The last words of Eric Garner or, recently, of George Floyd, “I can’t breathe!”, occupational lung diseases such as silicosis, respiratory distress due to socially induced anxieties: all these phenomena show how strongly breathing is affected and targeted by socio-political power. At the same time, breathing is an almost absent topic in western theory and philosophy. This is due to a hierarchical concept of the body, privileging the senses and especially those who appear to be more subject to the individual will (e.g. sight). The vegetative system, in contrast, which regulates among others breath, is seen as a lower body function, deprived because of its automatism of theoretical interest. In order to address the (biopolitical) vulnerability but also the vitality and relationality connected with breathing, we therefore need to revise this image of the body. What does it mean to conceive the body from breathing? (How) can we think breath?
Prof. Dr. Francesca Raimondi is Juniorprofessor for Philosophy at the Art Academy Düsseldorf and currently visiting Professor for Practical Philosophy at Goethe-University Frankfurt. Born in Rome, she studied Philosophy and Literature in Heidelberg, Tübingen and Berlin and lives now in Amsterdam and Berlin. She wrote Die Zeit der Demokratie. Politische Freiheit nach Carl Schmitt und Hannah Arendt (Konstanz 2014) and is co-editor of Negativität. Kunst – Recht – Politik (Berlin 2018) as well as Serialität und Wiederholung: revisited (Berlin forthcoming). She is member of the Frankfurter Arbeitskreis für Politische Theorie und Philosophie and serves on the editorial board of the publisher August. Her research is situated at the intersection of aesthetics, political theory and philosophy with a special interest among others on contemporary modes of subjectification and embodiment.
Curated by Sandra Noeth (HZT Berlin – MA SODA).
With: Francesca Ramondi