An exhibition on breathing and its legal, political, and technological entanglements


A Thousand Breaths

A conversation about community-driven activism towards a right to breathe

Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Health / Sustainability
  • Philosophy / Theory
  • Politics / Economics
  • Social Justice

Organizing Institutions

Logische Phantasie Lab, Slought


School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania

Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

On the web


Slought and the Logische Phantasie (LoPh) Lab are pleased to announce "A Thousand Breaths," an evening of conversations and presentations in the Slought galleries on Tuesday, May 10, 2022 from 6:30-8:30pm. This program, free and open to the public, is organized in conjunction with the exhibition Gas Exchanges & The Right to Breathe, and will consist of two parts. The first part will feature short presentations by artists and collectives including Code-X-Diagrams, Raviv Ganchrow, and Elia Vargas; the second will take the form of a conversation with leading activists such as Barbara Bullard, President of the Shirley Chisholm Institute, Alice Jay, Founder of Sister Survivors, Detroit, and Hawk Newsome, Co-founder of Black Lives Matter New York, and will be moderated by artist Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri.

What does it mean to breathe? Much more than an individual act, breathing traverses many lungs, many forests, many neighborhoods, many atmospheres, many generations even. From ocean deoxygenation and deforestation to air pollution, respiratory illness and asphyxiation to incarceration, gas exchanges determine the social and physical conditions of life on Earth. Not only is it an undeniable fact that such conditions are increasingly becoming precarious, ongoing injustices are leaving bodies, voices, and environments out of breath.

Inseparable from questions of climate change and social justice, breathing is also governed by a complex of legal, political, and technological infrastructures. And yet, despite the significance of gas exchanges, no right to breathe exists. In line with LoPh's Gas Exchanges & The Right to Breathe initiative, this event focuses on the work necessary to establish a framework for such a right. As this work has to start with the very question of what breathing means (and for whom), our distinguished guest speakers and artists will engage in conversation and share what breathing – and a right to breathe – means in the context of their work, lives, and communities.

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Part I

Introduction by Aaron Levy, Director, Slought Foundation

Opening remarks by Daniela Gandorfer & Zulaikha Ayub, co-founders of Logische Phantasie Lab

Code-X-Diagrams, "Breath for Sale"

Raviv Ganchrow, "Chlorophyll-Ocean-Iron-Breath"

Elia Vargas, "Carbon Loops"

Part II

Introduction by Aaron Levy, Director, Slought Foundation

Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri, Artist and Moderator

Barbara Bullard, President of the Shirley Chisholm Institute

Alice Jay, Founder of Sister Survivors, Detroit

Hawk Newsome, Co-founder of Black Lives Matter New York

"In discarding rights altogether, one discards a symbol too deeply enmeshed in the psyche of the oppressed to lose without trauma and much resistance. Instead, society must give them away. Unlock them from reification by giving them to slaves. Give them to trees. Give them to cows. Give them to history. Give them to rivers and rocks. Give to all of society's objects and untouchables the rights of privacy, integrity, and self-assertion; give them distance and respect. Flood them with the animating spirit that rights mythology fires in this country's most oppressed psyches, and wash away the shrouds of inanimate-object status, so that we may say not that we own gold but that a luminous golden spirit owns us."

– Patricia J. Williams, The Alchemy of Race and Rights (1992)