Jean-Thomas TremblaySep 29, 2022
Duke University Press 2022
In Breathing Aesthetics (Duke University Press (2022), Jean-Thomas Tremblay argues that difficult breathing indexes the uneven distribution of risk in a contemporary era marked by the increasing contamination, weaponization, and monetization of air. Tremblay shows how biopolitical and necropolitical forces tied to the continuation of extractive capitalism, imperialism, and structural racism are embodied and experienced through respiration. They identify responses to the crisis in breathing in aesthetic practices ranging from the film work of Cuban American artist Ana Mendieta to the disability diaries of Bob Flanagan, to the Black queer speculative fiction of Renee Gladman. In readings of these and other minoritarian works of experimental film, endurance performance, ecopoetics, and cinema-vérité, Tremblay contends that articulations of survival now depend on the management and dispersal of respiratory hazards. In so doing, they reveal how an aesthetic attention to breathing generates historically, culturally, and environmentally situated tactics and strategies for living under precarity.