Marlene Haring: Imagine, you breathe

Imagine, you breathe ..., 40-minute performance, Casino Luxembourg Forum d’art contemporain, 6 November 2012

Imagine, you breathe in slowly, the tip of your tongue touching the back of your upper teeth; you breathe out, your jaw is relaxed, your chin drops. This is how you prepare. You step into the entrance hall of the exhibition venue, where your audience is waiting. You hear the Austrian ambassador to Luxembourg saying to the gallery director: ‘You have invited the most dangerous Austrian artist.’ You think, he’ll be very relaxed soon. You lead your audience one by one into a large space, dimly-lit, where you had arranged comfortable chairs, spaced out to give each some privacy. You offer the first person a seat, then you fetch the next person. While you are showing the audience in, until everyone is seated, a video can be seen in which the same room you are in spins around you. Then it gets darker in the room. You sit down, put your headset on, you begin with breathing. You tell your audience: ‘You will experience five of my performances as if you were in my shoes. Make yourself comfortable. Take your jacket off, if you are too warm, let your hands rest.’ You use special techniques of speech and breathing so your listeners sink deeper and deeper into your actions. You let them experience Door Policy, or Biting the Hand that Feeds Me, Secret Service, Solo Show and Show Me Yours, I’ll Show You Mine. A few minutes into the talk, when you look up, everyone except one woman has their eyes closed. After the talk ends, she tells you she had already done yoga that morning, that she tried to keep her eyes open, but that towards the end she also fell into a relaxed sleep.