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New exhibition explores the amazing things your breath allows you to do

(14 November 2018)

Credit: Jessica Wiese

From singing to sports, the amazing things that breathing allows us to do are explored in a new, free exhibition at Palace Green Library this winter.

The exhibition, entitled Catch Your Breath, is based on research from the Life of Breath project which focuses on breath and breathing.

The exhibition will explore what breathing allows us to do as well as the experience of people who are affected by breathlessness, often due to lung diseases.

Issues, such as air pollution and smoking are also examined, as well as the affect that traditional industries, like coal mining, have on lung health.

What you can see

Items on display include historic stethoscopes, anaesthetic masks and inhalers on loan from the Royal College of Physicians of London, as well as sculptural works from artist Jayne Wilton.

The exhibition will also feature a pair of shorts belonging to Dutch extreme athlete Wim Hof, which were the only clothing he wore when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Known as ‘The Ice Man’, Mr Hof has developed a breathing technique which allows him to complete incredible feats including withstanding extreme cold.

The exhibition also showcases two newly commissioned artworks: a communal musical instrument called Ohmerometer II created by Helen Collard and Alistair MacDonald; and a combined design and musical work called Sleep Songs, created by the artists Stefanie Posavec and Miriam Quick. Sleep Songs was created from data collected from the artists’ breathing patterns as they slept.

'Take a deep breath and step inside'

David Wright, Lead Curator of Catch Your Breath, said: “We are inviting people to take a deep breath and step inside this lively exhibition to find out about how breath has inspired and powered the work of artists, athletes, writers and musicians.

“Visitors can learn what it feels like to have your breath taken away from you and discover the important role that breath plays in cultures all over the world.”

How you can get involved

A varied events programme will run throughout the exhibition including musical performances, chair yoga and mindfulness classes, and free family activities each weekend.

There will also be lots of opportunities for visitors to find out about their own breathing, including breathing exercises and games to try out.

The Life of Breath research project is funded by Wellcome Trust and carried out by researchers at Durham University and the University of Bristol.

Catch Your Breath will be held at Palace Green Library, Durham, from Saturday 24 November 2018 to Sunday 17 March 2019. Entry to the exhibition is free.