No. 133

Breathing Score HOMEOSTASIS

By : Dobrawa

Entrant’s location : Poland



Breathing Score HOMEOSTASIS was designed to facilitate the discharge of emotions and develop self-regulation skills, understood as balancing the states of arousal and inhibition. Performing the score can give support while experiencing strong stress or fear that accompany violence.

What did you create?

The BREATHING SCORE HOMEOSTASIS is a musical piece featuring nothing but breath. The score, soothing in its effect, consists of three complementary parts. The first sequence features diaphragmatic breathing with gentle inhales and prolonged exhales; such a technique lowers the activity of the sympathetic nervous system while stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. It also reduces the stress reaction and induces the state of relaxation. The remaining sequences stimulate the vagus nerve by employing the technique of breath retention which soothes the nervous system and eases panic or anxiety attacks. In order to read the score, it is necessary to understand the Breathing Alphabet which is a form of a completely new language based on breath; such a language may influence both psyche and body in a number ofl ways. Particular signs of the alphabet were designed to systematically represent different variants of human breath. Sound structures, frequency, amplitudes and rhythm of the scores are all determined by the processes originating in the human body. The duration of a single performance is not fixed and depends on the breathing rate. Since the only artistic material that is needed is the air that we all breathe, the score may be performed by everyone.

Why did you make it?

The BREATHING SCORE HOMEOSTASIS was composed with a particular purpose, namely to generate a transforming experience in its readers/performers. In parallel to my artistic practice, I work as a psychotherapist. I’m greatly interested in the incorporated memory of trauma and stress. Everything that we experience leaves its mark on the body by modifying our reactions to particular stimuli; as a result, the autonomic nervous system develops a given type of response to a stressful event. Every time we find ourselves under stress or experience strong emotions, we start to breathe differently. The primal response to stress and fear (fight, flight or freeze) is linked to the stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system which prompts us to act and, as a consequence, makes us breathe faster. In contrast, when we try to relax and regenerate, the parasympathetic nervous system helps us slow down and deepen our breath. As it turns out, by altering the depth and rhythm of our breath, we may intentionally switch the operating mode of the nervous system from excitation to relaxation and regeneration. HOMEOSTASIS was written to help you relieve your feelings and develop the ability of self-regulation so that you can achieve a proper balance between excitation and inhibition. Performing the score may provide a valuable support to everyone struggling with stress or fear, often as a result of suffering violence.

How did you make it?

BREATHING SCORE HOMEOSTASIS was composed with the authorial breath notation and based on my therapeutic practice. Since 2015, I’ve been creating the Breathing Alphabet - a respiratory graphic signs system. Based on several years of analysis of traditional techniques from different cultural circles, among others, Tibetan Yantra Yoga and Tsa Lung, holotropic breath, Hindu Pranayam, Siberian Buteyko methods, Anapanasati meditation, breathing connections with the speech apparatus, etc., I’ve conceived a breathing notation that can be used for a personal breathing practice as well as a method of artistic expression. Breathing alphabet is a pictorial language, reflecting different variants of breath and experiences connected with it. In the context of current changes in culture, in which reading and writing gives way to more sensorial picture-sound communication, the Breathing alphabet creates both a new artistic method and a medium for deepening the awareness of one’s own body and mind. Individual characters are an attempt to systematically present the different variants of human breath. From the letters of the alphabet, one can create compositions on the model of music scores, which accordingly initiated breathers can exercise alone or in groups. The Breathing scores intend to create a transformational, therapeutic experience, enacting lasting changes on both- the individual and the collective atmospheric body.

Your entry’s specification

The score was written in the form of vector graphic characters. To date, it only exists in virtual form, so it can take many dimensions in printing.