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Breathing Machines Across Worlds

10.21.2023 03:00 PM

Event Summary

Stacy Hardy

Photo by Erielle Bakkum

Performance Lecture by Stacy Hardy

How do you breathe correctly? How often should you take a deep breath? What if the air that surrounds you is polluted? Contaminated by uranium and asbestos from the mining industry? Poisoned by history? By hate and violence? What if breathing makes you dizzy? What if it makes you sick? What if the air carries bacteria? What if it carries death? Imperialism has always functioned through the suppression and exploitation of breath. In Frantz Fanon’s words, "Under these conditions, the individual's breathing is an observed, an occupied breathing. It is a combat breathing." But what if we take Fanon’s conjecture not as a diagnosis but as an aspiration? A conspiracy? What is the potential of both breath and breathlessness to share and create knowledge? What would a breathing machine designed by Fanon look like? How can we build it together?

This event was presented as part of Humanities Day 2023. To learn more and register, please visit the Humanities Day website.

About the Speaker

Stacy Hardy is a writer, researcher, and editor whose work explores the intersections of embodiment, the individual, and society. Her writing has appeared in various anthologies and journals including the New Orleans Review, New Contrasts, The Evergreen Review, Black Sun Lit, and many more. She is the author of the short fiction collection Because the Night (Pocko, 2015) and An Archaeology of Holes (Rot-Bo-Krik, 2022), an English translation of which is forthcoming from Bridge Books. Her plays and librettos have been performed globally. Hardy is also a lecturer in creative writing; an editor at the Pan-African platform Chimurenga; a partner in the African creative writing teaching initiative Saseni; and a founder of Ukuthula, a project that develops new writing from and against gender-based violence. She is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Neubauer Collegium at the University of Chicago, where she is collaborating with anthropologist Kaushik Sunder Rajan, poet Daniel Borzutzky, and musician Neo Muyanga to build “breathing machines,” new multi- and interdisciplinary forms and forums for the expression of collectivity through the act of conspiring together. Hardy previously served as a Neubauer Collegium Visiting Fellow while collaborating on the Pulmonographies project (2020–2023). During her current residency (2023–2024), she is conducting research for the Transperformations project.