Drawing Breath

An interaction between spoken and visual languages

Drawing Breath acts as an experiment, a proposal addressed to both its audience and contributors. This project stages an encounter between spoken and visual language through a set of simultaneous performances, first allowing the audience to witness a spontaneous interaction between media, then showcasing the products of these interactions.

On the 15th of April 2016 a set of artists were asked to perform a simultaneous visual response to poets’ performances. Each artist was paired with a poet and each performance was to last for five minutes.

The crux of the challenge for the artist was to work with mate- rial that they were discovering at the same time as their audience. Meanwhile, the poets were to select their work or works with a view to best suiting their experimental encounter. While the poets’ part involved performing pre-existent pieces, the artists’ complete lack of familiarity with the poets’ material pushed them to make instinctive choices and produce raw, immediate reactions.

Both the recordings of the poems and the visual works to which they gave rise were then showcased in an exhibition.

In the context of this project the labels of ‘artist’ and ‘poet’ serve as shortcuts to assign a medium to each set of participants without resorting to heavier expressions which could perhaps be more accurate such as ‘vocal performer’ and ‘visual practitioner’. Let us also note that a number of the participants are involved in both media throughout their practice.
The two categories of performers were chosen to form eclectic sets encompassing a variety of styles and backgrounds. Indeed, the performance event and subsequent exhibition were not designed to cater to a specific audience or to feature a particular style; the emphasis was on range in an e ort to produce diverse encounters.

The pieces showcased in the exhibition act as artifacts. While they are definitely works in their own right, Drawing Breath, as a project, cannot be fully contained in these recordings, drawings, paintings and assemblages. As a series of fixed objects of sound and image they cannot account for the concept’s core principles of immediacy and simultaneity.

Moreover, this project does not claim to resolve any question con- cerning the relationship between sound-based and visual language; rather it is a simple gesture towards opening a complex and multifaceted discussion.

More information available at www.drawingbreath.net

Drawing Breath as a two-part event challenges the idea of collabo- ration and interaction between a poet and an artist, between visual and spoken. It became a development based on the previous event — Cinepoetry, and expanded to work with the idea of experimental poetry on a more profound level. The first event stages the encounter between a poet and an artist in a limited space and time frame, to crete a visual response to a spoken piece. The artworks cre- ated during the series of short performances were then exhibited and followed up with talks on experimental poetry and language.

While the logo typeface is inherited from the first event, the identity as a whole is intended to present the nature of the interaction between semantic and visual by opposing the logotype to the graphic element in a composition space. The graphic element itself was created in a series of rhythmic workshops which references back to the rhythmic nature of language.

The identity is present in two colors, each assigned to corresponding event, the performance and the exhibition. It is applied to a number of promotional materials, including, but not limited to posters, flyers, the website, social media and the exhibition catalogue.

The exhibition catalogue and exhibition space design add to each other and are intended to provide the easy access to the artwork for the visitors. The challenge is to give a sense of the performance event as much, as possible, as well as presenting a two-part art piece: a poem and an artwork, without letting one dominate over another.

The website and the Facebook event were created and developed to be a live representation of each of the events. The bios of the per- formers and lecturers became an important part of the promotional campaign and the website design was changed to make a clear dis- tinction between the di erent stages of the project. As a result the website became a container for the documentary videos, filmed at the performance event and edited to transmit the atmosphere and the essence of the unique experiment.
The team

Original idea: Iris Colomb
Curation and negotiation with participants: Iris Colomb
Venue negotiation: Nik Nightingale, Iris Colomb
Visual identity design: Nik Nightingale
Technical team management: Nik Nightingale, Eta Dahlia
Website design: Nik Nightingale, Iris Colomb
Printing (posters, flyers): Nik Nightingale, Iris Colomb
Performance #10/11: Nik Nightingale, Eley Williams
Host: Zorro Maplestone
PhotographyKaroliina Helosuo
Sound (recording, editing): Andrey Novikov
Filming: Eta Dahlia, Tyrone Lewis, Tom Stone
Video editing: Tyrone Lewis, Eta Dahlia, Iris Colomb


Curation and negotiation with participants: Iris Colomb
Venue negotiation: Iris Colomb
Visual identity design: Nik Nightingale
Exhibition curation and set up: Iris Colomb, Nik Nightingale
Technical team management: Nik Nightingale, Iris Colomb
Website design: Nik Nightingale, Iris Colomb
Exhibition catalogue design: Nik Nightingale, Iris Colomb, Tom Stone
Printing (posters, flyers, catalogue): Nik Nightingale, Tom Stone, Iris Colomb
Photography: Karoliina Helosuo
Sound (recording, editing): Andrey Novikov
Filming: Tom Stone


Website design: Nik Nightingale, Iris Colomb
Video design: Nik Nightingale
Video editing: Tyrone Lewis, Eta Dahlia, Iris Colomb