Gas Exchanges & The Right to Breathe

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


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, and the Conflict Shorelines Fund, Princeton University

Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

On the web


Slought is pleased to announce Gas Exchanges & The Right to Breathe, an exhibition in the galleries from May 10 to June 24, 2022. The exhibition includes artworks by Code-X-Diagrams, Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri with GK Reid, Raviv Ganchrow, Elia Vargas, and Amy Yao. Join us for an opening reception and public conversation at Slought on Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 6:30pm featuring 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, as well as artists and collectives featured in the exhibition.

Movements like #icantbreathe and #blacklivesmatter demonstrate that breathing is a matter of life and death, precisely because it is also one of law and social justice. The increasing effects of climate change further reveal the relationship between environmental violence and resource extraction in creating unjust and unbreathable atmospheres. Air pollution poses a major threat across the globe. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 99% of the world's population breathes air that falls short of air quality guidelines, with air pollution killing 7 million people each year, disproportionately affecting middle and low-income households. Along with Amazon deforestation, ocean deoxygenation, wildfires, fossil fuel extraction, and other phenomena threatening life on Earth, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused more than 6.09 million deaths around the globe, further demonstrating that breathing is governed by a complex of legal, political, and physical structures. Some breaths are considered worthy of protection, while others are rendered worthless.

Gas Exchanges & The Right to Breathe presents visual, multimedia, performance, and generative artworks engaging both in conditions of breath-ability on Earth and ways in which breath is captured, commodified, and exchanged. Included are ceramic and mixed media sculpture, 16mm film diptych, digital projection, live-feed audio recording, photographic portraiture, and NFTs.

This exhibition is part of the broader "Gas Exchanges & The Right to Breathe" initiative by the Logische Phantasie Lab. The Lab is proud to partner with Tribeca Film Festival award-winning director, photographer, and social justice advocate Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri in establishing collaborations with public and private stakeholders from all over the globe to address this pressing and urgent legal challenge of our time: How to create a right to breathe?

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The Logische Phantasie Lab (LoPh) is an all women-led NGO and decentralized research agency, dedicated to the development and implementation of ethical and participatory approaches towards legal normativity in times of climate change and digital technologies.

Code-X-Diagrams is a collective consisting of legal scholars, systems developers, blockchain coders, and digital graphic artists dedicated to participatory experiments with dynamisms of power, energy, governance, value, and legal concepts in the crypto space.

Raviv Ganchrow researches interdependencies of sound, locale and hearing through installations, writing, and the development of transduction technologies. His installations examine context-dependent aspects of sonic attention such as environmental infrasound (Long-Wave Synthesis, Dark Ecology, Kirkeness and Sonic Acts, Amsterdam), anechoic chambers (Padded Sounds, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin) and the materiality of radio transmission (Radio Plays Itself, ORF Kunstradio; Forecast for Shipping, BBC Radio 4; Knallfunken, Deutschlandfunk Kultur). He is currently a faculty member at the Institute of Sonology, University of the Arts, The Hague.

Elia Vargas is an Oakland, California-based artist and scholar working across multiple mediums, ranging from video and sound to writing and performance, focused on naturecultural media practices. He is a Ph.D. candidate in Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz and co-founder of the Living Room Light Exchange, a monthly salon on critical, intersectional perspectives of art and technology. His current work considers the cultural, philosophical, and techno-scientific conditions of the early American oil industry and argues for refiguring crude oil as media to decenter anthropocentric representations of nature.

Amy Yao is a musician, curator, and contemporary visual artist making work in many different mediums informed by ideas of waste, consumption, and identity. She is represented by 47 Canal in New York City. Yao is a lecturer in visual arts at Princeton University in New Jersey. Her sister Wendy Yao was proprietor of Ooga Booga art boutique and bookstore in Los Angeles.

Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri is a Tribeca Film Festival award-winning director, photographer, and social justice advocate, creating transformative, multi-platform works of art, innovation and social impact. Pal-Chaudhuri is a UN Women's Entrepreneurship Distinguished Fellow, Max Mark-Cranbrook Global Peacemaker, Co-Host of the Global People's Summit, Host of New York Live Arts' Humanities Symposium, and Co-Founder and Director of Shakti Empowerment Education for women and children in India. She is also a Princeton University Visiting Lecturer on "Mobilizing Millions with Art and Film for Human Rights and Social Justice" and "Mythography, Digital Storytelling, and Counter-Colonizing the Heteropatriarchal Gaze."

GK Reid is a producer of films, music videos, commercials, and photography, best known for his work with artists such as David Bowie, Rihanna, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Kim Kardashian. Described as "A Renaissance man" (Soma), for his multifaceted collaborative approach across design, music, and social justice advocacy, resulting in numerous awards and museum exhibitions worldwide.

"This initiative of the Logische Phantasie Lab reflects upon the formulations we call law and feel as justice, particularly through the linking of juridical crises to the symbolic enchantments we recognize and make sensible as ethical claims.

It inquires into the way that gas exchanges involved in the respiration we call breathing are neither solely chemical nor mechanical but also social and political, occurring across various spatio-temporal scales, from the cellular to the interplanetary."

– Patricia J. Williams (2022)

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