimacy, listening


In this article I wonder whether the non-breath in-between inhalation and exhalation and inherent to breathing equals what Hannah Arendt calls a space of appearance. Can the non-breath be considered as a place where human plurality and the self emerge (Arendt 2015, 160-163)? Or in other words, can a daily and habitual movement like breathing provide the space for action to appear? Can our breathing act? And if so, do we speak (up) through our breathing? Through listening to the breathing bodies in Grey (Kinga Jaczewska, 2018), Toute une nuit and Rendez-vous d’Anna (Chantal Akerman, 1982 & 1978) I search for answers to these questions.

Author Biography

Leonie Persyn, S:PAM - Studies in Performing Art and Media (Ghent University)

Leonie Persyn is affiliated to the Department of Music, Visual Arts and Performance Studies at Ghent University (2017–2023). She is researching the heautonomous functioning of sound to image within the context of contemporary performing arts. She was trained as a visual artist (Sint-Lucas, Antwerp) and as an art historian (Ghent University). After her studies, she developed an own practice and worked for several art institutions, artists, and companies.


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How to Cite

Persyn, Leonie. 2019. “I Breathe, You Breathe, We Breathe: How a Daily Habitual Movement Appears As an Action and Grows into a Gesture through Listening”. Performance Philosophy 5 (1):76-89. https://doi.org/10.21476/PP.2019.51260.